Looking back at my college years makes me smile. I think of meeting my roommate for the first time, she was from Iowa so we connected both on a volleyball and Midwestern level (especially during football season). When I lived on campus I had all sorts of memories from welcome-week activities, cafeteria food, late-night study sessions in the library, and calling home just to hear a familiar voice. One thing that really sticks in my mind is living in the dorm and how different that was from my first apartment. You might need to start your college years in the dorm, but you might consider living off-campus in the future. Here’s a look at the differences between the two.

Dorm Life:

The Utilities are included!

Unlike apartments, you’ll have the luxury of free Wi-Fi, cable, water, and electricity. You don’t have to worry about conserving your water or electricity. Go ahead, keep that lamp on from sun up to sun down (I kid, I kid).

Social Life

Most college dorms have scheduled social activities or mixers each month to help students meet and make new friends. There are several campus activities, especially during the first week of school, that are typically free for students. For example, you can go to sporting events, concerts, pep rallies, or attend a club function.

Resident Advisor (RA)

There will always be someone on staff in the dorms to handle emergencies or everyday concerns. Think of your RA as a combination of the building superintendent and your big brother/sister. He/she may also surprise you with goody bags and other trinkets around the holidays, as well as the occasional pizza party to celebrate finals week. Free stuff rocks!

Fewer Chores

Many students who live on campus also purchase a meal plan. This means you don’t have to cook or clean any dishes! The college also provides cleaning services for the common areas and community bathrooms, so you’ll only be responsible for making your bed and washing your clothes. If you live in an apartment, expect to do everything yourself.

Free Amenities 

Some college dormitories come equipped with game rooms, pool tables, and large-screen TVs for watching movies or sports. Some of the newer dorms, like the University of North Florida’s Osprey Fountains, also provide an on-site gym and even a lazy river! Living on-campus also cuts down your travel time, so if you tend to wake up right before class, you may be better suited for a dormitory.


Apartment Living:


Ok, let’s face it, privacy is a thing of the past in a dorm unless you’re lucky enough to opt for a private dorm room. Apartments allow for you to have more privacy. Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of “me” time?

So much space for activities!

In your apartment, unlike your traditional dorm, you’ll have full-size amenities which includes a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and some have private bathrooms. Speaking from experience, you’ll have enough room for a closet and dresser. Some dorms have connecting bathrooms shared by 2 to 8 students to share or your lovely communal bathroom that’s used by everyone on your floor of the building.

You can skip a meal plan

If you have a fully equipped kitchen, skip a meal plan and go shopping for groceries and make your own food. It can be a cheaper route to take versus purchasing a meal plan or ordering fast food. On-campus, not only do you have fewer options for meals, but you’re working around the cafeteria’s hours. I enjoyed cooking my meals because I knew what ingredients I was using and could eat whenever I felt hungry (which was all the time lol).

Entertain Guests

When I had my apartment, I could have my teammates or friends over for dinner or movie nights whenever I liked without having to ask permission of the RA. We could be as loud as we wanted or blast music (of course we’re mindful of my neighbors).

If you want to share your experience of living on campus or in your apartment comment below!