With multiple living options available for U of L students, here’s the Cardinal’s take on where you should build your nest during the school year.
As fun as freshman year was, you couldn’t pay me to live on campus again. The convenience can’t be beat, but, at least from my experience, on-campus living space is small at a high price. Affiliated housing isn’t much better. Sure you get the perks, such as a gym and pool, but you also get the insane prices and less than safe location.
Living off-campus makes the most sense for me, mostly because I don’t need the amenities. But even if I did, I can find them a lot cheaper outside of affiliated housing. Many of these affiliated options are not preparing you for the real world. College students don’t need granite countertops and movie rooms. Those things are less accessible in the real world when you’re just starting out.
For students who aren’t ready to buy furniture or those who simply don’t want to rent a traditional house, affiliated housing is the way to go. Though it can be pricey, the number of amenities and the close proximity to campus are conveniences that are beneficial to most students. Plus, walking to campus is so much easier than having to worry about commuting every day.
In choosing campus, affiliate or off-campus housing, take my advice: choose off campus. There are tons of pros to living on campus or affiliate housing and every student should live on campus for the experience, but cons outweigh those.
Pros include being on campus. You’re in the center of everything and directly involved with campus life alongside fellow students. Being next to students is another huge part. Living and interacting with students in your dorm or affiliated housing, you’ll likely meet the friends whom will last the rest of your life. Not to mention dorm and affiliate housing events.
But once the novelty erodes, off-campus housing will be the best place to turn. There’s less restrictions on what you can and cannot do. Most dorms have stringent restrictions on noise, drinking and co-habitation. As you progress through college, these rules become suffocating. You’ll be ready to leave before you know it.
It’s also an opportunity to build your rent history earlier than most. Rent history is an important part to renting better locations and building your credit. Getting that early start will better prepare you for life outside campus dorms.
The responsibilities you learn are also incredibly valuable. You learn how to pay bills, schedule payments, build credit and maintain your apartment at risk of losing the deposit you paid. The stakes are higher for falling through on those responsibilities, but the payoff for your personal growth is incredible.
When it comes down to it, off-campus is the way to go. Everyone should experience university or affiliated housing at least once, that experience is unforgettable. But everyone should try off-campus housing before walking across the stage to receive their diploma.
As someone who has lived in all of the above options, you have to go with off-campus housing. Yes, you probably have to provide your own furniture. Yes, you will have to work a lot harder to find an ideal apartment. Yes, there is a 90 percent chance you’ll have to parallel park on a daily basis. But it’s the cheapest option with the most freedom, even if that freedom requires more “adulting” than other options.
There are fewer people breathing down your back – RAs, a hall full of people, a variety of security officers – in off-campus options. There will be fewer apartment inspections, as well. With this freedom comes having to pay bills and rent, but you’re going to have to do that in a few years, so you might as well learn now.
Sure, being able to get from your bed to class in five minutes or having any of the amenities affiliated properties offer are great perks of living in university-run or affiliated housing. But the never-ending fees and general bureaucracy of both outweighs the good in those options. An additional perk: no one will force you to move out after you graduate.
If you’re taking out loans and really want to live it up in college, affiliated housing is the way to go. Sure you may add a little more to your debt, but it’s worth it to have the elevated living style for a year or two. As a whole, off-campus living is the best route and prep for real life, but to live the full college experience, live at affiliated housing. You may not be able to throw a huge party, but you’ll at least be able to have smaller gatherings.
While I can only speak to living off-campus as a commuter, I’m sure there are perks to living in dorms. As Olivia said, being close to class means more sleep. Ads for affiliate housing look exciting but the devil lurks in the details.
While distractions can find you anywhere, I find living off campus quieter and easier to get homework done. While personally, the distance can be irksome, I see it as a separation between school and home. While college is a huge part of life, it’s not all of my life. Drawing a line between the two is important.
Living off-campus lends itself to learning countless responsibilities. However, if it’s possible, there’s no shame in staying home with parents. A majority of college bound students are eager to leave the nest. Staying at home is much cheaper and gives you the opportunity to save money.