It seems like all colleges want their first-year students to live on campus, but between room and board, living in the dorms typically costs around $11,000. That’s a hefty price tag! Even still, students and alumni alike agree that living on campus is worth the cost, but how exactly?
At Collegeboxes, we love the community that college campuses create, but we know it’s not for everyone. Still trying to figure out if dorm life is for you? Here’s a guide to help you make the decision.
Why Does My University Want Me to Live on Campus?
It can seem like colleges are really pushy when it comes to getting students to live on campus. But it’s not without reason! Living on campus comes with plenty of benefits. Let’s unpack a few:
Pros of Dorming
Proximity to Campus Resources: When you live in the dorms, you’ll be a short walk from most of the campus. This means that you’re close to the library, your classes, and the amenities your school provides. This is a huge lifesaver when you’re in need of a printer, Wi-Fi, the gym, or tutoring.
When you live on campus, you’ll be assigned an RA, or residential advisor. This is an older student that lives on your floor and is there to help you cope with stress, settle disputes, and get additional support.
Making Connections: Living on campus is a great way to get to know other students and make friends. If you choose to dorm, you’ll be surrounded by roommates and other students on your floor. While it may feel awkward at first, it really does begin to feel like a family after a while!
Forget About Commuting: Having a car is nice, but not necessary when you’re living in the dorms. This will save you time, money, and gas. Trying to get around campus quickly? Try investing in a bike!
Never Miss a Meal: When you live on campus, you’ll likely have to pay for a meal plan. This will allow you to eat multiple meals from various dining halls on campus. And the food isn’t half bad! You can expect pretty typical meals at these dining halls, like French fries, burgers, salads, and even vegetarian and vegan options.
Independence with a Safety Net: Living in the dorms allows students to feel independent without the added stress! When you’re moving away from home for the first time, it can be a huge adjustment. But when you live in the dorms, you won’t have to worry about things like paying bills or going grocery shopping.
Prioritized Safety: College campuses have security officers and well-lit walkways, along with shuttles that can carry you across campus in the evening. While it’s better to travel in groups, many college campuses are safe enough where you can walk alone without having to look over your shoulder.
There are also blue light systems, which are pillars that line popular walkways on campus. If you ever feel in danger while on campus, head over to one of these pillars and press the button to alert security and flag them to your location.
Cons of Dorming
Lack of Privacy: We’re all painfully aware that when you live in the dorms, you’re saying goodbye to most of your privacy. Most students living on campus will share a room with at least one other roommate, and a bathroom with a few people or even the entire floor. This can be a huge culture shock to some students, so mentally prepare yourself before moving in.
Price: Paying to live on campus is a big chunk of change upfront (about $10,000+), which is what scares most people off initially. But it’s a good price compared to living off campus (we’ll cover that later).
Can I Still Live Off Campus?
Of course! While living on campus is convenient, it’s not the best choice for everyone. In fact, living off campus comes with plenty of benefits of its own:
Pros of Living Off Campus
Privacy: Even if you’re renting an apartment with some roommates, you’ll have more privacy than you would on campus. If you’re the type of person that’s more of a lone wolf, this might be a better option for you.
True Independence: While living in the dorms does allow you to experience some independence, you’re still beholden to the rules of your college campus. Want to live life on your own terms? Then you might prefer finding a place near campus.
(Sometimes) More Affordable: Depending on where you’re staying, living off campus can be less expensive. Like if you’re living with your parents, for example. But if you rent your own place without roommates, you’ll probably be paying more to live off campus.
Moving Logistics: Hey, it can be a headache to pack up and head home after a long year of school. Many students live off campus to avoid the hassle of short-term housing. (But if you sign up for Collegeboxes, you won’t have to worry about the logistics of moving!)
Cons of Living Off Campus
Out of the Loop: When you commute to campus, it can be a total headache to drive back and forth multiple times a day. That means it can make it harder for students to participate in clubs, events, or seek out academic assistance.
Parking: Did you know that you have to pay for parking on a college campus? In fact, parking passes can run you a few hundred dollars. And on top of that, it feels like there’s never an open space!
It Could Be More Expensive: Many students choose to live off campus in order to save money. If you want to live independently, it may cost you more than living in the dorms. The typical rent payment across the United States is about $1,500, but add on utilities, gas, and groceries, you’re looking at above $2,000 a month. This means you could be paying anywhere from $13,000 to $20,000 per year for housing. (Remember, dorming usually only costs about $10,000 per year!)
How To Decide Which is Best for You
So, what’s the right answer here? Basically, it’s up to you! If you’re the type of person that loves to make friends and participate in activities, you’ll love the energy on campus. If you’re just looking for some free internet and the ability to wake up 15 minutes before class, dorming may be the most convenient option for you! But if you value independence and privacy, you may want to find something off campus. Either way, weigh your options carefully before making a commitment.
No matter where you plan to move, Collegeboxes is here to help. All you have to do is pack up your belongings, and Collegeboxes can get them where they need to go. We can also store your items for as long as you need for a competitive price. When it comes to college moving, we’re here to make it easy.
Ready to get moving?