There are many differences between the comfort of a simple dorm room space and an off-campus rental unit. The most obvious difference is responsibility. Moving to off-campus housing requires a great deal more responsibility in dealing with the month to month tasks of paying bills, cleaning the bathroom, mowing the yard (if you have one), and many others day to day tasks. With that added responsibility, however, comes independence and freedom, no more visiting hour rules and you can play music all night long if you want.
There are sacrifices to make to hold onto that freedom associated with living off campus. The largest sacrifice is going to be money. The good news is that most rental properties near and around a college campus are primarily catered to a college student and are somewhat cheaper than the average rentals normal adults are used to paying. In addition to the money, you have to consider the additional time commitments as well. It will take more time cleaning a larger space and more time to pay bills, cook dinners, and shop for essentials.
Living in a dormitory provides its own set of unique security concerns. Given the number of students living in a dorm, you will always have some concern for security. You have to deal with everything from common areas to shared bathrooms and students always going in and out of the building. When living off campus, there are an entirely different set of security concerns, but far more manageable when compared to those of a dorm.
Living in an apartment off campus typically provide gated communities with 24-hour security, and there are far fewer common areas to worry about unwanted or unwelcomed guests wandering around.
Another major difference between dorms and off-campus housing are their general proximity to the campus. You will need to consider how far to walk or ride every day to make it class on time. If you think you will have a difficult time making it to class in inclement weather, then off-campus housing might not be for you. You will also need to consider parking if you live far enough away from campus. You will also need to consider if you need a special parking permit if you live off campus and learn street parking calendars to avoid tickets. If you don’t have a car and will need to rely on public transportation to get you to and from campus, then you’ll need to figure out if the bus schedules fit your class schedules.
Looking for an apartment
There are many sites available online to look for off-campus housing. Most universities provide an off-campus listing service for reliable off-campus apartments and homes. Another option to consider may be rent-to-own homes if you plan on buying a home in town right after graduating. Provided you have pretty decent credit and some good job prospects in town after graduation then a rent-to-own home might be right for you.