Hi Tulip, great question.
From a financial standpoint, it is cheaper, in my experience to live in an apartment. In a dorm, essentially everything (room, utilities, food) is included. Prices of dorms can vary a lot, but mine cost around $5500 for a semester. Even so, living in an apartment shared with roommates can save a lot of money. I lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 roommates and paid about $4,000 a semester.
That being said, I encourage you to live at least 1 year in the dorms. I lived in the dorms my first 2 years before moving into an apartment with 2 roommates for the other 2 years. Living in the dorms is a unique experience that I believe is worth having. It gives you great experience in living with other people and helps you get involved on campus and in the community. I met my best friends (who later were my apartment roommates) in the dorms. We later said we wished we would've stayed in the dorms longer!
Rebecka recommends the following next steps:
Hi Tulip, it all depends on what you can afford and making the best financial decision for yourself. Some colleges require students to spend their first year on campus before being able to move off campus so I would recommend first looking into that. As a former Resident Assistant and Orientation Leader at my alma mater, I found it particularly useful to be on campus my first year. Campuses put in a lot of effort to make first year students feel welcomed through planned activities. It made it so much easier to acquaint myself with my peers without feeling left out. However, during my last semester at college I got my own apartment with a friend and it was a completely different experience from living on campus. When I got my own apartment, I was completely cutoff from campus activities that I would usually know about when I was on campus, but I did not really mind because I had had 3+ years of experience of living on campus.
Khaddija recommends the following next steps:
This is a great question. I agree with the responses already mentioned and want to share that when I was in college I lived on campus 3 years. The last year I lived with a relative in the area. My two young adults lived on-campus their freshman year and got an apartment the remaining three years. They had great college experiences both on-campus and off-campus living. There are many things you would have to consider if living off-campus such as: rent, utilities, transportation, food, etc. I would assume the cost of living off-campus is probably more expensive than on-campus. You will want to weigh the differences and benefit of both. Best of luck to you!
Hi Tulip, so glad you brought up this question! I wish someone would've told me something when I applied to college.
My answer is probably going to be more or less the same as the previous ones. However, different from their experience, I did not live in campus dorm during college because it was too late when I applied, so I had to find student housing outside. After talking to some of my friends who had dorm experiences, I really felt like I missed out on this. There are definitely some drawbacks from living away from campus, such as you'll be less available for some of the events on campus and not able to meet some people from your dorm.
If I had another choice, living in dorm for the first year is probably how I'd do it. Your first year experience will help you understand the school and open doors to some extra curricular activities. Later on, you can probably think about moving to an apartment with some new friends you met during your first year, and it'll be great!