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The Pros and Cons of Dorm Life Versus Apartment Life

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Around this time a year ago, I found out that I was already a month behind in looking for off-campus housing. I didn’t even know if I wanted to live off-campus at that point, but I knew that if I didn’t decide soon, I wouldn’t even have the option. A month into the semester, I had to decide where I wanted to live next school year and who I wanted to live with. This process is stressful for most freshmen and anyone else considering housing options. But now that I have lived in my new apartment for four weeks, I will compare the vast differences between dorm and apartment living to help you figure out which option is best for you. 

Dorm Life


  • You will never feel as connected to campus as you will when living within it. Living in a dorm, at least for one year, is worthwhile for that reason alone. Feeling like a part of the Florida State University (FSU) community meant treating the campus as my personal home. Eating at the dining hall, hanging out on Landis, and studying at Strozier Library made the campus feel more comforting.
  • You can build your own community within your residence hall by making friends with your suitemates or attending dorm events.  
  • Apart from that, the cost is the most reasonable it’s ever going to get when it comes to student housing. FSU will provide you with everything you need to live with, and depending on the dorm, almost everything is of good quality. I lived in Azalea Hall and felt like I was living in luxury (kind of).  


  • Living in close proximity to another human being will almost inevitably lead to complications. Unless you live in an apartment-style dorm, you virtually have no privacy, and if you do, it’s only for a few hours at best.  
  • You can never guarantee that you’ll always like the roommate you end up with. This could make the experience even more frustrating. A way to get around that is to request someone specific, but even then, you can never be sure.  
  • A personal complaint of mine was the very minimal space. This goes for the room itself but also the bathroom. You have nowhere to put towels and clothes and sometimes have to put your belongings on the floor, which always grossed me out. On top of that, you must either try to carry all of your stuff at once or make several trips bringing toiletries, clothes, and towels in and out of the bathroom. Overall, it was a very frustrating experience, but one you can definitely live with.  

Apartment Life


  • The biggest and best pro is having the benefits of roommates while also not being totally devoid of privacy. I love my roommates, and I love them even more because I can choose when I want to be around them. 
  • Decorating a room and a dorm is also completely different. I really felt like I could personalize my room in my apartment to the highest extent, unlike my dorm. 
  • My underrated pro is that cooking is made a lot easier when you can do it in your place. I find myself cooking way more because I have the fridge space and proximity. I also don’t feel uncomfortable running into strangers who might be occupying what I need to use and awkwardly turning around. 


  • The only downside I deem important is the cost. As I mentioned, a dorm is one of the cheapest living options in college, and any apartment will come at a ridiculously high price. Not to mention that in an apartment, you also have to weigh bills and be cautious of your utility and water usage. The payoff for me personally was worth it, but it was still something I had to heavily consider.  

Ultimately, I found that living in an apartment changed my quality of life for the better. However, everyone’s values are different, so hopefully, when you read this, you can figure out what is important to you when considering where to live. 

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A first year majoring in Editing, Writing and Media. Lover of books and all things Taylor Swift :)