Is living in an apartment vs a dorm what you hope to do? The choice of what living arrangement to choose and living on- or off-campus may be as difficult as choosing which college to attend. Just as you debated the pros and cons of each college campus and how each one may serve your academic needs, similar considerations may be helpful in your housing choice. For incoming freshmen, the choice may be made for you as many colleges require first-year students to live on-campus. But if you are a sophomore or upperclassman, you might want to consider living off-campus. Before you make a decision about your living arrangement, let’s take a look at what each option has to offer. Read on to know the difference between dorm vs. apartment. What Is Dorm Life Like? Dorm life often involves two or more students sharing a room. Each dorm contains numerous rooms like this, allowing numerous students to live within one building. Dorms often require students to share bathrooms, kitchen spaces, and community areas while providing each student with their own bed and study area. What Are The Perks for Living in a Dorm? Students living in a dorm may enjoy some key benefits. These may include: • Utilities Included – Unlike apartments, the internet, telephone, cable, water, and electricity are typically free in a dorm. Some colleges may charge a small connection fee for cable or internet, but it’s not nearly as expensive as the monthly fees you would pay in an apartment. • Social Life – Many college dorms have planned social activities each month that help students meet new people and make new friends. There are several campus activities, usually within walking distance of your dorm. For example, you might be able to go to a football game, watch a movie, or attend a club function. Don’t forget, many campus activities are also free to students! • Resident Advisor (RA) – Someone is always on staff at the dorms to handle emergencies or to lend a shoulder to cry on after a hard day. Think of your RA as a combination of building superintendent and your big brother/sister. He/she may also surprise you with goody bags and other trinkets around the holidays, as well as the occasional pizza party to celebrate finals week. Free stuff rocks! • Less Chores – Many students who live on-campus also purchase a meal plan. This means you don’t have to cook or clean any dishes! The college may also provide cleaning services for the common areas and community bathrooms, so you’ll only be responsible for making your bed and washing your clothes. If you live in an apartment, expect to do everything yourself. • Free Amenities – Some college dormitories come equipped with game rooms, pool tables, and large-screen TVs for watching movies or sports. Some of the newer dorms, like the University of North Florida’s Osprey Fountains, also provide an on-site gym and even a lazy river! Living on-campus also cuts down your travel time, so if you tend to wake up right before class, you may be better suited for a dormitory. What Is Apartment Life Like? Students living in an apartment while at college may have more space of their own. Typically, one or more students share an apartment, often with their own bedroom. The apartment may offer a kitchen, bathroom, and living areas shared by those living in the apartment itself. What Are The Benefits of Living in an Apartment? Students living in an apartment may benefit in a few ways from this lifestyle. These may include having more privacy, fewer rules to follow, and less expensive food. • Privacy – Let’s face it, it’s nearly impossible to have any privacy in a dorm unless you spend a generous amount of income to live in a private room. Apartments provide much more privacy. Even if you choose a ‘shared’ apartment arrangement, which are popular in communities near college campuses, you typically have a private bedroom and bathroom. • Fewer Rules – In the dorm, you have very strict codes of conduct and possibly even a curfew. When you live in an apartment, you may come and go as you please, often with fewer restrictions on what you may do within your own space. Another advantage is fewer surprise inspections. Although the apartment manager may have access to your space at any time, he/she typically notifies you prior. Dorm inspections may happen at any time and occur frequently. • More Space – In many cases, your apartment has much more space than your dorm. You’ll have a full kitchen, a living area, a bedroom, and a private bathroom. In the dorm, you’ll be lucky to have enough space for your bed and a desk. • Food is Cheaper – In many cases, shopping for groceries and making your own meals is cheaper than the campus meal plans or ordering fast food. On-campus, you have fewer options for meals, and you are at the mercy of the cafeteria’s hours. Living in an apartment gives you the option of more menu choices, and you may eat whenever you feel hungry. • Entertain Guests – Unlike the dormitory, you won’t have to ask permission from the RA or your roommate to have a guest over for dinner or to spend the night. Parties are also easier to host off-campus, but keep in mind your neighbors may not take kindly to loud music at all hours of the night. Should I Live on Campus or in an Apartment? Weigh the pros and cons in dorm vs apartment depending on what is important to you. You may wish to take into consideration your financial options and personal preferences. Consider what may help make studying better for you or provide you with a place that feels like a great fit for your personal needs. Living in an apartment vs dorm is a big decision. Dorm living could be helpful to those who have never been away from home. It may also be cheaper than the rental fees in the communities surrounding your campus. Keep in mind that some colleges require students to leave the campus during breaks, which may mean going home during breaks from school or finding a place to live offsite. For those who require more freedom and privacy, apartment living may be a fit. Some college apartment communities are cheaper than on-campus housing fees; many even include the utilities in the monthly rental fee. These properties often offer a 3- or 4-bedroom option that includes private bedrooms and bathrooms with a common living area and shared kitchen, so you still have a bit of the dorm experience without all the regulations. Just be sure you have reliable transportation and stick to a budget. Unlike your college housing fee, your rent and utility bills are due monthly. Before deciding which option may be optimal for you, dorm vs. apartment, consider all the costs associated with both living arrangements. Each offers different challenges and perks, but both help guide you on your path toward adulthood and parent-free living. In the battle between dorm vs. apartment living, there’s really no wrong or correct answer in dorm vs apartment. It’s a personal choice all college students need to make.