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How To: Choose Your First Apartment

After surviving the first two years of college in those dinky dorm rooms, it is about that time to choose your own apartment. It’s my first time living in my own place and let me tell you, this unreal experience is a lot different than my double at Wilkins or my quad at Phi Sigma Sigma. So far, I’ve friendly taunted people from my balcony, taught myself how to cook something besides cereal, watched the sunrise a couple of times and even took my own trash out (which is gross and horrific).  I absolutely love my apartment and I wouldn’t have my junior year start off any other way. 


Choosing your first apartment can be tough, but getting to know some of the important details will help making a decision much easier. There are three major leasing companies at ISU: Young America Realty, SAMI, and First Site. All companies offer awesome places to live. Be sure to check out the Flats and the Edge too!


  1. The most important part about choosing your apartment is deciding on a budget and staying within your price range. With a budget, you know exactly where to look and what to look for. Research everything you can; the more you know, the better you’ll feel about picking an apartment.
  2. Pick your roomies! Your roommates are will see you on your best and your worst days. Be sure to pick your roommates who are just as awesome as you are.
  3. Take a tour or if you know someone who lives at that apartment complex, stop by! You could make some conversation and drop hints you’re interested in living there Ask something along the lines of “What is the closet size lookin’ like?” Maybe not, but definitely be sure to know what layout you may be working with.
  4. Sign. Go to the leasing company with your roommates then take a pic to show all of social media that you are OFFICIALLY a grown up!

Young America is in charge of a few apartment complexes in Blo-No such as Kensington Suites, Willow Trails, and the Lodge. My favorite part about Kensington ($610.00-669.00) is the location. It’s right across the street from the library (which my parents loved) and I can roll out of bed ten minutes before class and still make it on time. Willow Trails ($685.00-759.00) is a little farther from campus, but you and your roommates all get a parking spot. Most apartments at Willow Trails feel so homey plus they’ve got a great lookin’ kitchen for all you cooks out there. Lodge ($725.00 – 889.00) is the ultimate college spot to live at. It’s got the pool, grill and bonfire area, and it’s right down the street from campus.

SAMI handles a variety of townhomes, houses, and apartment complexes such as Vernon Stables ($545.00-555.00) that has an awesome pool on site and lots of parking. Some of their apartments are even along Constitution Trail! A few of these locations are a bit farther but there’s nothing wrong with living a couple miles from campus!

First Site is responsible for 1010 Lofts, the Oaks, and a few other apartment buildings. From what I’ve heard, 1010 Lofts ($625.00-$685.00) is super awesome and a walk right down University St. and you’re right on campus. The Oaks ($499.00-549.00) also has an onsite pool area, which is great for chilling when you’re done with classes and need some tan time.


If I could live in all these apartments, I would. But since I can’t, do me a favor and definitely check some of these places out. Happy apartment hunting!

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Raquel Ugalde

Illinois State

Public Relations major at Illinois State University. Chapter Correspondent for Her Campus Illinois State University. 
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