Living off-campus. Pros and cons.
Most students decide to stay off-campus after their first year of college while others choose to stay off campus right from the very start of their campus life. While staying off campus is generally cheaper than staying on campus, some other factors should be considered i.e. proximity to the school, means of commuting to college, rental charges if the student decide to rent a house, security and all the other bills the student will be required to take care of.
Staying off campus comes with a variety of options from which a student could choose from, depending on their choice of residence the student may enjoy certain privileges and suffer through some of the challenges. Some of the options a student may consider are:
· Staying with their family at home. If the campus is really close to your home then this option may actually be really good for you economically and socially. Some of the benefits of this option are:
1) Relief from some expenses. While staying at home or at a family member you obviously don’t have to pay the bills or cater for any of the expenses unless you are working and you decide to or are asked to.
2) Privacy and security. Unlike in a dorm room where you have to share your space and some resources, here you most certainly enjoy privacy unconditionally depending on your living standards. Also, no place is safer than home so if you are really cautious about your security then staying at home most certainly works for you.
3) Familiar surroundings. On campus roommates are randomly allocated therefore you don’t get to choose who you stay with therefore staying at home lowers your chances of staying with strangers. Furthermore, you are already adapted to staying at home so if you suffer from cases of anxiety and/or you are not the most outgoing person there is, you might just not have to go through the hustle of adjusting to the new environment.
4) Space. While the dorm rooms at campus could be really small and congested, at home you will enjoy plenty of space, besides some of us would prefer studying alone in the comfort of a study room to studying in a fully packed library.
5) Freedom. While staying with parents you enjoy freedom to some extent whereby you go out at leisure when you don’t have classes. Depending on your guardians, you might also attend late night parties or go to sleep overs among other things you would like to do.
· Renting alone. If you are ready to experience the whole adulthood responsibility then maybe you should go house hunting. Put into consideration your security, budget and legitimacy of the house before settling for it. Some of the benefits of renting alone are:
1) Cost effectivity. Thought it might appear a little too expensive to rent alone, in comparison to staying in school it is relatively cheaper this is because unlike in school where the charges are fixed you could always adjust your budget to suit your ability.
2) Sense of responsibility. If you are looking for absolute freedom then you should probably rent alone because you have the advantage of choosing everything to do with your time away from college. Besides being responsible for your bills enables you to learn how to manage your own money. You are also in a position to take up a part time job conveniently.
3) Privacy and independence. You live alone so you definitely have your personal space to yourself. Apart from being free to study alone or enjoy a movie, you could always invite your friends over either to study or for any other reason.
4) You also have the advantage of staying over during the holidays if you do not want to travel home when schools are closed.
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· Renting with roommates. If you are afraid of being “lonely” or not being able to cater for the housing costs by yourself, you could always find yourself a roommate. You can agree to share costs and set some rules for your own conveniences. Rather than just settling for a random roommate it is advisable to take time to choose a compatible roommate, mostly a like-minded person to avoid crossing paths later on. The benefits of this arrangement are similar to those of renting alone with the added benefit of lower costs and not being too lonely. Furthermore if staying with a friend you always have each others back and develop a sense of responsibility for each other and a relationship founded by living together could always develop to a great opportunity later on.
· Exchanging services for rent. Some of the available job opportunities that could offer such an advantage are being a nanny or being a personal assistant. As long as the job does not clash with your school program and it is manageable with your study schedule then you can comfortably go for it. Here you don’t get to pay the rent and most of the time all your bills are catered for in exchange for your services and depending on your employer you could get some extra money in your pocket! In this case however you only get to choose your employer but not where to stay and you might also be faced with some restrictions.
Though staying off campus sounds like the best option to take, it also has it’s demerits some of which are :
1) Housing costs. If you are renting alone or with a roommate or staying at a fraternity in addition to the house rent you might have to incur for the security charges, rent increases, house insurance, parking fee, amenities fee, yard maintenance and utilities such as electricity, water, gas, cable and internet.
2) Time might be a limiting factor. You might be staying some distance from the school so you might be required to leave home really early to avoid running late. Besides depending on how busy your road to school is, traffic may also be a reason to leave home early. Furthermore you might want to arrive early to park at your favorite spot!
3) Commuting costs. If using your own car you might have to include fuel costs along with other charges required for car maintenance and depending on the institution you might be required to pay a parking fee. If using public means you also have to account for , the transportation charges because come on, student or not transport is never free.
4) Missing out on the campus experience. Since you are away from school most of the time you don’t get to know a lot of people or what is going on in school. You might also not enjoy the amenities at the school. If you are not willing to forgo the whole “ being in campus experience” then this option will not work for you.
5) Holiday costs. While you are on a long holiday break and you decide to travel home you will obviously have to incur for the charges even though you are not there to maintain your leasehold.
6) While exchanging services for rent you might have to adjust to living under some rules that may seem extreme depending on your employer.