The decision to move off campus may seem like an easy decision (who wouldn’t want to live off campus?) but there are hidden pros and cons to both living on and off campus. While it gives you a real taste of freedom, it also makes you dive headfirst into the world of adulthood.
The “room and board” portion of tuition is always expensive. You may think that living off campus will solve all of your problems and save you money. But before you rush into signing a lease, remember that having your own apartment also means having to buy furniture (beds are expensive!). Worst of all, your landlord probably won’t accept your rent in student loans. It may end up costing you more than you realize.
The worst part about living on campus for me was having a restriction on the number of friends I could have over. NYU requires all friends to be signed in and out every time you leave and enter the building (which can get tricky coming home at 4AM from a party…). Living off campus, I don’t have to worry about any of that! But it also means that if we’re too loud, the worst that can happen is NOT just an RA knocking on my door. Instead, it will be the police issuing me a noise complaint.
A bad landlord will send you crying back into the arms of the housing department. You won’t be able to call the front desk when your toilet breaks and no one will be there to fix it within an hour. You might be able to reach your landlord on the weekends, but probably not. This gets incredibly frustrating.
Do you know who to call to set up the power in your apartment? How about the gas and heat? Do you know which Internet service providers will come to your building? If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions before you move into your own apartment, do not move into your own apartment. Off campus, the school won’t be footing the bill for you to have water, electricity, Internet and heat. Worst of all, you can’t use any of the above as freely as you want or you’ll be paying (a lot!) for it.
Choosing Who to Live With
It’s true what they say—you don’t really know a person until you move in with them. Living together can make or break friendships. If you like to keep everything clean and don’t realize your best friend/new roommate couldn’t care less about leaving dishes in the sink for a week, you’re going to have major problems.
Living off campus is great, but NOT until you’re ready for it! Don’t rush into the decision because it seems like the “cool” thing to do. Hang out in the dorms for as long as you want, it’s probably the nicest place you’ll be able to afford for a while.