When most young Ameircans think about college, they imagine what living on campus must be like. We’ve all been primed by TV series and movies over the years to venerate the campus experience. However, more and more people are choosing to live off campus these days.
The main reason for this is cost. Staying on campus is expensive, adding significantly to what you pay for college. If you’re using student loans to pay your way, you’re going to have to pay interest on this bigger amount.
The good news is that living off campus is not as grim as you may think. In fact, you can get the best of both worlds. You spend most days on campus and may even attend events at night, but you get your independence as well.
The key is finding a great area near the campus in which to rent. Here is how you can go about it.
Factor in extra expenses
When looking for a place to live off campus, it is important that you remember there are other costs which add to the expense. You will need renters insurance coverage for students to take care of your valuables, and you’ll also need to pay for utilities. But one of the biggest expenses is transport.
Whether you’re using public transport or driving your own car, transport is expensive. Gas prices have gone up significantly over the past year, and the further away from the campus you stay, the more you will have to spend to get there.
As such, the ideal area is right by the campus itself. The problem with this is that these areas are likely to be more expensive. You will have to calculate how much you save by staying a bit further away against how much extra you’ll have to spend on transport.
Check out the nightlife
Students living on campus benefit from the many events held there. These include parties held by other students as well. When you’re living off campus, you can attend these events, even if they are a bit more difficult to get to and from.
However, you also have the opportunity to carve out your own path. Part of learning to be an independent adult is finding out what you enjoy. As opposed to the one-size-fits-all approach you’ll get on campus, the nightlife near your off-campus apartment comes in many different forms.
Choose an area which always has stuff going on. Ideally, the nightlife takes many different forms and you can try them all out until you discover what you actually like. The reality is that the closer you are to campus, the less likely it is that you’ll find great nightlife for students. This is one benefit of living slightly further away.
Do your research online
Chances are that you’re already doing your research online. However, you may be tempted to pay more attention to signs up on boards on campus, or to only visit potential apartments that already house students. While these may be perfect for you, they should not be your only options.
By researching extensively online, you can see a wide range of apartments in various areas. You’ll get a clearer idea of how much you should expect to pay and whether you’re getting value for money. You will be able to choose an area that you like, rather than settling for a place simply because other students live there.
There are some good websites which share areas where other students have found the best accommodation near campus. Include this information in your research, but make a balanced decision when push comes to shove.
Living off campus can give you the best of both worlds. Finding the right place is a matter of knowing where and how to look.