Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

On-Campus or Off: Where To Live After Your First Year at FSU

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.

If you were to eavesdrop on any conversation at Florida State University right now, you’d probably hear something like “Where are you living next year?” This question is particularly prominent for freshmen who are figuring out returning housing for the first time. It’s about that time when housing chaos is starting again, so here’s my personal experience with returner housing, what I’ve learned about returner housing through speaking with other FSU students, and my recommendations going forward.

Last October, my friends and I were so excited to be putting in our on-campus returner contracts with the idea that we would be living in Ragans Hall, an on-campus apartment at FSU, together. We had even decided how we would decorate our living area. We were all almost juniors by credit, so we would get an on-campus apartment, right? Wrong.

When February rolled around and it was time to select our rooms, DeGraff Hall was the only dorm hall available for rising academic sophomores and juniors. This led us into a spiral of looking for off-campus apartments when most leases were already signed. Today, I live in DeGraff with a friend, but there are some ways to avoid that scenario.

A vast majority of on-campus housing at FSU is reserved for incoming freshmen, which can leave very few spots for sophomores and upperclassmen. Upperclassmen usually have the entirety of three halls saved for them: Ragans, Broward, and Traditions. A few of the other halls — like Bryan, Cawthon, DeGraff, Reynolds, McCollum, and Rogers — house a combination of freshmen and upperclassmen.

Traditions is generally reserved for upperclassmen with a lot of credit hours, so if you don’t have a good amount going into February, kiss that dream of living in the nicest on-campus apartment goodbye. Ragans had that same treatment this past year, as mostly rising seniors secured rooms there. Some had more luck with McCollum and Rogers.

This leaves DeGraff and Broward. Both dorms are on-campus suite-style, like most of the ones aimed toward freshmen like Magnolia, Dorman, and Jennie Murphree. Broward is first in the housing selection as it’s on the main parts of campus, located near the Suwannee Room. It’s an older dorm, but it isn’t terrible.

My last choice was DeGraff. It’s known as “off-campus-on-campus living” due to its more out-of-the-way location. The hall was built in 1950 and rebuilt in 2007, so it does feel nicer compared to most halls on campus, but the fact that it’s the only FSU building north of West Tennessee Street turns people away.

To access campus from DeGraff, students must walk through an infamous tunnel that is right behind the College of Business and can sometimes be scary at night. The hall itself consists of two twins, just like Wildwood Hall. There is DeGraff East and DeGraff West. If you do have to pick one, pick West. East can be extremely noisy because it’s located right next to areas that tend to be loud. An upside to the hall is that it has great security. It’s constantly monitored by the FSU Police Department due to its sketchier location and is surrounded by gates that are only accessible via an FSU ID.

Worst case scenario: you can’t get any on-campus accommodations. So what do you do? Well, you have no choice but to look off-campus. Student living in Tallahassee can be expensive, but if you have less than 50 credit hours, consider signing a lease for an off-campus accommodation now. Many may not be available by the time you find out you didn’t get on-campus housing.

Most students live in one of two kinds of accommodations: apartments or townhomes. Both can be very expensive, but townhomes can be a little more affordable. Many townhomes are further away from campus, so you would have to drive to class every day, and we all know that parking on campus is a losing battle. However, some are located at a closer distance and on the FSU bus route.

Apartments are scattered everywhere and can be very expensive. College Town is where rates can be high, but this is likely due to its proximity to campus. However, I have heard that the area can be difficult to live in due to the noise and the fact that it’s practically inaccessible during football game weekends. Good apartment options may be those on West Call Street. These can be slightly cheaper and are just a block away from campus. However, they are on the farther side of campus, near the College of Education.

Hopefully, this helps with any worries you may have about renewing your FSU on-campus contract and what to expect if you do. Best of luck to you, and happy house hunting!

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest!

Michaela Galligan is a second-year student at Florida State University originally from Tampa, FL. She is studying political science and editing, writing, & media studies with a minor in communications and hopes to one day enter the field of political journalism and reporting. She is passionate about politics, football, music, traveling, and all things FSU.