graduateshotline logo
Last Updated: April 04, 2022

On-Campus vs Off-Campus Living

Students who have enrolled in universities away from home will be immediately pressed with the different options they have of staying close to the institution. While the ideal option for students who are new to the city is taking an on-campus accommodation, this has to be carefully considered based on the requirements of the student in question. While some students would like to stay as close to the university as possible and engage in college activities all day long, some others will have to consider the cost of living on-campus/in dormitories and off-campus before they choose a place to stay.

Apart from the cost of living, students should also acknowledge the fact that most universities will not be equipped to provide on-campus accommodation to all their students. Most of the time, on-campus accommodations are provided to candidates on a first come first serve basis. Other universities only provide on-campus accommodation to first-year students after which they are expected to find accommodation off-campus. Either way, it will be ideal for students to consider the pros and cons of living off-campus before finding different housing options.

Different Off-Campus Options for Students

Students who choose to stay outside campus mostly prefer staying in shared apartments with two or more other people. Students will be able to move to student localities that are present near every popular university. In such places, one will be able to find affordable housing options along with different entertainment options that can keep everyone occupied irrespective of their interests.
A few of the housing options that students can find off-campus include-
  • shared apartments
  • dormitories
  • home stays
  • professionally managed student housing
  • independent houses

Different On-Campus Options for Students

Students who prefer living on-campus will be able to choose from the options that are available within the campus. Sometimes, accommodation is provided by the university even in locations that are right outside the campus. The housing options provided are mainly based on the availability of the same. Students will be provided with on-campus accommodations mostly for the first year only. A few of the housing options that are offered include-
  • private rooms attached to a corridor hall
  • shared rooms attached to a corridor hall
  • dormitories
  • apartment housings with shared facilities

Cost of Living Off-Campus and On-Campus

The cost of living off-campus varies from place to place and is mainly dependent on the locality one chooses to live in. While it is assumed that on-campus living will be the cheaper option, this isn’t always the case considering how the lifestyle of a candidate can make living off-campus far less expensive. Students who choose to live in student localities will be able to find shared apartments and even dormitories outside the campus that offer cheap rental rates.

The main expenses that one will have while living off-campus include the rent, utility, transportation, and grocery expenses along with the money one will spend for entertainment purposes during their stay. The average cost of living outside campus is around $12,000 per semester which can exceed $13,000 in on-campus housing.

Advantages of Living Off-Campus

The advantages of living off-campus will mostly be dependent on the city one is staying at. Students who are staying outside their campus will be living like independent adults which implies that they will be under no restrictions. They will be able to engage in activities and be responsible for themselves throughout their stay here. A few of the advantages include-
  • Students who live off-campus will not have to worry about curfews. The rules and regulations that one has to comply with while on-campus will be non-existent to off-campus residents.
  • They will have their own private space for studying or relaxing depending on how they choose their space to be.
  • Off-Campus living is comparatively less expensive and is largely dependent on the lifestyle of the student than the fee they will have to pay. Most of the time, living off-campus will help students save money.
  • Students will be able to find better part-time jobs that they can do while studying. This is mainly because student localities will also offer them career prospects that can provide them with easy money.
  • Students will be able to mingle with the local people, learn their language, and at the same time learn about the country/state they have come to live in.

Advantages of Living On-Campus

Students who wish to live on-campus will be able to enjoy their student life to the maximum since it will provide them with a space that treats them only like students. On the other hand, those who wish to stay off-campus will mostly be dealt with as independent adults irrespective of whether they are young professionals or students. A few of the benefits of staying on-campus include-
  • Students will not be required to travel back and forth from their house to the university daily. Even on university campuses where the accommodation is at a distance from the classroom, one will be able to cycle or walk instead of taking a bus or metro.
  • On-campus accommodation covers utility bills and rent as part of the dorm fee. Students will also not be required to pay for repairing things.
  • Since most campus activities happen after class hours, students who stay on-campus will be able to participate more and earn extra credits since they do not have to travel back to where they stay.

