Off-Campus Housing 101: Pros, Cons and Tips

So, your housing number isn’t so great and all of your friends have already made plans to live in Suites or singles with other people. You might have one or two friends in the same boat as you: bad number, no backup plan and less and less desire to live on campus as the weeks have gone by.

The next choice besides a brown box is moving off-campus. There are a lot of pros and a lot of cons involved with this and a lot you need to know about the process.

Pros:

1)   You can live like an actual adult instead of a college student when you want to: you aren’t stuck in this bubble of the Brandeis dorms and you have a lot more freedom to come and go as you please (discounting of course your other roommates)

2)   A kitchen: most apartments off campus will have a decent size kitchen, I can’t speak for the quality of all the appliances however. Regardless, you have a newfound ability to cook your own meals, eat a little healthier than you would at Usdan or Sherman and you can really impress people with your packed lunches.

3)   Your own room: most apartments off campus allow you to have your own room and they are typically larger than a dorm room. There is a major advantage to having your own living space but also roommates to spend time with.

4)   More space: off-campus apartments will have more space for you to move around and it an feel more like a home instead of a temporary living space.

Cons:

1)   Bills, bills, and more bills: living off campus while still cheaper than some of the dorms can add up to quite a large sum of money. Between grocery bills, utilities and rent money there is a lot more thought that needs to go into how you spend your money.

2)   Cleaning: you are responsible for keeping your space clean and the shared space. Setting up a schedule or routine for cleaning apartments look different with each group but no matter what they don’t come without any sort of disagreement.

3)   Distance: you are not as close or accessible to campus buildings. You can’t just run out of your house and go to the Starbucks in the library and do some homework. You need to add another 10 minutes to get to class in the morning, sometimes more depending on where you end up living.

Tips and Tricks:

Now that you have thought about it, you might decide no way, I would rather live in a box than deal with all the moving parts of off-campus living. You also might have said, this sounds like a fun adventure, gotten some friends together and are ready to take the plunge and sign a lease. Now, you don’t know what to do: where do you look to find the best apartment?

1)   Look at Jump Off Campus for listings of houses nearby.

2)   Check out the Housing Group for people looking to fill an apartment off campus or find some new friends to live with. You can also see if anyone is leaving their houses this year.

3)   Ask around – find out from friends if they know anyone moving out this year. Ask friends you know are living off campus already and see if they are going to be completely vacating. If one or two people are staying maybe live with them!

Good luck with your housing endeavors! The biggest piece of advice is have fun with apartment hunting and don’t take a place you are not completely sold on. It is okay to be picky.