Benefits of Living On Your Own in College

You’re finally out on your own and you can’t wait to spread your wings. College is a wonderful experience that can set you up for success later in life, but one of the biggest drawbacks is the price tag. Yes, student loans help, but ask yourself if living in the dorm is worth it to you. Sometimes the dorm experience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Before you select the perfect dorm for you, think about what might be the perfect apartment for you.

Off-Campus Pros:

  1. Freedom: When you live off campus, there’s no need to worry about nonsense dorm rules and RA’s breathing down your neck. You have the freedom to do as you please. You can have people over of any gender at any time, you can throw parties, and host dinners. There’s more freedom in your decorating choices as well. Dorms usually are limited when it comes to what’s allowed on the walls and around the room. Typically you aren’t allowed to have candles, shelving, or any permanent artwork hanging in dorms. When you live off campus in an apartment, you have the freedom to let your design skills go to work.
  2. Food: The cafeteria food can be alright, but you don’t get to control what’s in it or how it’s made. Not to mention, meal plans can be expensive! If you’re looking to keep a closer count on how things are prepared, then having control of your own kitchen is the way to go. You get to test out your culinary skills and learn new recipes. You are able to prep and plan for meals for the week, which can save major time. Cooking on your own can also take up a huge chunk of time, so if that’s not allowed in your schedule, then pre-made meals from the school cafeteria might be the way to go.
  3. Responsibilities: When you live off campus, you get a crash course in how to manage daily expenses like rent and utilities. This can help you later in life to know what bills need to be paid when, and about how much they cost. You will know how to operate the utilities and have more of an interest in the community that you are living in. You’ll see direct reflections of the political decisions made in your town, making you a more informed citizen. It’s better to learn how to manage your finances during your college years, rather than waiting to figure it out later in life. Living in a dorm comes with less responsibilities because many custodial duties are handled by the school maintenance.
  4. Peace and Quiet: College kids generally aren’t the best neighbors, and when you live in a dorm surrounded by hundreds, things can get noisy. It’s almost impossible to find a place to do your homework and study when there’s constantly something going on. When you get out of the dorm atmosphere, you’ll have more quiet time so you can focus and get your work done with speed. You’ll also retain more information and sleep more soundly. It’s less likely that you’ll have the distraction of college kids running through the halls. That being said, renting an apartment off-campus comes with its own risks, too.
  5. Cost of Living: Even though you don’t pay a rent check each month to the school for your room, that doesn’t mean your room and board is cheap. Most of the time, that is the major expense to students. Before you write a check out for your tuition, get an itemized breakdown of exactly what you are paying for. You’ll be able to see what cost is going into the room and board. Most of the time it’s either the same, or cheaper to rent off campus. There are excellent options for off campus living that are near the school that you are attending. You can have the freedom to control who your roommate is, or you can choose to live on your own.
  6. More Space: Not only could you spend less, but you will also get more space for the money that you do spend. On average, dorms are a few square feet with just enough room for a bed and a desk. For the same price, you could get an entire apartment. You might sacrifice a little in proximity to the classroom, but overall you’ll get more for your money.

You don’t have to live on campus the entire time that you attend college. Think about what makes the most sense financially to you. Weigh out your pros and cons and make the best decision for you.

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