OFF CAMPUS HOUSING – The dilemma facing students

Students have to make the choice when attending university – should they take accommodation on campus or off campus?

At the end of the day it comes down to personal choice, but to make a sound decision, students need to weigh up the various factors involved and make a balanced decision. In doing so, it is useful to look in some detail at the two options along with the pros and cons of each. 

Staying on Campus

When you stay on campus you are close to your place of study. By being on the spot, so to speak, it will aways be quick and easy to get to lectures; so, is little or no travelling time.

You will have an instant social life with those of your fellow students who choose to stay on campus.

As a young student, support is very important. By staying on campus you will have the immediate support of your peers, as well as the university authorities to guide you through any issues that may arise. Help with mental well-being or simply practical issues.

Catering facilities will be available; so there will be no worries about getting fed and the dietary options will be well thought out to ensure proper nutrition. 

University facilities will be readily on hand. If you need easy access to the library, that can be invaluable. 

But staying on campus is not for every student! You may value your independence and not want to be constantly surrounded by your peers. 

Cost may be a big issue. Not every student or their parents has deep pockets and may be forced to make economies by carefully investigating all different options. 

Staying off Campus

Staying in off-campus housing is an option that many will take for various reasons. It has its advantages. Cost is important for many who need to keep their accommodation fees low; by staying in private rented accommodation, you can save a considerable amount of money by sharing with others.

For those who value their independence, off campus housing, will give them the peace of mind and freedom that they seek. 

When looking at this as an option there are considerations that need to be born in mind:

  1. Cost. Economies can be made by sharing with other like-minded students. Also, be aware of bonds or deposits that may need to be paid (usually equal to one month’s rent) as well as bills (which will be shared). 

In considering the cost, students should also factor in travelling expenses which, if they are excessive, may negate any savings. Also, consider the shared cost of food and household bills. 

  1. Roommates. Selecting the right people with whom to share is vitally important. Living together can be an enormous strain. Think about things like sharing the cooking, sharing chores, keeping the accommodation tidy, political or religious views (could there be a possibility of a clash), etc.
  2. Neighbourhood. If you are not familiar with the area, it would be worth checking it out. A property that presents as being very cheap or reasonable in price, might be an indicator that the neighbourhood is not great. 
  3. Transport Facilities, Be sure that these are adequate, readily accessible and not onerous on cost. Parking facilities may also be an issue.
  4. Documentation. You will be required to sign a contract, so do read it carefully to ensure that there are no clauses which could catch you out. 
  5. Take Advice. There are many agencies that can help you find off-campus housing; a simple internet search will throw plenty to choose from.  If possible, it is a good option to focus on a local one. The services that these agencies provide pretty much cover all of the things that you need to know. Many have free resources such as budget calculators and various checklists, plus legal advice on contracts etc.  Well worth a look but be aware of fees if you do engage with these organisations.

Weigh everything up and make the choice that is suitable for your circumstances.