College is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. It’s a time when individuals are exposed to new people, new ideas, and new experiences. It is also a time when people have the freedom to create their own space and decide how they want to live. One of the biggest decisions college students make is whether to live on-campus or off-campus or dorm vs apartment. While on-campus dorms are ideal for college freshmen who are new to campus life and who doesn’t want to commute, off-campus apartments could be a better option for college students who want more freedom and amenities. To help you decide between living on-campus or off-campus, we’ve created this blog on dorm life vs apartment life and pros and cons of dorm vs apartment. What’s the Difference Between Dorms and Apartments? Cost: Dorms typically cost less than apartments, but it varies based on location, size and more. Apartments generally cost more than dorms due to the added amenities, such as kitchen and laundry facilities. Privacy: In a dormitory, you’re sharing space with other students of the same gender. In an apartment, you’ll have your own room with private bathroom and living area. You’ll also likely have access to shared amenities like a backyard or swimming pool. Amenities: Apartments usually offer kitchens and laundry facilities, whereas dorms don’t. Also consider if there is internet connectivity in the housing option you’re considering and how close it is to campus. Location: Choose housing that offers easy access to campus facilities from your college campus. What Is Dorm Life Like? Dorm life offers many perks and conveniences for college students, such as close proximity to campus and other students, shared living spaces, and more convenient meal plans. Dorms also often provide more privacy than apartments, which can be beneficial for some college students. However, dorms may have restrictions on noise and activities, which may not be as accommodating as those in an apartment. Also, dorms may provide more communal spaces, such as lounges or study rooms, that aren’t available in apartments. What Is Apartment Life Like? Apartment living provides more privacy and independence than dorms. You will feel adulthood much more in apartment living. You’re free to make your own schedule and customize your space to fit your needs. Apartments cost more on an annual basis, but you are likely to receive extras such as kitchen upgrades, pool access, Washer/Dryer hook-ups, and balconies or terraces. The cost may also include a roommate or two, which is not the case with dorms Most apartments come furnished, while dorms usually do not. With apartments, you can have everything you need right at home. This includes a bed, desk, chair, and others such as dishes, utensils, and towels. Dorms might not be so perks-filled overall. Apartments may be farther from campus than dorms. However, they offer more convenience for shopping and entertainment. Besides, college apartments provide a sense of security and stability that dorms cannot match. Pros and Cons Of Dorm Living Pros -Dorm costs typically cheaper than living in an apartment. -Offer in campus convenience, and provide social opportunities with other students -Provide access to easy meal plans, laundry facilities, and other university resources Cons -Can be noisy, may have limited privacy and with strict rules -You’re not quite independent since you are living with someone else -They don’t offer the same level of personalization as apartments do like having your own bathroom or own bedroom Key Benefits of Living in a Dorm • 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 in the 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 in the 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. Pros and Cons Apartment Living Pros -Higher cost and responsibility for utilities, rent, and other bills -More space for storage and activities -Increased privacy and independence -Greater control over the environment of your living space -Less supervision from a landlord or manager Cons -High cost of utilities, rent, and other bills. -You will have a lot of chores everyday -You shoulder all responsibilities in the apartment like cooking and maintaining cleanliness Key Benefits of Living in an Apartment • 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 own 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. 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 meals 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. Tips For Choosing Between A Dorm vs Apartment -Ask yourself the following questions to help determine which living option is best for you. -This includes what your budget allows, the facilities included with each option, and the type of environment you want to live in. -If finances aren’t a concern, consider what are included with each option. This may include access to Wi-Fi, on-site housing, etc. -Think about which type of living environment is right for you. This could include a dorm’s communal living or individual housing or an apartment’s open floor plan or single living. -Look at the size and location of each option. This could include dorms that are small or large or apartments that are spacious or compact. -Evaluate the safety measures and access to public transportation provided by each option. This could include a dorm’s on-campus housing or apartment’s access to public transit. – Consider all factors and make a decision based on your needs and preferences. What is the best type of housing to live in for college students? It really depends on the individual needs of college students when it comes to deciding which type of housing is best for them. Some might prefer dorms because of the social aspect and affordability, while others may prioritize privacy and want more independence, making an apartment or off-campus housing a better fit. Before you choose a housing option, consider the following factors: location (how close it is to campus), cost (including any fees associated with living off-campus), amenities provided (e.g., laundry room, internet connection, etc.), and size (1-bedroom apartment, 4-bedroom dorm room). Once you’ve taken these into account, you should be able to make an informed decision and find the best type of housing for your college life.