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Living in an Apartment Versus a Dorm: The Pros and Cons

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

When coming to college, students are faced with a lot of important choices throughout their four years. Some of these choices have short term consequences, such as deciding whether to stay in and study or go out with your friends.

Other choices have much longer-term effects, like when making the decision on where you’re going to live next year.

I have faced this decision in the past and have now experienced life both in a dorm and in an off-campus apartment. So, I’m here to tell you the benefits and pitfalls of both.


Living in a dorm provides the most perks to students during their first year of college. Typically, freshman students will be living with other freshmen, giving those looking to make friends an easy outlet to do so.

The best part about living in an on-campus dorm is the fact that it is close to everywhere you need to go. Classes, the dining hall, and your friends’ dorms are within a short walking distance from your own dorm, and this convenience is hard to beat.

One of the downsides of dorm-life is the lack of space. Unless you’re in a dorm that has more of a suite format, many dorm rooms are exactly that — a room. This lack of space can be really annoying and hard to get used to, especially when you’ve been living in a house your whole life.

Many typical aspects of dorm life can get old fast. Sharing the space with a roommate, loud neighbors and having no personal bathroom or kitchen to cook in are some of the more unfortunate qualities in dorm rooms.


Apartments are great because when hunting for one, you have more freedom to find one that has all the attributes you could want, whereas dorms are mostly the same thing.

Apartments also provide you more space and overall freedom. You have more than just your own room to hang out in and you don’t have to worry about RAs.

The best part of apartment living is getting the opportunity to share a home with all your friends. This, in my experience, has been something I will look back fondly on for the rest of my life.

Of course, there are many disadvantages to living in an apartment as well. You have much more responsibility, like making your own meals, keeping the bathroom clean, doing the dishes, etc.

Sometimes, you’ll also have to deal with crappy landlords, which can be a major inconvenience to deal with (if you’re lucky though, this won’t be an issue).

Lastly, sometimes a decently priced apartment can be a long distance away from all your campus needs, so be prepared to get your steps in!

In my opinion, living in a dorm is the best option for first-year students looking to make friends and get used to campus. But after that, I suggest getting an apartment.

This year of college has been my best so far because I get to live in a great apartment with some of my best friends, and I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world!

hi! i'm a junior advertising major with minors in photography and dmta at psu:)