What comes to mind when you think of living on campus? Unlimited freedom? Silly shenanigans? Crazy parties? Understandably, most people associate the quintessential college experience with wild, debauchery-filled times. And in the minds of many, the setting for all that debauchery is usually the college dorm. Contrary to what you’ve seen on television, there’s a lot more to living on campus than just wild parties. In fact, there are many benefits to living on campus that go beyond what’s been depicted in movies about college life. Below are a few of the lesser-discussed benefits of living on campus and a few downsides to consider, as well.
Cheaper Than Off-campus Housing
Depending on where in the country you decide to attend school, living in a dorm might be the most cost-efficient option for you. In big cities like New York or L.A, even with roommates, the cost of an apartment is more than what most college freshmen can afford. Also, you might notice after reviewing your Financial Aid package from the college of your choice, that room and board can be paid for using a combination of loans, grants and scholarships awarded to you.
As you know, there’s more to college than just making decent grades or going to the hottest party. College is about discovering who you are as a person and expanding your knowledge of the world. By living on campus, you’ll be among your peers, developing friendships that will last beyond college, discovering new things about yourself, and inevitably growing as a person. You’ll be part of a large community of your peers who will have diverse ideas, backgrounds and experiences. Living on campus will facilitate exposure to these ideas and interactions with others who are different from you, which will lead to personal growth, not only intellectually, but emotionally.
Quick Access to Campus Amenities and Classes
Picture this, it’s eight o’clock in the morning. Your alarm goes off and instead of having to get up right then and there, and get dressed for the long commute to your class, you hit the snooze button and sleep for another 30 mins. And why? Because you can. Because your morning class is literally a three-minute walk from your dorm. And then there’s the state-of-the-art gym that you can use anytime you please. Or the lawn in front of the administrative buildings where you can enjoy lunch after playing a game of Frisbee with your friends. Living in a dorm gives you readily available access to all your college has to offer, and why not take advantage of that?
Can Be Costly
Conversely, room and board can be an expense that many students are unable to afford due to rising tuition costs. If you plan to attend a school in an area with affordable housing near campus, living off campus might make better financial sense for you. However, if you’re a freshman entertaining the idea of living off campus, be sure to check your school’s policy first. For some schools, it is mandatory that you live on campus during your freshman year.
Too Much Fun
It can prove difficult to live on campus and not get swept up into the party scene. After all, there might be parties hosted by your dormitory or parties in your room, courtesy of your roommate who failed to tell you. You might find yourself studying in a dark corner of the library and sleeping there because your dorm room is occupied by die-hard partiers. Or you might find that you’re hosting the parties and spending more time socializing than studying. This is a huge drawback to living on campus. There’s a lot of peer pressure to party, hang out, neglect your studies, and just “live it up.” After all, you only live once, right?
But unfortunately, the grades you make in college can directly impact what jobs are available to you after you graduate. Hence, it’s great to have fun in college, but college is also an opportunity to prepare yourself for the job market, and you can’t do that if you’re distracted by attending every frat or keg-party in the vicinity.
College life is a balancing act. You have to learn how to juggle your social life and academic life so that you can experience the best of both worlds. Carefully weigh the benefits and downsides to dorm life and ultimately make the decision that best suits not only your short-term goals, but your long-term needs.