Step 3 – Apply For College – Apply for College Housing

Step 3 – Apply for College Housing

Some colleges require certain students (like Freshmen and Sophomores) to live on campus. If you’re going to one of these colleges, you need to get your housing application in ASAP. The best housing fills up fast, and trust us, you want the best housing you can get.

Even if you aren’t required to live on campus, but you decide to check out dorm life, you still need to apply for housing, and it is still a good idea to do it early.

Living on campus will broaden your college experience and provide you with opportunities to make new friends and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Typical Dorm Room Features

  • Computer Labs
  • Window Blinds
  • Elevators
  • Local Telephone Services with Call Waiting
  • Security Doors
  • Handicap Accessible
  • Kitchens
  • Vending Machines
  • Wireless Internet Access
  • Cable TV, 50+ Channels
  • Unlimited-Access Commercial-Sized Washers and Dryers
  • Ethernet Access

Typical On-Campus Services

  • Post Office
  • Copy Center
  • Fitness Center
  • Laundry
  • Health Center
  • Writing Lab
  • Food Court
  • Library

Living On Campus

Typical Dorm Rooms:

(Need a average dorm room layout graphic here)
Most dorm housing consists of either a room off a hallway, or a suite with several bedrooms and a living room. In most cases, you’ll be sharing a bathroom with other students. The bathrooms may be single-sex or coed.

Singles

It’s pretty rare to get a room by yourself as a first-year student. Having a single has its obvious perks, but there are a few negatives. Usually, single rooms cost more. And you might miss the companionship of a roommate, especially when you first arrive on campus.

Doubles

A double — sharing a bedroom with one other person — is by far the most common setup at most colleges. You and your roommate can decide how to set up the room. Rooms with bunk beds may give you some extra space.

Suites

This is a nice option if you can get it. Suites usually consist of a couple of bedrooms and some kind of shared living space. For instance, a quad (four people) might be made up of two double bedrooms and one common room. You get the best of both worlds with this option; you can go into your bedroom to sleep while your roommate studies or talks on the phone in the common room.

The dorms can help jump-start your social life, ease the transition to life on your own and introduce you to a diverse group of people. Although there are some drawbacks — sharing a bathroom, coordinating schedules — most students feel that the rewards outweigh the frustrations.

Living Off Campus: Pros and Cons

The first thing to do before deciding to live off campus is to consider how you live and study. Apartment or house living involves some trade-offs. For example, you can save money on housing by sharing an apartment, but you may need to spend money on commuting to campus. Here are some things to consider.

Pros

  • Living off campus can be cheaper than living in university housing, depending on circumstances.
  • You’ll probably have more independence, freedom, privacy and space.
  • Private apartments are usually quieter and have fewer distractions than dorms, which makes them better for studying.
  • Having a rental history makes it easier to get a place to live after you graduate.
  • You can make your own meals.
  • There are probably fewer people sharing the bathroom. You may even have your own private bathroom.

Cons

  • Living off campus can actually be more expensive. You’ll probably have to pay a security deposit and the first and last month’s rent, as well as utilities. Additional costs may include furniture, furnishings, appliances, cleaning supplies, groceries and transportation.
  • You need to arrange your own Internet and cable TV connections.
  • You have more chores: renters usually spend more time grocery shopping, preparing meals, cleaning and commuting than dorm dwellers.
  • If you have one or more housemates, you have to negotiate agreements on household concerns such as privacy, sharing housework, and dividing utility bills and rent.
  • You may be more isolated from campus and other students.
  • You have more responsibilities and liabilities.
  • For year-long leases, you may need to find someone to sublet your place during the summer.

Think about what’s important to you and put together your own pros and cons list. You might also want to do a side-by-side comparison of all the expenses involved in living on campus versus living off campus.

If you do decide to live off campus, see if your college has an off-campus housing office that can advise you on where to search and what you should know about signing a lease.