As the middle of the semester approaches, many students are in the process of searching for off-campus housing for the 2017-2018 school year. If planning to move off campus, there are some changes and adjustments that students can expect to experience.
Ryan Lemmers, junior graphic design major, has been living in the residence halls for three years. For the last two years, he has worked as a community advisor in Knutzen Hall.
Although he is an upperclassman, he decided to stay on campus because of the community environment that is present in the residence halls.
“I love my job as a community advisor, primarily interacting with the first-year students and helping their transition,” Lemmers said.
Along with social benefits, the financial aspect of living off campus can be more complicated than being a resident in one of the halls, said Lemmers.
With room and board costs being rolled into one bill, budgeting on campus is fairly straight-forward. Living off campus adds more personal responsibility to individual students to set aside enough money each month for rent, groceries and other personal expenses.
Chelsea Connor, senior dance major, also agrees the community atmosphere of residence halls is a major positive of living on campus.
Connor made the switch to living off campus for her last year at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Although she misses the lively social atmosphere of the dorms, she thinks there are many great reasons for living off campus.
“Being able to have your own space and bedroom is definitely very helpful… You have a nice getaway if you ever need to seclude yourself from people,” Connor said.
Living off campus while in college gives students a chance to be more independent and prepare for adult life after graduation, said Connor.
“In the dorms you have the meal plan, so you just have to go walk over to Debot and do not have to worry about making food, buying food or anything like that,” Connor said.
Living off campus challenges students to manage their time more effectively and accommodate for errands like grocery shopping and doing laundry.
When preparing to sign a lease for an off campus residence, there are many things students need to look out for and keep in mind.
If students are interested in renting a particular house or apartment, tour the place in person and meet the landlord before officially signing a lease. This will give potential tenants a better feeling about the possibility of living in the residence. It will also help to determine if the landlords seem trustworthy.
Before signing a rental lease, read everything the housing contract states. Students should ask the landlords questions if a certain rule or policy is not clear. Future renters should also make sure the lease document clearly states what the monthly rent includes. Some rent amounts include heat, water and other utilities, while others do not.
Students should open communication with all roommates if you will live with other people and on move-in day, should make sure to discuss house rules and expectations so everyone is on the same page.
For more information and advice on how to navigate the off-campus housing world, visit thecollegeinvestor.com.