It is one of the most important questions of your college years – should you live in a dorm on campus, or rent an apartment in Blacksburg, VA? This decision can drastically alter your college experience. While a majority of students (at least the ones who don't live at home), decide to live on campus as a freshman, where you live during the later years is a lot less clear.
Staying on campus will keep you close to classes and in the loop when it comes to school activities, but off-campus living has some serious perks, too. Here are five reasons you may want to rent an apartment off-campus.
1. It can save you money. Dorms and other student housing options are notoriously expensive at many colleges, which is why so many students opt to live off-campus starting their sophomore year. However, this isn't always the case, so don't fall into the trap of thinking that all off-campus housing will be cheaper.
If money is an issue, do a little research to determine typical rent prices in nearby neighborhoods. Find one that works best for your budget and won't be a difficult commute to classes. And don't forget: Living with roommates will likely be much cheaper than living alone.
2. There are fewer rules. The longer you live in dorms, the more time you'll have to deal with things like nosy RAs and early quiet hours. While this is perfectly fine for some people, others prefer the idea of living somewhere that doesn't have strict rules. While these rules are meant to create a positive living environment – and they do – renting your own apartment allows you to hold your own hours and do your own thing.
3. You'll find yourself becoming more responsible. One of the main reasons you should live off-campus, at least for a couple years, is that it offers important real-life experience you can build on as you move into post-grad life.
Between actually having to pay your own rent, and managing all the other expenses that go along with renting your own place, living off-campus is a crash course in responsibility. Things like time management, budgeting and learning to cook will all start to become normal parts of your day-to-day life. Before you know it, you'll be a full-fledged adult.
You'll also learn how to develop a relationship with your landlord, and you'll build a rental history, which will only help you when apartment hunting in the future.
4. You'll have more space. Another major perk of moving out of the dorms is that, for the most part, off-campus apartments have a lot more space. That includes more storage, larger kitchens, a real living room and your own bedroom – unless, of course, you decide to share a room for cheaper rent. Either way, you'll find yourself with more room to spread out, and that's no small thing.
5. You'll have a lot of fun. Finally, and arguably most importantly, students who rent apartments off-campus, especially those who live with their friends, have a lot of fun. You'll get to decorate your own space and entertain friends (yes, even into the wee hours). Plus, simply being able to explore more areas of the city you live in is a perk that can't be quantified.
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