How to Live Off of Campus

Where to live, where to live? That’s one of the biggest questions college students ask themselves. Is living on campus worth it? Not if you can’t squeeze everything you need into a tiny dorm room. Off-campus housing, on the other hand, is a great option and sure to bring you a sense of independence as you say goodbye to RAs. Consider these top tips for how to live off campus.

Signing a Lease

Before you make your final decision about where you’d like to live, try to talk with other students who currently live or have lived in the apartment complex, student community, or neighborhood. Getting their opinions prior to signing the lease ensures you don’t feel like you’re going in blind. They can tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly. Landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state, and it’s helpful to understand what you can expect.

Choosing Your Roommate

The dynamics of living with roommates is a delicate balance. Whether you choose to live with a friend — it’s great if you know at least one of your roommates — or interview strangers, you want to increase the chance that you will all get along. Discuss everything up front, from study habits (group study sessions?), schedules (morning person or night owl?), and volume (loud music while writing papers?), to ensure you minimize any surprises once you move in.

Make It Your Own

When it comes to furnishing and decorating your new space, let your personality shine through. (You don’t have to adhere to dorm rules, after all.) Select the big items first — beds, desks, dining table, and couch — and then add some décor to the walls and maybe consider a little greenery like a houseplant. You can save a pretty penny by scrounging up hand-me-down furniture, but if that’s not an option, then furniture rental is a great alternative to buying while you’re counting down the days to graduation.

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