Simply signing up for college classes is stressful enough. And when it comes to housing, there are many things to consider before moving in. But don’t worry, we’ll lay out everything you should know in this article.
Today’s guest post is courtesy of our friends at Abodo.com. If you’re looking for an apartment to rent, Abodo has you covered.
Starting college might mean independence: moving out of home and the freedom of getting your own place. As a student, you’ll have a few different accommodation options available, so where to start?
Fortunately, we’ve put together this useful guide to help you understand and weigh up options as you find the right type for your needs.
A good first step is to know what’s out there and available to you. For example, if you’re moving to a city like Minneapolis for school and living in the Uptown neighborhood, be sure you understand rent prices in that area.
Student accommodation varies depending on your area, but the following options might be available to you: on-campus accommodation, hostel, student apartment, homestay, or share house.
When you’ve decided on the right accommodation type and you’re ready to look at individual properties, start attending open days, visiting on-campus accommodation, and inspecting rental properties.
Talk to estate agents, university housing advisors, and others to get a better idea about the property. Consider features like location, parking, bedroom size, local amenities, public transport, and so on.
Plan for the Process
Once you have some idea about the type of accommodation for you, research and plan for the process. For example, you might need to apply now for next year’s on-campus accommodation. If you’re renting or share housing, take note of the application process so you can get the documents together on time.
Working Out the Pros and Cons
You’ll unlikely find a perfect accommodation option that ticks all your boxes, so be prepared to weigh up all the pros and cons. Consider your own priorities and your goals, as opposed to what your friends might value.
For example, you might decide the on-campus accommodation at your uni is convenient but takes too much out of your budget. Alternatively, you might find share housing a great idea for socializing but it could be too distracting.
Writing down the pros and cons of each property you inspect could help you be more objective as you weigh up the options. The thing to weigh up includes safety and crime rate, rental prices, transport, commute time, and local amenities.
Factoring the Cost
Working out your budget is probably one of the first things you want to need to do, before exploring specific accommodation options. Once you have some idea about what’s available in your area and for your campus, you can start doing the numbers.
Don’t forget to account for utility, grocery, internet, and transport costs, especially when comparing on-campus with off-campus options.
Once you’ve worked out your budget, you can easily assess what options would be within your cost range. On-campus accommodation tends to be the most expensive (though it could include meals, support, and other services), and student apartments can also be towards the higher end of the cost scale.
As you work out costs, don’t forget to explore financial assistance options. You could be eligible for scholarships, bursaries, grants, government allowances, and other things to make your student years easier.
Proximity to Class
One of the factors you might be particularly concerned about is proximity to class. While staying close to campus can be convenient and save you time, you might need to pay a little more for this option.
Consider whether the 40 minutes or hour you save on commuting per day is worth the extra $50 or $100 you pay for on-campus or near-campus accommodation. Additionally, living close to your school doesn’t mean you won’t need to commute for work or drive farther to meet up with friends and family.
On-Campus vs Off-Campus Accommodation
On-campus accommodation gives you the benefit of proximity to class as well as living with other students. You’ll likely save a lot of time thanks to not having to commute, and you’ll be in a social hub with lots of activities.
You’ll be close to the library, lecture halls, and other facilities. You’ll have support from the campus housing office. Utility and internet costs are usually included, and some meals might be provided.
Additionally, you won’t have to deal with a landlord. At the same time, on-campus accommodate tends to be the most expensive option for students. You can’t choose who you live with.
And while having a busy social life can be rewarding, it could be distracting or disruptive for your studies. Off-campus accommodation could mean anything from an apartment to a hostel.
You could rent just one bedroom and stay with a family or share a house with other students. So you’ll have a broad range of options to choose from, and you could choose something more spacious.
Going off-campus could give you more discretion in the type of property you live in and the features you’re looking for. You can choose whom to live with, and it might be much cheaper than living on campus.
You could enjoy more privacy and have fewer distractions to deal with. If you go further out from the city or other population hubs, you could save more money on accommodation.
However, off-campus accommodation usually means living farther away from uni, and this could mean longer commute times. You’ll need to manage your own utility, internet, and other bills while liaising directly with the landlord.
You won’t have student housing support. Whatever type of student accommodation you eventually choose, keep in mind it’s not permanent and you can always change after your contract expires.
Consider your budget, weigh up what you need, and do plenty of research, and you should be able to find an accommodation option that comes close to your requirements.