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A Guide to College Housing

When I was still in high school trying to figure out where to attend college, my mom would always tell me one thing… “Go away for college.” She didn’t care where I went to school, but she was just a super big advocate for people to go out and live on their own when they go to college. Moving out, finding a roommate and becoming independent was definitely going to be a major change for me since I was always used to living under my parent’s roof, having my own room, and having dinner prepared for me nearly every night; however, I made it work and so can you! The following shares a list of living arrangements you can choose from when going away for college, in addition to some Flashcard tips I have from my personal living situations:

Where should I live?

Residence Hall-living

Flashcard One from Macy K. It says if you want to live alone but still want to stay on campus, find a residence hall that offers single dorm rooms that way you can have your own private space while still enjoying all the perks of living so close to everything.

Kelly Meier from The Classroom blog gives the perfect description of ‘dorm life.’ Meier says that living on campus in a dorm can make the transition to living away from home easier. Her reasoning behind that, which I very much agree with, is because many dorm packages include meal plans, cable television, workout facilities and other amenities. Having the convenience of readymade food, a short walk to class and friends living right across the hall from you is nothing short of amazing.

Apartment or house-living

Flashcard Two from Macy K. It says living off campus is a whole new responsibility, so just make sure you’re ready to be paying rent, buying groceries, cleaning your own bathroom and making dinner. Pinterest recipes became my best friend when I moved into my apartment just because I had no idea how to cook prior to moving off campus.

If you’re over dorm-life and want to venture out on your own, college-towns usually offer a variety of close by rental properties whether that be an apartment complex or a university-owned house. Meier explains that most rental properties require a nine or 12-month lease, so she advises that you be sure you plan on staying in school for the full year before you commit. Living off campus can give you a lot more freedom as well. You won’t have to follow quiet hours, have a curfew or listen to an RA; however, don’t think that means there aren’t any rules!

It’s important to find the most ideal living situation for you and there are many options to choose from that offer different advantages and disadvantages. Kelly Meier from The Classroom blog explains that researching your options in advance will help you find the right match. It’s also important to take into account if you want to live with or without a roommate. The following shares a list of pros and cons to having a roommate while attending school:

Pros & Cons on Roommates:

Pro – You won’t be lonely.

Even if your roommate isn’t your best friend, you will feel safe at all times just for having the presence of someone else around. My freshman year roommate was randomly selected and even though we didn’t hangout outside of our room together, when it came time to get ready for bed, we would always recap our days and it just felt nice to have someone there to chat with.

Con – No privacy.

If you’re anything like me, you love having alone time and a little bit of privacy. Having a roommate doesn’t really allow for a lot of either of these things. Ron Leshnower from The Spruce blog simply states that not having roommates means you can do what you want when you want it. My first roommate was from out-of-state and didn’t have a car on campus, so she never went home unless it was for a holiday; therefore, if I wanted to have some time to myself, I had to be the one to leave which can ruin the whole “going away for college” memo I mentioned earlier.

Flashcard Three from Macy K. It says When considering a roommate, you really have to take into consideration your own needs and how you like to live. Ask yourself questions like, "Do I want my own space?" or "Do I get too scared to be by myself at night?" At the end of the day, you want to feel at home when you go back to your dorm or apartment.

Pro – You will save money.

It’s a no-brainer that living with someone else will help make the cost much more affordable, so if you’re looking to save as much money as possible when going away for school, having a roommate can for sure lend a hand in that. Leshnower from The Spruce wrote that when having a roommate, you can rent a larger apartment that would give you both more room and more value. “You’ll also split utility bills and the cost of groceries, among other apartment expenses,” Leshnower said.

Con – They may miss a payment.

The Rent.com editorial team explains that the problem with splitting the cost of rent and utilities is that they have to be paid whether or not your roommate can afford it that month. It’s really important to consider if your roommate is not reliable because when it comes to paying rent at the beginning of each month, “it could end up costing you,” the editorial team explains.

Flashcard Four from Macy K. It says Make sure that if you choose to have a roommate(s), that you can trust they will pull their weight with making payments on time, cleaning up their own messes and respecting your space.

Pro – You will make new friends.

The one main perk I personally think of having a roommate is that you get to make new friends; not only with your actual roommate, but with potential suitemates or floormates. The Rent.com editorial team explains it in the best way: “Having a roommate means there’s always someone there to hang out with or talk to when you come home from a long day at work.”

Con – There will be unexpected guests.

One major problem when having a roommate is that they can have people over whenever they want and because they have partial ownership of the place, they don’t need to run it by you if they want to have guests over. It can become frustrating at times when you have a huge test to study for and your roommate is having a girls night and all you can hear is them screaming the lyrics to Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus.

Flashcard Five from Macy K. It says Even if you choose to live by yourself, don't forget to leave your dorm room or apartment to go hangout with friends and meet new people. My friend-group is one of the many reasons my college experience has been so fun!

No matter what you choose to do or where you choose to live when go away for school, make it the best experience possible. I have lived in a residence hall and an apartment in my college years and I definitely recommend trying out both while you have the chance. I want to hear about your living experiences, so comment below! Let’s chat.

If you want more background on where the best place is for you to live, check out the links below!




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