It all depends on what kind of experience you are looking for. My suggestion is to live on campus for at least a year. Being in the dorms gives you an opportunity to meet new people right away and not just in your classes. People tend to hang out in the dorms a ton, so you'll get that full experience when everyone is making friends in the first few months. It also gives you a chance to find people you may want to room with if you do then choose to get a place off campus. I lived on campus for my freshman year and then got an apartment with my roommate and the people that lived across the hall from us, when we were in the dorms. Depending on the area, it could also be safer to be in a dorm hall your first year. Many dorm halls have security and it gives you a chance to know the area and where you might want to live off campus, before you do it. That being said, if you're involved in enough activities and meet people in classes, living off campus your first year wouldn't make much of a difference. You should take into account the responsibility of paying bills and talking to landlords about issues, if you're going to live somewhere off campus. Also, depending how far off campus you live, you should think about what you would do for food and if you would still get a meal plan with the school or would grocery shop for yourself. I think taking the first year to figure all these things out and to meet people and focus on classes really helped me out.