Aug. 18, 2021Print | PDF
When it comes to choosing which university to attend, some of the big deciding factors include reputation, academics, overall school culture…and living arrangements. Although not directly tied to academics, finding a place to live that empowers you for success in school (and in life) is not to be undervalued. Depending on your circles, you may already feel like one particular living arrangement is the obvious choice.
But taking time to review the options and weigh them against your own unique priorities for life over the next four to five years is key. What will set you up best to learn and study? Eat and sleep? Stay out of debt? Build or maintain a social life? All of these (and more) are valid considerations and, while you don't have to live in the same place all the way through university, it’s important to feel confident with your first-year choice.
So, let’s take a look at some of the wins of the three main housing options: residence, off-campus housing and home sweet home.
You’re out of the house and on to a new adventure where you (and your roommates) are counting on yourselves to maintain a healthy and livable environment. Plus, you can set your own schedule based on what works well with your classes, group meetings, workouts and social life.
Everyone around you is in a similar stage of life (and maybe even taking the same courses or part of the same clubs!). But now you also share the normalcy of daily routines – eating, sleeping, cleaning, running errands, relaxing, studying…there’s always someone on your floor or in your building that you can “do life” with.
Your dons will make sure there is always another event to look forward to in res, whether it’s a movie/game night, a cooking class or an afternoon exploring the city. Introverts, don’t worry – res is for you, too. It’s totally up to you which events you attend and, if you choose to live in apartment-style housing, you’ll always have your own personal space to relax and recharge.
Living in residence also means buying a meal plan that will cover the majority of your meals – cooked fresh and available all throughout the day. You can always supplement with takeout, snacks and your own homecooked meals if you love being in the kitchen, but a meal plan means you don’t have to spend nearly as much time thinking about recipes, picking up groceries or cooking.
Living on-campus means no car and no commute. Get up, get dressed, brush your teeth (don’t skip that, please), grab a snack for your morning, and off you go – you could be in class in less than 10 minutes!
If you thought res was independent, renting your own place off-campus is going to feel like the ultimate freedom. Set your own schedule, prepare your own food, arrange your own transportation, manage your own social life. This is truly moving out into your own domain with all the responsibilities and freedoms that offers.
In residence, you can choose between dormitory and apartment-style living. At home, you’ll probably keep your same bedroom and living situation. Living off-campus, you get to decide – do you want to live in an apartment? A townhouse? A detached home? Uptown? Downtown? The choice is yours.
Also up to you is who you want to live with (and how many people). Do you already have a friend (or a few) you want to rent with? Are you hoping to make new friends through this process? Or are you looking for somewhere you can live on your own?
If you find a good place and/or a good set of roommates in first year, there’s often the option of maintaining your arrangement for another one, two or three years. As long as your landlord doesn’t have other plans and you can keep up with the rent, your new place could be home for your whole university experience allowing you to settle in and establish a reliable dynamic with your housemates.
“Home sweet home” says it best. With so much change and so many new things you’re experiencing, exploring and growing in, there is something reassuring about coming home to a place you know well and can truly relax in.
Whether you’re living with your parents or with a family friend who is closer to campus, again, coming home to someone you know, are comfortable with and can talk openly with can be very welcome. Plus it makes celebrating birthdays, holidays and accomplishments together much easier.
Even if you do pay rent to the loved one who is sharing their home with you, it’s likely less than you would pay elsewhere. And hey, if meals are thrown in, too, that’s even more to be grateful for (and a few thousand dollars saved – so don’t forget those “thank you’s” and a smile during dish duty).
If you already have a part-time job, a sports league or a volunteer position you’re invested in, living at home can make maintaining those connections and responsibilities much easier. Whether they are funding your education, building up your resume or simply good for your mental health, it’s meaningful to stay engaged in your community, even while exploring new roles and friendships on campus.
At the end of the day, where you live is up to you and what will help you succeed at school and in life. Whatever you decide, we’re here to support you. If you choose to live at home or off campus, get connected with our LOCUS community. If res is your first choice, keep in the loop (and watch for announcements on applying) here.
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