When you go to college, where will you live? On campus in a dorm or off-campus in an apartment? The choice isn’t always up to you as many schools require that you spend at least your freshmen year living on campus or in university-owned housing, but that isn’t always the case. There are many different ways to live off campus freshmen year, depending on where you go to school.
If you are interested in the option of living off campus during your freshmen year, this is the article for you! This article will give you a brief overview of some of the pros and cons of living off campus during your freshmen year of college. We’ve also given you a list of a handful of schools that allow you to choose where you live during your freshmen year. Finally, we’ve finished by talking about our favorite tips and tricks to help you figure out what type of housing is best for you.
Do Colleges Require Freshmen to Live on Campus?
Most colleges across the country require students to live on campus for their first year. Some schools even ask that students live on campus for longer, but living in the dorms during your freshmen year is expected.
There are lots of reasons why schools want students to live on campus during their freshmen year, but some schools don’t have this requirement. Many of these schools that don’t require freshmen to live on campus guarantee housing for all freshmen students, should they want it, but leave the choice up to the student.
Pros of Living Off Campus
Here are a few of the most common reasons why freshmen might opt to live off campus:
More choice in your financial situation
In some areas, colleges are able to charge a lot to live on campus since housing is so challenging to find nearby. If you are able to find a suitable housing option off campus in one of these areas, it will likely be cheaper than the university option, but you will have to put in the effort to find it all by yourself.
Living off campus gives you total independence. Instead of living in a dorm and following the dorm rules and expectations, you will be able to set your own. Of course, you will still have a landlord to report to, but many students find independence helpful if they balance school and work.
Already live nearby
Many universities allow students to live off campus and not in the dorms if they already live in the surrounding area. This is a common way students attending their local university can save money and continue living at home instead of moving across town to the dorms.
Even if the university you are attending requires all freshmen to live in the dorms, there is likely a way to opt-out of that requirement if you can prove residency. Attending a school near where you live is an excellent option for students looking to keep the costs down and still attend university.
Cons of Living Off Campus
Why do freshmen have to live on campus? Well, there are a lot of potential cons of living off campus. Here are just a few:
Harder to connect with other students
This is the main reason that most colleges don’t allow students to live off campus during their freshman year. Colleges want students to connect with other students and form a close-knit community. Not only will this improve the mental health of their students, but it will also give the university a higher retention rate of students, both of which are essential things for a college to consider.
Farther from resources on campus
Living off campus means you are farther away from everything happening on campus. This means that you are less likely to be involved in on-campus clubs and activities. You are also less likely to take advantage of resources that may be available primarily in the dorms on campus.
Minimal support from the university
The university is unable to support you or help you out if something goes wrong. For example, if something happens in a university dorm and you cannot get to class on time, the university may take some responsibility. If you live off campus, the university will be unable to help you with any issues you might come across. This can be pretty jarring, especially if this is your first time living away from home.
7 Schools That Let You Live Off-Campus as a Freshman
While there are lots of colleges that require you to live on campus, there are some schools that will let you live off campus, even as a freshman. Here are some, but not all, of the colleges that don’t require you to live on campus during your freshmen year:
NYU, as with a handful of other urban universities, simply does not own the amount of housing needed in order to be able to require students to live on campus. NYU is an open-concept campus, meaning that the campus is open to and interspersed with the city around it, making having dorms on campus challenging. For these reasons, NYU does not require students to live on campus, although housing is guaranteed for all four years if you want it.
2. Purdue University
Unlike NYU, Purdue University is located in a great place to live off campus. Most students choose to live on campus during their freshman year, but it is not required. As the number of students attending has grown, Purdue no longer has enough housing to house the entire incoming class. They can guarantee housing for all students who commit to attending by the beginning of May, but housing is only available first-come, first-serve after that.
3. University of California, Davis
UC Davis guarantees housing for all incoming freshmen during their fall quarter but not past that. It is up to the students if they would like to live on or off campus, even for their first quarter. The university does have an excellent housing office that will help students find good off-campus housing options, making a living off-campus a little easier than at some other schools.
4. Texas A&M University
Unless you join the Corps of Cadets leadership program at Texas A&M, you will not be required to live on campus. On-campus housing is given out to freshmen in a first-come, first-served system. Unfortunately, the university doesn’t have enough housing to meet the on-campus housing interest, but they will support you and help you find a suitable off-campus option.
5. Florida State University
Although students are encouraged to live on campus during their freshmen year at Florida State University, they are not required to. The university leaves the choice up to the students, but it does have housing should students want to live on campus instead of off campus.
6. Fordham University
Located in the Bronx in New York City, Fordham is another urban college campus similar to NYU. The university will guarantee housing is available for students for all four years, but students are not required to live in university-owned housing. Even during a student’s freshmen year, it is up to them where they live.
7. University of Wisconsin – Madison
Although only about 10% of each freshmen class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, choose to live off campus, it is always an option. The university recommends that students live on campus but allows them to decide where to live.
How to Choose Where to Live During College: 3 Tips
Choosing where to live during your freshmen year of college can seem overwhelming, especially if your college offers you the choice to either live on campus or off campus. Here are our top tips to help you decide where to live during college:
1. Think about the cost
The cost of your living situation is usually, but not always, the most significant factor when students are deciding where to live. You will need to find the answers to the following questions before you even start looking at places to live:
- How will my housing be paid for? By me? By someone else? Through financial aid or support of some kind?
- How much money will I have to spend on housing alone?
Figuring out your financials is the first thing you should be doing when thinking about where you want to live during college. Once you have a good grasp on your financial information, you can start looking at what options you have access to regarding housing. You will now have the information you need to determine what housing options that are open to you are within your budget.
2. What do you value most?
Do you value independence, or do you love community? Thinking about what you want out of a living situation and how these will align with your personal values is a significant second step. Make sure you don’t skip step one, though, since it is essential that you can actually afford the places you are looking at.
3. What choice will support your academics more?
Will living off campus allow you more room to spread out and study? Will living off campus take you away from resources like the library? Remember that regardless of your college dreams, attending college is ultimately about getting a good education. In order to get a good education, you must pick the housing option that will support you most effectively.
Wrapping Things Up: 7 Schools that Give Freshman the Choice to Live Off-Campus
Figuring out housing can be stressful, but many ways can help mitigate that stress. Many of the schools discussed in this article have exceptional programs to help you find housing, either on or off campus. Utilizing these housing programs will help you find the best housing situation for you and help minimize the stress and chaos that can come with housing.
Although there are lots of reasons why you might want to live on campus, there are an equal number of reasons why you might want to live off campus. Make sure you take the time to figure out which option is best for you!
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