As college application deadlines near and standardized test scores are being sent off, many seniors are starting the process of deciding which colleges they want to attend. With the help of college representatives coming to our high school to help guide prospective students through the confusing process of applying to college, one major question that is looming over students’ heads is if it’s better to stay on or off campus.
Many of the most popular in-state colleges such as Ohio University, Xavier University, Miami University, and the University of Cincinnati have numerous options for students who want to stay on campus and are affiliated with local housing options for students who choose to live off campus.
There are many factors that go into deciding where students want to live during their college careers. Some of the advantages of living on campus is the cost, diversity of residence halls, and a way to create lifelong friendships with their roommates.
John Beischel, PHS college and career counselor, agrees.
“It’s better to live on campus because there are many advantages such as it gives you a complete college experience and a better chance to meet new people,” said Beischel.
The amount of time a student spends on campus not only has an effect on their social skills but also the time it takes to graduate.
“At Ohio State, we believe that it is important that students spend their first two years living on campus. That will be a requirement beginning in 2016,” said Dave Isaacs, the communications and marketing manager of Student Life at OSU.
Research has shown that students who live on-campus for two years have higher graduation and two-year retention rates than students who did not live on campus their first two years.
“Students who stay on campus also have better access to what the campus offers,” said Beischel. “They are closer to student activities and programs that might not be available off campus.”
For example, at Miami University, students who stay on campus have the option to choose their own roommate, fully furnished residence halls, weekly laundry, and bi-weekly room service. Including numerous organizations and sports, students have the best that colleges have to offer.
“There’s value in not staying at home,” said Beischel. “You learn how to take care of yourself without the help of your parents.”
One of the other advantages of staying on campus is that students gain critical skills about how to provide for themselves. They also have to learn how to cope with living away from their family and friends. Even though this might be scary, in the end students learn how to interact with people from all walks of life.
“Staying on campus isn’t for everyone, though,” said Beischel. “Staying off campus is going to be generally cheaper and have fewer restrictions.”
The College Board reports that the average cost of room and board in 2013–2014 ranged from $9,500 at four-year public schools to $10,830 at private schools. Housing and meal options are usually available separately, so that you may live off campus but choose to have your meals on campus.
Even if a first year student chooses to stay off campus, the school will more than likely work to help the student find affordable local housing options.
Former Princeton student of the class of 2012, N’dea Richardson said “I stayed on campus for one year and stayed home the next year because it was financially convenient.”
Richardson feels that she was able to experience what all the campus has to offer and was able to stay in a place where she was comfortable when she was staying home. Living off campus is sometimes more convenient than staying on campus. By experiencing life both on and off campus, Richardson was able to reap the benefits of all that college has to offer while still being money conscious.
“Either way, I believe that whatever choice you make, to live on or off campus, your college experience relies on what you make of it,” said Richardson.
Both the advantages and disadvantages of living on and off campus are up to each student to consider. College is all about becoming familiar with its opportunities and discovering one’s place in the broader campus community. The key to success in college is finding the right mix of academics and campus activities, regardless of whether you stay on or off campus.