Should I live on campus or off campus next year? That is the question.

It’s that time of the year already! Whether you’re a freshman or a returning student, it feels like we just got back on campus. Activities are in full swing and classes are charging ahead. However, it is time to decide where you are going to live next year.

When deciding whether to live on or off campus, there are a few key factors you will want to consider: financial, social, space and responsibilities.

Finances

You’re a college student. I get it, financials are a big source of worry, but everyone is in the same boat. Here are some things to think about when it comes to finances:

On campus: Your housing and meal plan are paid together (per semester). For a traditional, double room on main campus, with a meal plan of 14 meals per week, the average charge would be about $694 per month. For a full list of on-campus room rates and meal plan rates, check out the Housing & Meals website.

Off campus: You will pay monthly rent payments. In addition, you will need to pay for utilities such as heat, electric, laundry and cable/Wi-Fi. Depending on the distance of your housing from campus, you may also need to factor in the cost of transportation.

If you are unsure about how to budget off-campus living expenses, WSU offers many resources such as the CashCourse that can help you.

Social

Another important area to consider is the social aspect of your living environment. There are benefits of living both on campus and off campus to consider.

On campus: Being on campus means you are right in the middle of campus life, close to events and activities and surrounded by other students.

Off campus: Living off campus separates home and school, giving you a home away from home. However, this also separates you from campus life when you are at your off-campus home. Living off campus can make it harder to stay informed and involved.

Space

In college, having your own space is essential to your comfort and success. Living on campus offers you different options than the options living off campus might.

On campus: On campus, you can choose the option to have your own room, live with multiple roommates, or just one. While residence halls may not offer as much space as your room at home, there are other areas available to students such as study rooms or floor lounges.

Off campus: Off campus, you may need to share a room with someone. Leases are binding and hard to get out of, so make sure you choose your roommates wisely!

Responsibilities

With being a college student comes a new set of responsibilities you may not have experienced before. Where you choose to live will be a good test of how you are adjusting to your newly appointed responsibilities.

On campus: With housing, there are generally fewer responsibilities you personally need to attend to. You are only responsible for keeping your individual room clean, and most often bathrooms and lounges/shared spaces are kept up by staff. There are no monthly bills to be paid. However, when living on campus, you need to abide by the rules of your residence hall set by your RA and hall staff (such as quiet hours).

Off campus: Responsibilities that accompany off-campus housing include meals, monthly payments (rent and potential utilities), transportation and cleaning/upkeep. With living off campus, you generally have more freedom because you only answer to the landlord.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you live off campus and decide to find a subleaser, you are still legally responsible if the subleaser falls behind on their rent. Just like it is important to choose your roommate wisely, it is also important to choose your subleaser wisely.

So, whether you choose to live on campus or off campus next year, be sure to do your research!

This is a decision that can only be made with an understanding of the pros and cons of both options.

Create a checklist of everything you need for your housing situation and see which is the best fit for you. Good luck!

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Janae Mann

Janae is majoring in Marketing with a minor in Creative Writing. She is from Rosemount, MN and her hobbies include dance/choreography, reading and blogging.

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