Living on campus is an option that many students take advantage of at least once during their college career. First, let’s talk about some options that you may have while living on campus.
There’s the traditional dorm room of course, which is one room that you would usually share with one roommate (although some colleges allow you to have a single room if you pay more). Traditional rooms generally have a twin-size bed, a desk, a closet, and a dresser for each roommate. Some traditional rooms have in-room sinks or small attached bathrooms, but many opt to just have communal bathrooms for the floor.
Suite-style and apartment-style dorms are becoming more popular on college campuses. If you choose either of those options you will still have 1-3 roommates, but you will likely have your own room. You will also likely have a kitchen or kitchenette, a bathroom, and a small communal living area in your apartment or suite. Let’s discuss some of the features of living on campus.
For the most part, living on campus is the most convenient when it comes to getting to your classes quickly. Depending on the size of your campus, it will generally take only 5-10 minutes to walk to class, and you can save even more time if you bike there! On-campus living can also be a great option for students without a car, because almost everything you need will be within walking or biking distance. On-campus housing can also come with a meal plan included in the price. Keep in mind that apartment and suite-style dorms may only have a limited meal plan option since many of them also include personal kitchens or kitchenettes as one of their amenities.
This will depend on the number of dorms available on your campus (if any) and how early you register for on-campus housing. If your campus offers all three dorm options, keep in mind that traditional dorm rooms are often much easier to get than an apartment or suite style dorm, especially for underclassmen. If you have your heart set on an apartment or suite style dorm, try to have all of your potential roommates already lined up and sign up as soon as you can. You may be more likely to get the room you want if you have as many details arranged beforehand as possible.
In a traditional dorm room, privacy and personal space can feel almost nonexistent. Sharing all of your living space with another person is not impossible by any means (and it can even be a lot of fun), but there’s no denying that it can be difficult. Keep in mind that if you’re leaning toward a traditional dorm, you may have to consider alternate places to study and hang out besides your room. You may also want to consider what it will be like to be sick in a traditional dorm room. There’s nothing like having a stomach bug and having to run back and forth to the floor bathroom!
You will likely have more privacy and personal space in an apartment or suite style dorm, but that doesn’t mean that your room will necessarily be a fortress of solitude. You’ll still have roommates and neighbors who may be noisy when you’re trying to study. No matter where you live on campus, scout out your surroundings for quiet study rooms. Trust me, you’ll need them for finals!
Your level of personal responsibility will in some ways depend on which dorm you choose. For all on-campus housing options, you will be expected to keep your own room habitable (not necessarily clean, but take out your trash regularly, don’t keep old or rotting food, and don’t cause any permanent damage to anything that isn’t your personal property) and to do your own laundry. In an apartment or suite-style dorm, you will likely be responsible for at least part of your meals and keeping all common areas habitable. You may have a cleaning person hired by your college or university come in to clean your bathroom on a semi-regular basis, but don’t expect that to be the case.
In terms of affordability, traditional dorm rooms are usually the cheapest option, followed by suite style and apartment-style dorms, in that order. Admittedly you may save a bit of money by not having a meal plan included with your board for apartment or suite style dorms, but the general rule is the more space and amenities you have, the more you pay.
Living on campus can be a convenient living arrangement for students, but keep in mind that campus housing can be pricy. You may also have a bit less privacy than you are used to. But overall, living on campus can be a great, fun experience if you know what to expect beforehand.
By Allison Ourada