Housing looks different at every university. Meal plans, dorm layouts, and other factors in this blog are not specific to UF Housing. For more information on housing at UF, visit https://www.housing.ufl.edu/.
As college admissions decisions from all over the country start rolling in, students have many questions they must answer - one of which is, should I live on or off campus?
Many universities require students to live on campus during their first year as this can simplify your transition to college and provide many resources while you get used to college life. However, there are upsides to living off campus as well. Read on for a quick pro/con list for both options.
Living on campus benefits students because of the ease that comes with proximity. Classes, teachers, fellow students, on-campus activities and amenities are just a few steps away. This saves time and money on transportation, because you can just hop out of bed and walk to your 8 a.m. class instead of stressing over bus routes. Having a car is not a necessity. Most on-campus housing also includes a meal plan, which is beneficial for students who are still getting used to life away from home. Students also enjoy the safety provided by campus security. They get to live in the hub of campus life and be energized by school spirit, student activities and other students looking to make friends.
Living on campus is not like living at home and can take some getting used to! From roommates to communal bathrooms (though dorm layouts vary by building), lots of sharing will be involved. Living on campus tends to keep a student in a “college bubble,” though this is not necessarily a bad thing for a student’s first year. Another thing to keep in mind is cost. On-campus housing, while generally all-inclusive, can be expensive.
Some students prefer off-campus housing because it offers more space than on-campus housing. Students enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle to find rest in their own home. Often, students have more flexibility to get their own room or enjoy a larger kitchen space, as well as the school-life balance and privacy that come with living off campus. Many students feel that they are able get involved more broadly in the community when they live off campus. There are also more housing options for students to choose from. They can pick how close to campus they want to be, what type of housing they want, which amenities they value most, and how much money they want to put forth to get these things.
The downside of living off campus is that students have more responsibility. They have to do their own dishes, figure out their own food, clean and care for their homes. They must work with their apartment building or landlords to make sure they are making their bill deadlines. They also need to figure out how they are going to get to campus and account for the expense of transportation and the longer commute time it will take to get to classes. Because of the added effort it will take for students to get to campus, some students can become less motivated to spend time on campus and feel isolated or disconnected. Students who move off-campus need to be ready to take on new responsibilities while keeping up with their academics.
Looking at budget and personal preferences, we find most students evaluate choices based on eight things:
- Work & social commitments
- Security & medical care
As you start to make the exciting decisions about where you will attend college and where you will live, consider each of these points and how important it is to you. We wish you the best as you consider all of your options!