Deciding where to live is among the most critical decisions in a college student’s life. Students have three main housing options: on-campus, off-campus, and living with their parents.

No one’s situation is exactly alike. So, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each housing option.

On-Campus Housing

Living on campus is no longer limited to the typical dorms. Colleges and universities now offer other housing types, such as private rooms, suites, and apartments. There are many benefits and drawbacks to living on campus:


Better Focus on the Academics

Lack of Privacy

Sense of Community

Constant Distractions

Convenience Rules
Facilities and Amenities Cost
Student Safety

Pro: Better Focus on the Academics

Living on campus helps students do better academically. They have easier access to school facilities and resources. Students have resident advisors (RAs) who can recommend mentors and study groups to provide guidance and tutoring. They can also recommend tools like homework help online or an essay helper for students in need of help with writing essays.

Pro: Sense of Community

Building relationships and feeling a sense of belonging is easy while living on campus. You’re living surrounded by other students and school staff. There are plenty of activities to choose from at any given time, allowing students to meet people with similar interests.

Pro: Convenience

Because you’re always on campus, you can easily get to class on time. You can attend many campus events as they happen. If you need career books, groceries, and other essentials, you can easily get them at campus bookstores and convenience stores.

Pro: Facilities and Amenities

Campuses typically offer these facilities and amenities:

  • Library
  • Dining halls
  • Fitness center
  • Laundry facilities
  • Mailing and shipping services
  • Bookstore/student store
  • Convenience store
  • Infirmary

The amenities in each housing type may differ, though. Some come with community kitchens, lounges, and game rooms. Others have private kitchenettes and gender-neutral bathrooms.

Pro: Student Safety

The staff is there to monitor the students’ safety. They ensure that there is no underage drinking or illegal use of drugs. Resident advisors are there to provide help with mental health and relationship issues.

Access to the residence halls is limited. Students use key cards to enter the residence hall. There are security personnel at the front desk. Some schools even have their own police departments.

Con: Lack of Privacy

This is no longer true, at least for some campuses. Students can now choose to live with a roommate or on their own. They can select housing with communal spaces like a kitchen or live in an apartment with all the essentials. Some on-campus housing types offer private, semi-private, and communal bathrooms.

Of course, it would depend on what’s available on campus. Private rooms are typically limited in number and have a premium rate. Some campuses have strict requirements for residents of apartments. These are primarily rented to graduate students or those living with families. If you live in a dorm, you will definitely have a roommate.

Con: Constant Distractions

Living on campus means you’ll be constantly surrounded by students. It can get noisy, and you might get distracted from your schoolwork. If you like living quietly, you might not be suitable for this environment.

Con: Rules

All housing types on campus have rules that students need to live by. Typically, RAs will ensure students keep all the rules. Unless you live in a co-ed dorm, there will be restrictions on who can go to your room. A dorm has “quiet hours” during weekdays that you need to observe.

Con: Cost

The cost of living on campus is higher than renting an apartment off campus. Based on a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of room and board in four-year institutions for the 2020-2021 school year was $12,057. Living off-campus costs an average of $10,521 during the same school year.

In addition, students usually must purchase a meal plan when living in a dorm. Moreover, there’s no negotiation over the price. You pay what the school charges. Note that the fee is all-inclusive. It covers the rent, utilities, Wi-Fi, and furniture.

Off-Campus Housing

Living off campus can make you feel more of an adult. You get your freedom and privacy, but you also need to shoulder more responsibilities. Let’s look at what it means to live off campus.


Privacy and Independence Commute
Cost Lack of Community
Lease Length

Pro: Privacy and Independence

You can choose who you will live with when you live off campus. You can rent a place alone or get one with your friends. You can easily decompress when needed. Moreover, you live by your own rules. You can choose who gets to visit your home. You can even decorate your rental to make it feel more at home. You also become more responsible. You must sign a lease, make a security deposit, and manage your bills.

Pro: Cost

The cost of a studio or apartment outside campus is typically lower. While the rent will usually not include utilities and Wi-Fi, you can choose more affordable housing that fits your budget. You don’t have to stick to the school’s meal plan. You have more choices regarding food, which means you can find more affordable alternatives. If you’re not keen on the idea of bringing your own furniture to a plain apartment, you could also always look out for new york furnished apartments (or those elsewhere more relevant), this saves you the stress of getting furniture but also removes the associated costs, which can help to make your stay off campus much more affordable.

Con: Commute

You will have to commute to class if you don’t live on campus. This means you’ll be dependent on public transit. Commuting by car may be more convenient, but you must consider parking and gas. You can ride a bike, but consider the distance between your place and the school.

Con: Lack of Community

You might find feeling a sense of belonging more difficult if you are only on campus during your classes. You won’t feel as connected, especially when things happen while you are off campus.

Con: Lease Length

Most housing options outside the campus will require a 12-month lease. You will pay for rent even during the summer months. Unless you take classes during that time, you may be forced to live in your rental for the entire year. Or, you will need to find someone to sublet your place to cover the rent.

Living With Parents

Because of rising housing costs, 45% of college students live with their parents. Of course, this is only possible if their home is not far from your school. There are advantages and disadvantages to living at home while in college.


Free Rent and Meals Lack of Independence and Privacy
Stay Close to Loved Ones

Pro: Free Rent and Meals

You don’t need to pay rent to stay at home. You also don’t need to pay for meals. Your only expenses will be your tuition, books, transportation, and meals outside the house. If you’re feeling guilty, you can give some money to your parents. But it definitely will cost you less than staying on campus or renting a place of your own.

Pro: Stay Close to Loved Ones

While technology allows us to stay in touch with loved ones no matter the distance, there is something about spending time with them face-to-face. Frequent interactions with family make it easier for students to transition from high school to college life. If you have responsibilities to your family, living at home will enable you to keep your priorities.

Con: Lack of Independence and Privacy

Staying at home may save you money, but it will keep you from becoming more self-reliant. You also won’t have enough privacy at home. Prepare to be given unsolicited advice on your studies, friends, activities, and future career.

Choose the Student Housing Option That Suits You

Housing options for students are no longer limited to dorms. Many campuses offer a variety of styles to accommodate students’ needs. Take the time to evaluate which housing type suits you best. Whether you live on campus, off campus, or with your parents, remember that you can always make a change if things don’t work out.