On-Campus or Off-Campus Housing: What are the Options?

One of the most unique and exciting aspects of the US college experience is being part of a campus community. The majority of students, both domestic and international, live on campus in residence halls, which provides for a very vibrant campus culture. However, there are a number of housing options available to most students, and we explore those further below.

On-Campus Living

As a first-year Freshman, most colleges require students to reside on campus in the college residence halls. This entails living in a dorm room, likely with a roommate. In most cases, a college coach will arrange for a first-year student-athlete to live in a dorm room with another new incoming teammate. Dorms are usually centrally located on campus in close proximity to classrooms, dining halls, the library, gym and sporting fields/facilities, making it the most convenient living arrangement. On-campus housing eliminates the need for transportation to and from campus, as well as the need to cook your own meals, therefore providing for the most seamless transition to college life.

Most college campuses also have their own security and/or police personnel, which ensures a safe and secure living environment. Finally, from a social standpoint, living in college dorms allows students to be part of an active and vibrant residential community alongside their peers. Residence hall staff offer planned activities and social gatherings throughout each month, allowing students to get to know each other and form friendships easily. College campuses are also host to basketball and football games, among many other sports, which always attract large turnouts.   

Off-Campus Housing

While students can continue living in the college residence halls beyond their first year, additional living options may become available to upper-class students. One option is to move off-campus into a nearby apartment building, either alone or with friends/teammates. The advantage of this option is that an apartment is usually more spacious than a dorm room, providing a kitchen, living area, and individual bedrooms and bathrooms. Depending on a student’s scholarship situation, the cost to rent an apartment off-campus can, in certain cases, be cheaper than the cost to live in residence halls. Living with multiple teammates or friends in an apartment also means that the cost of groceries and food can be split between roommates, making this a cheaper alternative than a dining hall meal plan. On the other hand, the convenience factor of walking a short distance to classes and practice, as well as being in the midst of a lively campus environment, would no longer be there.

Ultimately, every college is different in how they offer housing and what they require of their students, so it’s always important to ask coaches about this during the recruiting process. Whether you are living on campus all four years or planning a mix of on/off campus living, it is vital for student-athletes and families to have a complete understanding of the options available to them.

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An Aussie's Transformative
US College Journey

By Study & Play Director, Chris Bates