By Angela Ely —

Living on campus allows students to fully immerse themselves in the college environment. Living off campus lets students dip their toes in the college environment, while still getting an occasional break. Which students choose is a matter of preference after freshman year, but there are some catches and draws for each.

To put it simply, living on-campus gives students the benefit of using their meal plans and getting to sleep in, but it can come at the cost of less space and privacy. Students that like their space can live in suites or apartments.

Freshman Camille Smith said living in an apartment on campus is less stressful for her, and she likes being able to cook for herself while having the option to eat on campus.

Smith lives at the Bayard-Rustin LGBT and Social Justice-themed living community at the University Tower Apartments.

“Themed communities allow you to make connections and gain experiences that you would not be able to otherwise,” Smith said.

Living off-campus also comes with some perks. U of L has five affiliated housing communities: The Bellamy, The Clubhouse, The Nine and The Province and The Arch.

Affiliated housing gives students more freedom, meaning you won’t have to sign-guests in and out or navigate campus rules. They also provide several amenities like fitness and technology centers that you can get with some on-campus options.

What you won’t get at on-campus properties are pet-friendly housing or pools (unless you go for University Pointe, which was built by a affiliate before being purchased by U of L last year).

Senior Shelby Carter spent her sophomore and junior years in affiliated housing. She said she really enjoyed living off-campus even if it felt “crowded and unkempt” at times.

Both Smith and Carter felt like their housing costs were worth it, but both options can definitely be pricey.

If you’re okay with having more roommates, living in university apartments can cost from around $2,500 per semester to $5,500 a semester, depending on the number of roommates. This works out to $500-$1,100 per semester, which is comparable to affiliated housing. U of L’s anywhere from around $500 a month to over $1,000 a month, but that usually doesn’t include amenities.

U of L recently partnered with American Campus Communities to create University Pointe, which might be the best of both worlds. UPointe offers on-campus 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom apartments at $3689 per semester.

Carter, who now lives in a studio apartment a couple blocks from U of L said the best advice she could give to someone in choosing a place to live is simple.

“Just take the time to consider a living situation that is best for you,” she said.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal