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Best University/College Housing Options

Updated on September 28, 2012


For many young people, attending post secondary education means leaving home for the first time. Suddenly, they are on their own - no curfew, no one telling them what to do, no one picking up behind them.

For students this is exciting, an opportunity to escape the confines of the parents. For parents this is a stressful time. Can they handle day-to-day living? How will they respond to peer pressure? Who will they turn to for help?

Many of the issues of living away from home need to be addressed before selecting where the student is going to live. Whether living in a dorm or in an apartment, house, or condo, they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Dorm Living

Advantages of Dorm Living:


  • Cost - usually will be cheaper rent than anywhere else
  • Community - probably share a room and there will be other people around
  • Location - within walking distance of the school
  • Basic necessities are usually provided

Disadvantages of Dorm Living:


  • Noise - lots of people means more noise
  • Parties - social gatherings whether planned or not, often get loud
  • Peer pressure - people will be after you to do things (attend parties, etc.)
  • Distractions - there will always be a distraction close at hand

Apartment, House, Condo Living - Independent Living

Advantages of Independent Living:


  • Control - you have control over who you choose to live with if you have a roommate
  • Quiet - your home is only as loud as you choose to make it
  • Minimal distractions - you are in your own setting without interruptions from people around you
  • You have your home to yourself, no sharing bathrooms, common rooms or kitchens

Disadvantages of Independent Living:


  • Cost - often more expensive
  • Travel - probably will have to travel to the school either walking, bus or car
  • Up keep - if you own it you will have to maintain it but if renting the landlord will look after it
  • Neighbors - your neighbors are probably not part of the college or university scene and may not appreciate it if you have lots of traffic and friends at your place


As you can see there are some clear advantages and disadvantages for both living in a dorm or on your own. In the end it will boil down to the individual student.

A student serious about their studies may want the solitude and control that an off campus accommodation can provide. Although the cost of living off campus may be higher you could always rent a room out to another student with comparable goals.

Life in a dorm may be the thing for most people. You will interact with more people and probably find a group of like-minded students that will help you stay focused and provide moral support when you are down.

In the end it all boils down to finances and personal confidence. If the student can afford to live on their own and are confident in their abilities then they will thrive in a house, apartment or condo.

If the course is shorter, finances or confidence is an issue or if the student just enjoys being with other people, then dorm life may be the better option.

There is no right or wrong - better or worse option. It is all about the student and what environment he or she can thrive best in.

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    • Man from Modesto profile image

      Man from Modesto 6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      Sites like rent.com allow you to seek a roommate. A place off campus can be much cheaper. The kids in the dorms are often the nerds- dormed by mama's decision, not their own.

      Off-campus is the way to go. Find some housemates and make it happen, or find an existing situation with an opening. There are usually many.

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