Photo by Tia Walker.
Whether you are a first-year or fourth-year student, the decision to live on or off campus is a big decision. Both have their own ups and downs, but hopefully, by the end of this, I’ll have helped you decide.
This is for those who have already been through some sort of housing situation. I know people that have really loved living on campus and some that have absolutely hated it; the same goes for people who have lived off campus. One of the biggest complaints I have heard from friends that have lived on campus was that there wasn’t much of a private place due to room advisers constantly doing room checks and other things of that nature. That can also come with off campus student housing though. In my experience, if you want the best privacy you should try to find a place that is not associated with the university.
The biggest thing students take into consideration when looking for housing is the cost. The best thing about living on campus is that more times than not it is going to be a lot cheaper than living off campus. Living off campus could bring other expenses such as utilities, termination fees if needed to move out sooner, furnishing a place if you go with non-student housing, etc. Whereas living on campus you have a set price for the semester or year and everything is included.
If you do your research, you could find a place off campus and non-affiliated for cheaper than off-campus student housing, like I did. The search may be long but the end result could be very rewarding. Some sites that really helped me find a place to live were craigslist, apartments.com, and Zillow.
Everyone has to eat; that is a given for any lifestyle. If you live on campus, you have to get a meal plan card unless you live in Campus View Suites. Unfortunately, when you are stuck with the meal plan you have to eat from the same places over and over again, which can start to get boring after a while, unless you want to spend your own money and go out to eat.
On the other hand, living off campus comes with having to buy your own groceries, which is a lot cheaper than eating out if you shop correctly. Meal plan prices range between $1049 and $1849 (between $116 and $205 per month), whereas some students have stated they pay between $100 and $140 a month on groceries. So depending on how you shop, it can be cheaper. Plus, eating home cooked meals is better than eating out or eating the same things over and over again.
Transportation is another factor that needs to be considered when looking for housing. Living on campus you don’t have to worry about finding a way to school because you are already there. Living off campus, you may have to find transportation, depending on where you live. Luckily, being at DSU, most of our off-campus housing is a walkable distance from the university, so transportation is not that big of an issue. The only housing you would need a car for would be if you lived at Red Rock Ridge.
During my first semester at DSU, I lived there and did not have a car so it was an ultimate struggle finding ways to get back and forth. Because of that I don’t recommend living there unless you have a vehicle to get around. Also, if you avoid student housing all together and get an apartment or house somewhere, you may need transportation depending on your vicinity to school.
I advocate for finding housing completely off campus and not student housing related. It’s honestly the best decision I have made when it comes to housing options. The amount of freedom I have definitely outweighs the cost. I am more comfortable in my own place than I have ever been living in off-campus student housing. I never have to worry about someone coming in and doing a room check or clean check, I can just live how I want to live.
The price is also not that bad if you find a place with multiple friends. I pay around $1400 a month for my apartment, split between three people and that comes out to around $466 each, whereas some off campus places like 605 and Place and Tabernacle charge around $500 a month or more for a private room, a bit absurd if you ask me. You also don’t have to worry about being roomed with random people you can’t connect with and you have the freedom to have pets.
So go and look around at other housing options. You might find a hidden gem out there for an amazing deal, and I guarantee you won’t regret it.