Living Off-Campus vs. On-Campus

The college experience is generally whatever a student makes of it, therefore where they choose to live and how they choose to live will significantly impact their perceptions of school. As far as students' options for living accommodations during school, they have three choices; living at their family home (commuting), getting university housing, or renting an apartment or house off campus. All of these options have their positives and negatives.

Commuting

In my own opinion, I would advise against commuting to students. It lessens the college experience, but it certainly saves a lot of money. Being a student getting through school strictly on financial aid, I'm all for cutting costs and saving money, but I think the loss of a social experience that is somewhat inherent is not worth the money you save. You can take loans to pay for living by the school, on or off campus, and provided you apply yourself in school and graduate with a good GPA, the job you get should make repaying the loans a relatively simple task.

Living On Campus

This option is, in my opinion, better than commuting but still has its disadvantages. By living on campus, students have the opportunity to socialize with their colleagues and become embroiled in the school's culture. I think students should dorm their first year, since they will be living with a lot of other people their age and will meet many new people. The disadvantages to dorming, however, are that it is generally more expensive than living off-campus and there are less degrees of freedom. You also have to share a bathroom and showers with a large amount of people, so it is difficult to shower when you want to. You must also take into account the other people living in the dorm as far as staying up at night and being quiet during the later hours.

Living Off Campus

This option is, in my opinion, the best for students past their freshman year. Renting an apartment or house around the college will almost always be cheaper than what your school charges for dorming. The benefits don't stop there; you can do whatever you want without fear of disturbing the people living in your building. There are no RAs (resident assistants) policing your behavior, and you can be free to study without distractions from fellow students.

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