Whether or not you live in campus housing may affect the value of your college experience in many ways. If you live on campus, you will undoubtedly be able to partake in activities with other students during evenings and weekends. Students living off campus usually do not have these same opportunities. For example, if you live on campus, you can hang out with friends, study with your study group and meet on the quad for a meal during evening hours. Many students who live off campus have additional responsibilities, such as jobs and families, that further inhibit their abilities to engage in off-hour collegiate activities. Living on campus keeps you “in the mix,” right in the middle of all the action.
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages to living in student housing is that you have ready access to libraries and research facilities. Off campus students must travel for library and lab time. Living on campus provides you with this benefit which you may find particularly valuable during crunch time, like finals week when, in addition to all of your tests, you have that massive term paper due.
GPA is King
Dorm life can have its drawbacks, too, though. Many students find that their social lives blossom when they live on campus, but sometimes at the detriment of their studies. Whether you live on campus or off site, you must keep in mind that you are in college to learn and to obtain that degree. Also, you must keep up your GPA. This will require that you study sometimes while your friends go out to party and that you will miss some events just to complete your coursework.
The world is very competitive and you just may be assessed on your GPA for years after graduation, so it is not enough just to “get by” while working on your degree. Simply put, you must excel. You must commit to putting forth your best efforts. This means that your priorities MUST be school over social life, no matter where you live or how active your social life may be. Additionally, if you are easily distracted or you find it difficult to focus when there is a lot of activity happening around you, you may want to reconsider on campus student housing. In some dorms, you may find that people are up all night playing video games, but if you’re a gamer, this could mean you’d fit right in. If you have the opportunity, a test stay in student housing will likely provide you with insight into the dorm experience. Each college will be different so an over night stay at any campus you’re considering is a good idea.
Students who live off campus, unless they live with parents or relatives, must deal with additional responsibilities that on campus students can forego. For example, off campus students must rent a space, which usually entails providing a rental history, credit report and supporting information. Off campus housing incurs considerable costs, such as rent, utilities and transportation. If you are not quite ready to assume the responsibilities of renting a space, paying bills, and worrying about things like transportation, your best option is probably campus housing.
In conclusion, where you live during your college years definitely affects your college experience. However, you must decide for yourself if the effects of student housing will be positive or negative for you, your temperament and your personality.