Disadvantages of Living Off-Campus

The disadvantages of living outside campus lie mainly in the responsibilities one will have to take up while living by themselves. Even if they have roommates, students will ultimately be responsible for keeping their living space clean and also in paying the bills on time. A few other disadvantages include-
  • Students will not get a community feels while living outside campus since the place they choose to stay needn’t be full of other students.
  • They will have to commute daily to college and back which is both time-consuming and tiring. Students will even have to keep a budget aside for this.
  • They will have to pay utility bills and the rent on a timely basis along with the initial deposit they will have to make in securing the place.
  • Students will find it difficult to engage in cultural activities conducted by the university since they don’t live on-campus. Eventually, they can feel detached from their educational space.
  • Students will be responsible for the maintenance charges and additional charges if there is property damage.

Disadvantages of Living On-Campus

While on-campus accommodation can be better in a lot of ways, it does have its demerits, especially in the way rules and regulations are imposed upon students at all times. Students who stay on-campus will not have the option of choosing what suits them best. Most of the time, they are provided with accommodation that is chosen by the university and though they will have an option of changing rooms, it can be a hassle. A few of the disadvantages of living on-campus include-
  • The accommodation provided can be congested with students having to share rooms with other people. Corridors and other common spaces will also be filled with students most of the time.
  • On-campus accommodations will mostly not allow pets and will have time restrictions as well. Students will also not be allowed to smoke, drink, or party within the space provided.
  • Students will have to attend dorm meetings every month at least. These meetings will be held to inform the residents about cultural activities or rules and regulations.
  • Most on-campus accommodations will have periods for when visitors can enter the space. They will also have gender restrictions in most cases.

Off-Campus vs On-Campus Living- Key Differences

The main difference between living on-campus and off-campus lies in the lifestyle of the candidate and how they wish to live during their educational years. While in most places on-campus housing can be more expensive, this isn’t the case everywhere. Some places have on-campus housing to be cheaper when compared to off-campus housing. It is ideal for students to do their research before choosing a place to stay near their university. A few of the other differences include-
  • Students who opt for off-campus housing will be able to get a living space based on their requirements unless on-campus housing where they will be provided with what is available at the university. Off-campus housing provides students with the privacy and personal space they will require during their stay.
  • On-Campus housing is often subject to inspections, curfews, and other rules and regulations including gender restrictions which can be troublesome for students. Students who live outside the campus will not have any such restrictions.
  • Students who live off-campus will have to take care of all bills while on-campus housing will have utility and rent bills covered as part of their accommodation expenses. They will also not be required to cook their food while living on-campus unlike off-campus living where students will have to fend for themselves.
  • Most on-campus housing will have common living spaces and common washrooms irrespective of what students require. Off-campus housing will have amenities that the student will desire since they will have the freedom to choose a space that they can be comfortable in.

Safety Concerns While Living Off-Campus

While choosing off-campus housing options can be the best deal for students in most cases, there are a few many things one should keep track of to remain safe. As soon as one shifts outside campus, they will have all the responsibilities of an adult who is living alone, and hence being secure in one’s living space is extremely important.

Before renting the apartment, one will have to check the place thoroughly for emergency exits, lighting, smoke detectors, security gratings, etc. They will also have to check the strength of Wi-Fi and water problems that one might face while living there. Students will also have to keep track of the financial exchanges being made and read the contract thoroughly before signing it.

A few of the other safety concerns one should keep track of include-
  • One should never loan their key to non-residents even if they are close friends. Leaving keys unattended during parties or other events should also be strictly avoided irrespective of the situation one is in.
  • Ensure that all doors and windows of the apartment are locked if one is alone or is about to sleep. Even if one is stepping out briefly for a few minutes, they should take an extra minute to lock the door before leaving.
  • Take extra caution or avoid going to deserted laundry rooms, basements, or car parking, if possible.
  • Keep personal documents safe at all times. It will be ideal for students to invest in a locker where they can save their belongings from getting stolen.
  • Ensure that the doors of the apartment are in good condition and report those that are malfunctioning so you can continue to be safe at the location.

Safety Concerns While Living On-Campus

A few of the safety concerns that one must keep track of include-
  • Students should lock their belongings at all times even if they are leaving their room only for a few minutes. It is ideal to install a locker for this purpose.
  • Lock the room at night and even while stepping out to use common areas.
  • Students should learn about the fire escape routes in the dormitory since fires are common in such spaces.

For Students

Universities in the Country

Understanding the Education System