For many college students, the moment they enter college is like a new found freedom.
Living in a dormitory, you’re away from the responsibilities and regulations your parents casted upon you. Only now, you may have found yourself with a whole new set of responsibilities and regulations except instead of your parents laying down the law, the Resident Assistant (RA) of your building is.
Some dormitories may not be co-ed; some may even have a curfew, but whatever the reason, you are tired of living on campus and you want out. However, jumping into something, like an apartment lease, is something you may want to pause and think about.
Consider wisely the pros and cons that comes with living off campus.
1. Show me the money!
You may have heard that it’s cheaper living off campus than on, however, this all depends on how you budget your lifestyle.
Residential life will most likely require you to pay your tuition (which includes housing) in full. Unlike paying rent which must be paid monthly.
Paying a lump sum may be difficult for some students and a monthly check is something much more doable.
If you’re moving off campus, try moving into an apartment or house that is college friendly, meaning that if you’re unable to pay rent on time you’re landlord may cut you some slack.
2. I’m free!
As mentioned previously, living on campus comes with plenty of rules. However, living off campus comes with it’s rules as well.
Living off campus is not as strict as living on campus, but some landlords have rules of their own, especially for college students.
Many landlords require to not have any pets. They also may be strict with the number of people living in your house. You may not be allowed to have parties or even small get-togethers. Who knows? Some landlords live directly on the property (or very close) and may be checking up on you all the time.
However, as a typical rule, as long as you stay on your landlords good side, chances are, he or she wont be giving you a ton of rules to follow or messing with you too much.
3. I finally have my own space!
Thinking about finally getting your own room or your own apartment? It’s going to cost you, especially if you’re thinking about getting your own place.
Again, make sure you budget your lifestyle accordingly. You don’t want to end up getting your own apartment and then find yourself receiving eviction letters later down the road.
Same thing with your own room. If you’re tired of sharing a room, figure out how you plan on paying for it before you sign a lease.
4. Preparation for the “real world.”
Moving off campus and into an apartment or house is great preparation for what people like to call the “real world.”
There are many housing complexes that provide housing exclusively to college students. Because these places know you’re a college student, they usually require a co-signer to sign off on your lease contract.
This is typically a parent or a guardian who pays your rent when you’re not able to. I don’t suggest that you depend on your co-signer to pay your rent unless you absolutely need them too.
Take this time of your life to learn how to budget and how to really be responsible for your own living situations.
And remember, don’t ever sign a lease if you’re skeptical or don’t understand the contract; always ask for a copy of the lease for your own records or for your parents to look over.