Make the most of your on- or off- campus house

“Going to college directly after high school offers an individual new experiences and opportunities: an increased degree of independence (for those not living with parents and commuting), meeting new people from all over and academic opportunities, to name a few.”

Going to college directly after high school offers an individual new experiences and opportunities: an increased degree of independence (for those not living with parents and commuting), meeting new people from all over and academic opportunities, to name a few.

It’s easy to see why going to college can be one of the major transitional periods in one’s life.

We all choose to experience college in different ways, and our choice of living arrangements can affect those experiences. For many, the question is: Should I live in a dorm or off-campus?

Both options certainly have their perks. In a dorm, it’s much easier to meet new people. However, this can be a double-edged sword.

Random roommates can work out for the better when everyone gets along. But what happens when you get stuck with the smelly weird kid who doesn’t clean up after himself and never leaves the room? Or the one that doesn’t respect the fact that it’s a shared room and constantly has sex with his girlfriend in common areas? That last example may be a bit extreme, but it’s still a
possibility.

Living off-campus also has its benefits. You get to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of living with people you may potentially dislike or don’t know. You don’t have the feeling of someone constantly watching over your shoulder, and you don’t have to worry about privacy. There is an even greater degree of independence as you don’t have to abide by Residence Hall rules, so you don’t have to sneak beer to your room in a backpack (like that tricks the resident assistant anyway).

In a dorm, you have no bills to pay aside from your housing bill, which may be paid for by parents, grants, scholarships and loans. Cable, utilities and Internet are some things that can be enjoyed for free in a dorm that must be paid for in an apartment or house.

However, in terms of costs, living in a house or apartment may still cost less.

Consider housing in the new Exchange Street dorm, which costs approximately $3,650 for a semester. One-bedroom apartments in the University of Akron area range from about $325 to $500 a month, with varying amounts of utilities already paid. If one opts to share a house with, say, two friends, it will generally cost $300 to $350 a month, per person.

If you find a good deal, the total rent for a year in an apartment or your share of a house can be less than or slightly higher than what would be paid for four months in a dorm. Even the more expensive apartments are usually cheaper than dorms if you look at it as year-for-year costs.

This greater degree of independence also comes with greater responsibility. Rent and utilities must be paid on time, by your own efforts. There are also stipulations in lease agreements that must be respected.

One local landlord charges $400 if the tenant fails to give 60 days notice of moving out. Thirty days isn’t good enough; it must be 60. That’s just one example of something to look out for when signing a lease. If you choose to take that option, you need to be responsible about it.

Whatever the choice, living in a dorm or off-campus, be sure to take advantage of all the great opportunities and experiences offered to you.