Your first year of college has been an incredible experience. From staying up late and swapping stories with your roommates to hosting study sessions in your dorm to joining your friends at the dining hall each day, your freshmen year has gone by in a flash. And like all good things, your first year has come to an end. So now, here’s what you need to know about moving out of the dorms:
Consider Roommates, Housing and Bills
It’s important to start thinking about where you want to live and who you want to live with before you move out of the dorms, as most universities are strict about evacuating students once the spring semester is over.
Some students choose to live in off-campus apartments or houses while others opt to stay in the dorms and work as a community assistant or mentor for incoming freshmen. Not only do these students essentially live rent free, but they also get paid to keep watch in the common areas, answer questions and organize events.
Living with roommates off-campus can help lower your expenses; however, sometimes personalities clash, so don’t make a rash decision when picking a roommate. Choose someone with similar interests and a similar schedule to make cohabitating easier.
Think About Transportation
After you move from the dorms to your new home, your commute will get a little longer. If you decide to live off campus, it’s important to think about how you will get to class.
- Public Transit: Most campuses have a public transportation system that runs nearby the school and throughout its neighboring communities. This method is relatively low cost. You can choose to pay by the day or purchase a semester- or year-long pass. Keep in mind that shuttles, buses and trains tend to run on a set schedule and observe the holidays, so be sure to check out the routes, stops and schedule before you jump on board.
- Biking, Skateboarding, Walking: These three options are great if you live in close proximity to your school. They provide a great way to get some fresh air and exercise before sitting in on a lecture. Some students who live miles away from school ride, walk or bike to their nearest bus stop to catch a ride to campus. And some schools, like Arizona State University, have bike co-ops that allow students to check out a bike for multiple days without a fee. Check online to see if your school offers something similar.
- Driving: Living away from campus is usually the cheapest option. However, finding a way to get to school becomes harder. If you’re looking at a new home that’s far away from campus, consider purchasing a used car. Dealerships like DriveTime offer used cars at fair prices, and they can help you get financed and go over your credit details. If you do get a car, make sure to budget the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance.
Join Clubs and Groups
Although you’ve met some of your closest friends while living in the dorms, you have three more years to make even more friends. One way to make new friends is by joining a club or group. These provide students with the opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and get involved around campus, all while having fun. Affiliation with certain clubs and groups can also be a great resume builder. Check with your school to see what they offer.