For the first time in your life, you might have to make a decision about where you’re going to live – in a school dormitory, an apartment, a shared house; with a roommate or all alone. Of course, if you go to community college, you may not the option to stay in a dorm. And if you stay in a four-year school, the dorms may close over holidays, leaving you without a place to stay.
Here are some things to consider:
|Dorm Living||Apartment Living|
|Cost||Depending on the cost of living in your area, dorms may be more expensive or they may be cheaper than an apartment.
You won’t have a cable bill or an electric bill.
You can pay for your dorm with your financial aid
You’ll probably need a to buy a meal plan
|You will need to consider the cost of utilities and transportation to and from school and work, as well as rent.
You will need to pay rent plus a security deposit before you move in
You will need to furnish your apartment – you won’t just need big stuff like furniture, you’ll need light bulbs, dishes, and more.
|Convenience||Your dorm is probably on campus, so you’ll be close to your classes and other campus activities.||You may have to commute to school. If you drive, you may have to buy a parking pass. Parking on college campuses can be a huge pain and can be very expensive!|
|Food||You may or may not have access to a kitchen – every dorm is different.
You may have to rely on your school’s meal plan.
|You will have to learn how to cook. You’ll need to grocery shop regularly. You will have to buy pots, pans, and kitchen utensils.|
|Holidays||Your dorm may close when school is not in session. Some dorms stay open, but charge students per day to stay over breaks.
Where will you stay when the dorms close?
|You have a place to stay over the holidays. You can start holiday traditions of your own.|
|Social Life||Living in the dorms give you a built-in social life. There is always something happening.
It’s easy to organize study sessions together.
Some students find dorm life distracting. Dorms can be loud.
|You are on your own in an apartment.
The people living around you might not be students.