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How Is Living on Campus Different From Living Off Campus?

It's best to live on campus your freshman year or your first year as a transfer student. This gives you an opportunity to meet lots of people, make new friends, and get involved in the campus.

Cyndy McDonaldCyndy McDonald
Higher Educational Consultants Association (HECA)

It is best to live on campus your freshman year (or your first year as a transfer student). This gives you an opportunity to meet lots of people, make new friends, and get involved in the campus. Studies show that students who live off campus do not have the same level of involvement in their college community. Living off campus requires more self sufficiency, motivation, and advocacy than living on campus.

Claire CarterClaire Carter
You are so close to all the action when you live on campus: classes, sporting events, dining halls, and on-campus activities are all easy to access. If your friends also live on campus, it’s so convenient to be able to just walk to their dorms or meet up for dinner. Living off campus can also be fun with friends, and it’s almost always cheaper than living in a dorm, but you have to plan extra time to get to campus when you need to—you can’t roll out of bed last minute when you also have to commute, find a parking spot, then walk to class!

Kelli DolanKelli Dolan
Senior Assistant Editor

Living on campus can feel a bit like living in a bubble away from the real world, and you spend most of your time on campus constantly around your peers. This level of independence brings a lot of responsibility but also a lot of time to figure out who you are as a person. On-campus life allows you to explore your opportunities and fully throw yourself into the college lifestyle. Living off campus at home is great for the obvious financial reasons, but you will be missing out on a fundamental part of the transition from high school to college. You may often still feel like a kid at home, but if you have a healthy relationship with your parents, you should still be able to find some sense of independence even while still living under the same roof. And to be honest, depending on if you’re attending a large university or a small college, you may avoid a lot of student drama.

Find more great advice about college and campus life in our Student Life—Ask the Experts section.

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