Dorm or Apartment?

Whether you’re a freshman or upcoming senior you’ve thought about it. Should I get my own apartment? Or dorm with everybody else? It’s a question that’s been on the minds of students even before Animal House came out (if you’re too young to know what Animal House is, think the original Old School). I’ve taken a crack at both of these options so let me break down the pros and cons of each that I experienced.

For the first two years of my college career I lived in the dorms. The major pro about living in the dorms is that you’ll get to meet a lot of cool people and make a lot of friends. College functions and events are usually held near  the dorms and classes are usually walking distance. Other positives about the dorm life is that you’ll get all the amenities the school provides (meal plan, heat, electricity, sometimes cable, wifi, security, etc). The cons are easy to point out as well. You’ll be restricted on the number of guests you can have, need to be relatively quiet at night, have an Resident Advisor, maybe not be able to interact with opposite sex after curfews, and certainly not allowed to have alcohol in your room (got to bring it in through the windows!).

After my first two years at school, I decided it was time to break free of the dorm’s restrictions and get an apartment with some friends. Apartment searching was difficult (we’ll touch upon that in another post) but we found a place that we could call our home. The pros of having an apartment are you can have any number of guests your heart desires, there is no RA, you can be loud (as long as the neighbors don’t call the cops on you), opposite sexes are welcome, and of course you can bring alcohol into you’re own place. However, there are some cons as well. Now you’ll have to worry about your own food, rent, amenities, and getting along with your roommates. It’s much like the tagline from MTV’s the Real World, your new roommates will stop being polite, and start being real, so make sure you pick them wisely unless you’re living on your own.

I’ve laid out the pros and cons of the apartment vs dorm dilemma. My main advice here is to live in the dorms your freshman year. Get accustomed to college living, meet friends, get a grip on your course load and schedule and then sophomore or junior year decide if the move to an apartment is right for you. Everyone weighs these pros and cons differently so it really is a unique choice for each individual but make sure you do a pros and cons checklist and to weigh “housing” expenses from the college against rent for the apartment.

What do you think? Have you had experiences living on your own and in the dorms? What was the better experience for you? Let us know in your comments.

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