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5 Tips for Hunting for Your First College Apartment

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

Leaping into adulthood is undoubtedly stressful, and the idea of living without your parents or loved ones for the first time is pretty scary! Maybe you decided to live on campus your first year and figured out that lifestyle wasn’t your thing. Maybe you opted into off-campus living right away, excited at all the freedoms promised with your own apartment. Make your journey easier by following these tips! 

Utilize Google Sheets

Google Sheets is a lifesaver when it comes to staying organized during the apartment hunt! Most students look at many listings when they are researching places to live, and all the different numbers and prices may start to be confusing. Utilizing this resource helps you stay organized and easily rule out places that aren’t the perfect fit!

Contact the Communities

Unfortunately, some of the information on apartment listings on websites like apartments.com can be inaccurate – the last thing you want is to schedule a tour for a place that was outside of your budget to begin with! Make sure you’re calling the apartment homes to verify all the information you’re reading is correct – then schedule that tour!

Take Tours

Getting to see the apartments you are interested in is essential to the apartment hunting process. The pictures online, just like the information, could be misleading! Of course, your health and safety should always be a priority, so if COVID-19 has impacted the in-person tours, utilize the 3-D tours many communities have implemented. Making sure you can see yourself living in your future home and imaging how you would arrange the place is one of the most exciting parts of the search!

Set a Budget

Before apartment hunting, have a general idea of how much you want to spend each month on a place. Is the rent price worth the quality of the home you will be staying in? What else is included in the rent? “What’s your budget?” is a question you may often hear, so ensure you have a plan on what you’re willing to spend!

Budgeting is very important when it comes to actually living on your own. The habit of online shopping and going out to eat can cost you a pretty penny (trust me, my bank account knows), so it’s important to ensure you’re setting aside enough income or student aide for essentials such as rent, electricity, internet, etc. once you’re actually moved in!

Make an Amazon Wish List

Last, but definitely not least, make Amazon wish lists! They are a great way to stay organized and offer you a resource to return to later as you begin to furnish your home. They’re also a great way to receive help from family and friends – they can take part in your journey by purchasing items from this list. Amazon has a wide selection of everything you’ll need, from cleaning supplies to couches, so a wish list is a great way to compile all your needs. If you wanted to get fancy, you could even organize separate lists for each room in your new home!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is a home for you. If the first listing doesn’t work out, or the fifth, maybe the tenth will. Stay calm, and utilize as many of these tips as you can. Happy hunting!

21. Fourth year student at the University of South Florida, majoring in Biology and pursuing a career in veterinary science. Lover of animals and hockey.
Hello! My name is Cassie! I am a public relations and advertising student at the University of South Florida with a minor in leadership studies. I love digital art and finding new ways to empower women via the internet!