There are some big benefits of living off-campus that you should consider. (Illustration by Rinah Kang, Rhode Island School)
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There are some big benefits of living off-campus that you should consider. (Illustration by Rinah Kang, Rhode Island School)

Are you really going to miss your cramped dorm?

College is full of choices. What classes should you take? Do you need those couple extra chicken tenders? Is Netflix really more important than the essay due at midnight?

Besides the everyday options swarming your subconscious at all times, you also have to choose where to live while attending school. As a millennial college student once said, “To live on or off campus, that is the question.”

There is an abundance of incredible opportunities waiting on the other side of that apartment door. Here are some of the reasons why living off campus may be your best choice.

1. Privacy

Living in the dorms can be cramped and noisy. Sharing limited space with smelly early 20-somethings recently freed from the restraints of their hometown even sounds bad, and in real life it’s only worse.

Plus, everyone has a different schedule and that can take some getting used to. Whether you thrive on the party scene at ungodly hours of the night or your weekends are spent studying for that upcoming exam, living off campus can be the universal solution.

In a shared or single bedroom apartment there is far more privacy and far fewer humans to deal with. It’s refreshing to have personal space that you feel comfortable retreating to after a long day. Private space makes you happier, more expressive and less claustrophobic.

 2. Pets, pets, pets!

“Woof” is rarely heard coming from a dorm room. Without a medical excuse, it is highly unlikely that dorm rooms will allow you to keep pets of any kind in their cramped living boxes. In an apartment, however, there is no shortage of strange animal noises coming from every which way.

Living off campus offers more opportunities to have pets of your own. There might be some limitations depending on your landlord’s rules for animals, but if the rules are flexible, having animals can really improve your mental health. Even having a hamster can brighten each day and give you more responsibility that might, in turn, keep your life in check.

Remember to always get approval for a new pet with your parents if you are planning on going back home for breaks. Also, factor in financial responsibility and training time if you are getting a cat or dog. Be responsible and do some research before taking the plunge and buying or adopting your new BFF.

3. Healthy Eating

When was the last time you saw someone cooking a full-course meal in a dorm kitchen? I don’t think such momentous event has ever occurred in the history of my college. Dorm kitchens are usually too busy and far too public to showcase those culinary skills. Living on-campus also makes it easier to pig out on the dining hall food that isn’t winning awards for quality anytime soon.

When you live in an apartment there are more opportunities to cook for yourself and eat healthier. Getting nutrient-rich food at the grocery store is a first step to eating healthier and feeling better.

 4. One step closer to the “real world”

One day, you will not be in college anymore. It’s hard to hold back the tears but unfortunately, that’s just the truth. So, after walking triumphantly across the stage, what happens next?

Luckily for those who made the decision to move into apartment during one or two years of collegiate bliss, some major post-grad problems have already been tackled. These adulty things include: budgeting for rent and bills; grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking; signing contracts; and problem-solving when havoc erupts.

After living on your own or with a group of friends, these “real-world” responsibilities are nothing out of the ordinary. Adjusting to a new life can be difficult, but living off-campus during college can get your feet wet for the future.

Also, your first college apartment will probably show up in your rental history, and if you were a good tenant, then it can give you credibility for the next time you want to rent again.

5. Closer friendships (BFFS 4EVA)

There is an indescribable feeling that comes with living in an apartment with a handful of close friends. There will always be a shoulder to cry on and a couch seat open for “King of the Hill” marathons.

Roommates are the reason why living off campus might be the best decision you ever make. It’s like having a birthday sleepover party every night! There are so many potential bonds you can form, even if you just jump into a random apartment with a couple people you barely know. Adding the label “housemates” can evolve your past relationship into something new, rich and meaningful.

6. You always have a place to stay

A hidden benefit of apartment livin’ is the ability to stay year-round. Most dorms do not allow students to stay during breaks without some type of fee or pressing reason. So, if money is tough and you can’t make it home for spring break, you don’t have to stress about finding an empty bed.

Apartments are a great option if you have anxiety about going home for school breaks and can even be mini-retreats if home-life gets tough. Off-campus apartments are also really useful if you have an off-campus job. You will be able to work more hours over the breaks and, depending on your location, you might not have to drive as far to get to work.

Overall, there are a handful of benefits to living off campus. Making an informed decision will require you to create a pros and cons list but just remember: freedom, adulting experience and unbreakable bonds are just some of the wonderful things a rinky-dink college apartment can grant you access too!


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