Dorm living can be fun, but in my experience here it’s not for everyone. As we progress through our university career, there often comes a time when one might want to start considering off-campus housing. Living on campus offers students a degree of comfort, convenience and simplicity, but, off-campus apartments also have their benefits. If you’re on the fence about leaving the security and familiarity that comes with dorm living, here are some of the main benefits that you’ll experience by living off-campus

More Options
Living in a dorm room with a roommate can become pretty cramped. Of course, it depends on the roommate. While it may be part of the freshman experience, as we mature, it becomes preferable to have a little more breathing space, and living space. You’ll find that off-campus rentals are generally more spacious. Furthermore, you’ll get more privacy and a real kitchen space, set up for cooking real meals, instead of instant ramen. Living off-campus doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the fun, though. It will allow you to party on your own terms, and have a private place to yourself, for study, or for rest. It can be exhausting living in a dorm, let alone a sorority or frat house.

Gain Useful Life Experience
Living in a dorm room provides a certain supportive structure that comes with living alongside your peers. Moving into off-campus accommodation gives many students a much-needed push into adulthood. Firstly, you’ll need to go through a tenant screening process which requires you to have your finances in order through budgeting. It also provides you with some experience when it comes to the obligations involved in signing a legal contract. Once you’ve moved in, it will be a case of troubleshooting the usual housing issues and organizing repairs from time to time. All of this will set you up well for the future, and instil a sense of responsibility and agency in you.

It’s More Cost-Effective
Believe it or not, off-campus rentals tend to be affordable than dorm room accommodation. However, you’ll need to put in some effort when it comes to shopping around for the best deals. Some neighborhoods will be pricier, but you should try to balance rental prices with the proximity of a property to the university. Another way to save money is to split property with a roommate in order to share the cost of rent and bills.

You Get to Set the Rules
A major downside to dorm room life is that it tends to be full of rules. From restrictions on having overnight guests to curfews, you won’t have as much freedom as you might like. It might even be stricter than your parents back home! Which can be jarring. If you are a bit of a free spirit, then the chances are high that you’ll have a run-in with the Resident Advisor at some point. Some Resident Advisors are kind and understanding, they want you to enjoy your college experience, but others can really put the kibosh on your freedom. There’s no Resident Advisor for off-campus living! While you’ll certainly have fewer rules off-campus, it is important to remain mindful of the fact that apartment blocks and landlords may have their own rules about pets, amenity usage and noise levels. It’s wise to ask plenty of questions and read through the contract carefully before signing it.

There comes a time for every student to say goodbye to the dorms and hello to adulthood. Living in off-campus accommodation will provide a new experience for students but there are benefits to be had too. Enjoy the start of a new chapter in your student life!