For most students, going to college will be the very first time that they live apart from parents. It is an exciting time transitioning into young adults. However, with so many alternatives at your disposal, choosing college housing can be an overwhelming decision as there are so many factors that you should consider.
As many colleges require you to live on-campus during your first year of college, you ultimately have the decision to stay or move out before moving on to your sophomore year. This guide is designed to list out for you the major factors that you must consider before choosing where to live.
Prior to making a final decision, it is crucial that you consider the location of each dorm option around the campus as this can significantly impact your daily life. You would not want to end up choosing an accommodation that is far from your classes. If this happened, you would not have the motivation to attend classes as it would take you a long time to arrive. It is also important that you will be able to either walk to places that are necessary for a college student, or have easy access to transportation services that take you there. For example, the dining areas, classrooms, and libraries. Additionally, you should also consider your social life and the opportunity that a good location can provide. However, this is usually taken care of by the college as the freshman dorms are usually located around the same area, so it should create plenty of opportunities for you to make new friends and expand your social circle as you begin your college journey.
2. Roommates - Social Factor
You must consider whether you want a roommate or prefer to live alone. The most popular option is usually to request a roommate as they would be like a partner to help you get settled, thus providing everybody with the opportunity to bond and become friends from the start. Some students prefer to live in a ‘suite’, which is a housing style where you will likely have around three to four ‘suite-mates’ with your own private room. However, you will have to share the living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom with your new suite-mates
In order to avoid the university placing you in a living area that you may not enjoy, colleges usually send out surveys and questionnaires to capture and understand your room and roommate preferences. These typical questions include the following; noisy or quiet, smoker or non-smoker, early riser or late sleeper, etc. Do take these questionnaires seriously. Following your roommate assignment, it is recommended that you reach out to your roommate in order to get a better idea of what your roommate is like and determine who is bringing what. For example, TV, gaming console, cleaning essentials, etc.
3. Private Accommodation - Privacy
If you are a person that prefers to live alone and to have your own privacy, then private accommodation is the right one for you. Not only that but in some instances, you might want to have this in the back of your mind as not all colleges are able to guarantee a place in dorms for all freshmen. You could potentially be among those who unfortunately miss out, especially if you apply late.
However, living in a private place can definitely have its advantages as it offers you the freedom of choosing where you want to live and with who, instead of having a computer system randomly allocate you a place and roommate. Having a private accommodation will prepare you for your future life as many students move into privately rented accommodations after the first year. This will teach you discipline and independence as you will be completely in charge of how you live your life. Moreover, living outside the college proximities will provide you with more opportunity to gain knowledge about the city, make connections outside the college, and also become part of the local community.
4. Living at Home - Economic Factor
If your university is close to home, why not move back for your sophomore year. Living at home is usually the best option for most people from a financial standpoint. This can easily cut your living costs by half and is one of the options that does not require you to pack up all your goods and relocate to another location. At home, you will always have food on the table, no rent or money concerns, free laundry service, and transportation as your parents can drive you around or you can use their car if you have a license, cutting your costs by a substantial amount. Additionally, as you have lived at home for so many years, you already know the whereabouts, and the safety levels of your neighborhood. Most importantly, your parents will not be stressed out and constantly calling you to see if you are okay.
While living at home while attending college is great, you must keep into consideration that your ability to meet new people and make friends will definitely become a challenge and will require some effort. However, do not let that discourage you as you will have many opportunities to meet new people across other activities such as sports, societies, and student events.
In summary, even though moving away from home and your parents can be an extremely exciting venture, it is crucial that you consider these factors to ensure that your housing meets your needs and you have an enjoyable time at college. Choosing the right college housing will not only provide you with a comfortable place to live in, but this comfort will allow you to focus on other aspects of college, such as extracurriculars, academics, and socializing, which are essential for your success in college.