yconic - Residence vs. Off-Campus Housing
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Residence vs. Off-Campus Housing

The following tips, originally posted at StudentAwards Conversations, were contributed by students in our membership.

Q. I heard residence is the best way to get to know your peers and make friends during frosh year ... but do you think thousands of dollars for residence is worth more than just getting a room or local apartment? (posted by: myungkyukim)

A. If you're moving to a new city I'd definitely recommend res. It's a ton of fun and you do make lots of friends, and depending on the city, res can actually be cheaper than living off campus. However, if you already have people to live with and share rent with then that is also good. (posted by: luckybee)

Reasons to Live in Residence

In residence, you meet A LOT of people right off the bat; if you're staying off-campus, then you'll meet people gradually throughout the year, and it takes a bit of effort to do so. Knowing people at the beginning of the year can be quite important for a lot of people, as that is when people are typically homesick. Making friends really helps quell that homesickness ... Furthermore, residence is a unique experience that I think most people enjoy. Living with a bunch of people who are your age and who are going through a lot of the same things you're going through is really something else. (posted by: mynameismattgotmlgo)

I have done both on and off campus living and I sincerely believe in the benefit of living in residence. I returned to residence again this year as a Residence Assistant and it still blows me away the bonds and benefits that come from living in res. It gives you an opportunity to align with people who are in the same situation as you in a way you would never otherwise. You have your entire life to live in a house with roommates and yes it's expensive ... very expensive, but no money can replace the experiences you gain living in the residence community. (posted by: tanisha)

I think that besides being a good place to meet new friends, it's also convenient location-wise to live in residence. The closer you are to your classes, the more sleep you'll probably get! (posted by: origamiprincess)

There's a lot of independence at rez at most universities. It's not like there's a curfew and they force you into bed at ten oclock. Most universities now even have apartment-style residences where you are able to make your own food, and have your own space ... There's also a lot more opportunities to get involved. A good portion of the things that I got involved in during first year had to do with residence (house council as well as many opportunities my Residence Don told me about that I wouldn't have known about otherwise). The apartment thing can be fun, but after you are done first year. (posted by: cmcneil92)

Reasons to Live Off-Campus

I lived in an apartment off-campus for my first year. I think it's the optimal choice for four reasons:

No distractions. Some of my friends on residence told me that even when they wanted to study, they would get pulled into socializing because of the atmosphere. Living off-campus (but close to the university) lets you socialize and study whenever you want to.

It's close to campus, so you're not at that great of a disadvantage from residence in this respect. Plus, walking is good for you.

Meal plans suck. It's cheaper to buy food from the grocery. And, this prepares you for later in life.

Personal bathroom and shower. I can't stand public bathrooms and showers. I was going to say that living off-campus is expensive..., but so is residence. So, if you can afford it, I'd go for an off-campus apartment. (posted by: littleroom)

I thought I wanted to live in rez and when I didn't get in, I was glad. You have such limited space to do anything or to keep anything, you have to share a tiny bathroom and a tiny kitchen and a tiny laundry room with too many people. Neighbours are loud and rules can be strict. Living off campus is the way to go for me! (posted by: Quaider24)

For those who are debating student housing over res I have been in student housing 2 years in a row (never in res). I agree that res would be a great way to meet people, but you’ll meet people no matter where you live during school. I loved student housing ... and there aren’t as many rules as res (not that rules are bad, but I would not like the 23 hour silence at exams, the limits to stay over at some places, and stuff like that). More privacy in a house as well. (posted by: katiekmo)

To join the conversation, go to the following Studentawards Forum threads:

Live at Home, or at Res?!?!
Residence Life
Residence Or Apartment
Pros and Cons of suite residences