Most of us have lived at home with our parents until at least our senior year of high school. I am a second year student at UC and I still live at home with my parents, but some 60% of UC students are more adventurous than I am and decided to move away from home and live among their peers. Although living on your own can be expensive, it can also be incredibly rewarding and even a smart investment. Those who do put forth the money and move out are forced to choose between on-campus and off-campus housing. If you find yourself unsure of what path to take, considering these pros and cons can help you make the right choice.
The fact that we spend so much money to attend college generally means that we place education as a top priority. Living on campus in a dorm has multiple benefits when considering schoolwork and academic success. For example, in a dorm you are already surrounded by other college students and odds are you may have even been paired with a roommate in the same major. This makes it easy to help each other study and stay on track as you spend more time together. Living off-campus doesn’t generally hurt your academics but you also don’t have the advantage of living with those are studying the same things as you.
There are also dorm rules to consider. Though the RA’s always bring an end to all the awesome parties you manage to throw in your tiny one-room abodes, they also keep your neighbors above and below quiet so you can focus on that calculus homework. In an off-campus house or apartment, there is no one to keep the peace in your house so if your roommates or neighbors are too loud for you to concentrate, you’re out of luck.
Dorms generally have a base fee that includes rent for a year, amenities and a meal plan. According to the University of Cincinnati’s website, the cost for living in a dorm for a year varies from $11,000 to a little over $13,000. The average price for renting a two-bedroom apartment in the university’s area costs around $800 per month. Split between two people and multiplied by twelve months, both people living in the apartment would be paying $4800 dollars a year to live there. Often times, rent for most apartments will cover things like heat and electric but almost never Wi-Fi or laundry. Also, apartments do not come with a meal plan which means a student must budget for groceries. However, unless you pay more than $6,200 a year for groceries, Wi-Fi, laundry, and other living expenses, it is cheaper to rent an apartment than to live in a dorm.
Still, the extra cost of a dorm might be better for students with a heavy workload. Cooking, cleaning, and worrying about monthly rent payments can be stressful and distracting; some may not be ready for this much responsibility as a freshman.
Many students, particularly freshmen, want to enjoy the social aspects of higher education Many students find that the best way to meet new people is to live in a dorm. You are neighbors with hundreds of other students who want to make new friends just as much as you do. An apartment is a good way to become great friends with just one or two people (your roommates). One strategy that many students employ is living in a dorm for the first year and moving off-campus the second year with friends from freshman year. If you really want to completely immerse yourself socially, a dorm is probably your best bet.
About the Author:
Ben has lived in Bright, Indiana his entire life and plans on living there after he graduates.. He is in his second year the University of Cincinnati, and is studying Communications with a minor in International Business. His favorite things include reading, going on vacations with friends, and sitting around a campfire with friends.