What You Need to Know About Second-Year College Housing

So you just started your freshman year and people are already asking, “Where are you going to live next year?” What?! You may be thinking to yourself, two weeks ago I lived with my parents and knew no one here; now I know about three people and I’m not even sure that I like them all that much, but I might have to sign a lease with them just to make sure I’m not homeless next year.


On September 15th, a landlord told me they don’t have many properties left for NEXT school year. I had just moved in a month ago—mid-September—and I’m late to the game? During the first few weeks of school, I had a lot on my mind and housing was just about dead last. I had JUST moved into my current place a few weeks ago and now I’m supposed to figure out a new place and already know if my new roommates and I live well together? Thankfully for me, my roommates are the absolute bestest—but that’s not the case for everyone!!!


Step One: On-campus or Off-campus

When it comes to housing after your freshman year, you have two options: on-campus living or off-campus living. While one may seem cooler than the other to you, it’s important to truly consider:


  • Cost
  • Roommates
  • Location


My school has some really nice on-campus living options! But I wanted more freedom and to have my own room/space. Our on-campus options at Winona State are so expensive (in my opinion). I also could NOT do the caf another year, not to be dramatic or anything…


I know the answer to the question, “If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you too?” is usually no, but with living, it’s a different story. I advise that you just do what your friends do or you’ll feel serious FOMO. All of my friends were also moving off campus, so that seemed to be the best option for me. However, I know people who have lived on campus all four years and loved it!



Step Two: Roommates


Don’t, please DO NOT sign a lease on week two—you may not like those people so much in a year. I signed in October of last year and that was considered late! I absolutely love my roommates now, and I ended up growing apart from some of the people I had first considered living with.


Accept the possibility that it may not work to live with ALL of your friends. I have awesome friends that it probably wouldn’t work out to live with—we may kill each other if we did. People grow up in different homes with different rules, and you have to be able to accept that and adjust to other people’s lifestyles. Live with friends who live similarly to you. Make sure you’re on the same page about cleanliness, bills, the thermostat, household chores, when guests can come over, if you’re sharing food or buying your own, and truly just being courteous of each other! Establish rules before you move in so there aren't so many problems later on.


You may have the best laughs and happy times with a friend, but don’t let an amazing friendship get ruined by the fact that you have a hard time living together. If you can’t handle that they let their dirty dishes pile up in the sink or that they wake up at the crack of dawn and blast music while you are trying to catch up on your sleep, consider parting ways.


Side note: You don’t have to live with all your friends and all your friends' friends. We found ourselves looking at 12-bedroom sorority houses to make sure no one would feel left out… 12 people in one house? It would not have worked. As fun as it sounds, absolutely no schoolwork would get done in that hizzle.



Step Three: Expense


Off-campus living is cheaper in the long run, but will drain your bank account in the short term. Amidst all your anxiety about finding a place to live, do NOT sign a lease that’s too expensive for you. You can try to negotiate rent price down usually, which I didn't know, but wish I had. Don't expect granite countertops, but have some kind of standards. My family would stop at a gas station to use the bathroom when visiting my sister at school because her bathroom was so disgusting… don't do that to yourself. It's possible to have nice-ish things for cheap.



Lastly, before you are so quick to get the f*%$ out of the dorms, appreciate them! You will likely never live in a community like that again. As much as I love my apartment, I miss the social aspect of my freshman dorm.


If you take away anything from this I want it to be:

1. Don’t rush 

2. Make sure you can live with your roommates.


Figuring out housing for your second year of college, or any year for that matter, is quite stressful. Here at Winona State, everyone seems to be in such a rush to sign a lease within the first month, and there’s nothing I wish I could change more than that. Personally, I think it’s best to wait at least a month into school before deciding on housing for the following year. If I had it my way, no one would be able to sign a lease until spring semester. You may feel as though your options are running thin, but I promise you there will be something available. Relax. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to :)