Living on vs. off campus

College is just a short few months away. There is just one more decision left to make: to live on or off campus. There are many advantages and disadvantages to living both on and off campus.

When deciding on dorming or getting an apartment off campus, the easiest and most efficient way to make a decision is to make a pros and cons list.

Not all of these points will matter to you but depending on what’s most important, here are some things to help start your list.

On-campus (dorming)


  • Making friends is easier in dorm life. Many schools enforce and open door policy during the first week of school so everyone on the floor can get to know one another.

  • Living in the dormitory buildings tends to be much closer than an off campus apartment. Traveling to class would take much less time than people who lived off campus.

  • Many schools have dorm sponsored activities to promote socializing and friend making. It sounds corny but the events are always fun.

  • The dorms around campus typically have security. Within the building, there is a residential assistant (RA) and potentially a security guard, that is able to keep an ear and eye out for crime.


  • Sharing close quarters can be stressful at times, especially if it is with strangers.

  • Each floor in a dorm building has a residential assistant (RA) who enforces rules such as quiet hours. This gives people much less freedom.

  • Living on campus causes meal times revolve around the dining halls. Meaning eating whenever you get hungry sometimes is not always an option.

  • What you bring to college relies on how much space is available. Storage space can be an issue when living in a dorm.

  • Parking on campus is always something to consider. Parking might be tough if there aren’t assigned spots. If you don’t have a car, parking for dorm living might not be a problem.

Off-campus (apartments)


  • It allows for much more freedom. You can live on your own schedule including when bedtime and meal times are.

  • Living off campus provides a kitchen, allowing students to avoid terrible cafeteria food.

  • Privacy is much easier to come by when living off campus. It is more likely to have a private bedroom and bathroom with common rooms to share with roommates of choice.

  • Living off campus typically warrants for personalization of your space. You are able to paint the walls, hang pictures on the walls, and even have a pet if you please!


  • Apartments are not free, meaning there are rent, utilities, cable, Internet and grocery shopping bills that must be paid each month.

  • Not many college kids are willing to clean. In an apartment there are not custodial workers there to clean up messes. Therefore, you must clean up after yourself.

  • Apartments are usually further from campus than the dorm buildings. This may cause students to tend to skip class more often because they do not feel like traveling. It may also make having a social life a bit harder.

  • In a student-based community, all students are on the same vacation schedule. This being true gives criminals easier access to the homes and apartments in the area.

Both options have their pros and their cons. However, the pros and cons may differ from student to student. Depending on the person, one option may suit someone better than the other.

Dorm life is not meant for everyone just as living alone or with roommates in an apartment is not for everyone. When it comes to deciding between the two, take into consideration every aspect and select the most beneficial option.

Some universities require living in a dorm the first semester of college or even for the first year. If this pertains to you, consider making a pros and cons list when you plan to make the jump to off campus living.

Once you decide to move off campus, you may want to live alone since you have already experienced living with roommates.

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