Living away from home can be quite an experience for a college student. Once your freshman year is over, deciding where to live can be one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make as a college-goer. While some students may choose to continue their on-campus stay, a few others opt for off-campus accommodation for various reasons.
One of the benefits of staying off-campus is that you’ll find many part-time job options, especially if you stay close to the city center. Taking up a part-time job will help you make extra money and will also look good on your resume.
For those of you who planning to look for off-campus housing options, here are a few things to consider:
Budget: Draw up a budget and check for options that will suit your budget. Several returning students opt for off-campus housing because it’s not as expensive as university dorms which include amenities like gym, food, etc. Factor in all additional expenses in your budget to know how much rent you can afford to pay. Check if you can use 529 funds for rent, food, utilities, etc. and know the reimbursement limit. Take all these factors into consideration before looking for off-campus housing options.
Commute: Look for a place that isn’t too far from your campus. Sense commuting involves spending a lot of time, energy, and money and it’s better to find a place that is not too far from the city center. Although it’s easier to find cheap housing away from the city center, you’ll be spending the money you save on rent to commute. Long distance commuting will leave you with less time for studies.
Safety: Look for a place that is located in a good neighborhood. Houses, apartments, and rooms in isolated areas may not be too safe if you’re living by yourself. Don’t rely on the pictures on the internet before finalizing an apartment. Visit the place in person and check if the place is safe. Check with the landlord about the burglar system, CCTV cameras, fire alarm, and other security measures that’ll ensure your safety.
Added expenses: Other than rent, food, and commute, you’ll have to factor in water bill, electricity/gas bill, laundry bill, phone bill, and other miscellaneous expenses. That’s why it’s crucial to draw up a budget before your look for off-campus housing. It’s also beneficial to live with housemates or roommates since it will help you save money.
Housemates: By living with a roommate or a housemate, you can save money on rent and utility bills. You can split the expenses and divide bill payment responsibilities with your housemate. Off-campus housing also comes with additional responsibilities. From taking out the trash to cleaning the washrooms and vacuuming, there’ll be lots of chores that you’ll have to take care of. Having a housemate will take some burden off you. Make sure you find a compatible roommate or housemate to ensure that there won’t be too much conflict.
Once you’ve figured out the off-campus housing option that suits you, check out sites like student.com, amberstudent.com, etc. that will help you find private houses, apartments, smart homes, homestays, or other suitable housing options.