Although most students live in the on campus dorms during their first year or so of school, many students decide to move off campus in their later years for a wide variety of reasons. Both on and off housing have their own unique set of advantages and challenges, so it’s important to do your research before committing to one or the other.
If you are trying to decide whether to try USC off campus housing, take the following pros and cons into consideration.
Pro: Off Campus Housing is Often Cheaper
Many universities offer a variety of on campus housing options, whether it’s a shared room in freshman dorms or on campus apartments with private rooms and shared spaces. After experiencing dorm life, many students are understandably ready to have a room to themselves. Off campus housing near USC often comes much cheaper than other on campus housing options available through the university.
Con: Off Campus Housing May not Be as Close
On campus housing has one distinct advantage over off campus housing, which is proximity to academic buildings and other amenities that are only offered on campus. If having a short walk or commute to class every day is a top priority, then you may be better off choosing an on campus living arrangement. Despite this con, many off campus housing properties are still close enough to allow students to walk or bike to class.
Pro: Off Campus Housing Doesn’t Require a Meal Plan
When living on campus, even if you’re in an apartment, you are still required to have an apartment meal plan. Meal plans can be a convenient way to get nourishment during the busy academic weeks, but meal plans are expensive and get old quickly. Many students struggle to get their money’s worth from meal plans, too.
Off campus housing is a fantastic option for those who want to save money on food costs and don’t want to be forced to pay for a service they don’t want anyway.
Con: Off Campus Housing Doesn’t Always Include Utilities
When living in the dorms or on campus apartments, your utility bills are accounted for in your semesterly room and board costs. This simplifies your finances a bit, as you don’t have to worry about paying several different utility bills each month. Most off campus living arrangements require the tenants to set up their own utilities and pay their bills in a timely manner, and roommates are stuck figuring out how to divvy up expenses.
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Some off campus co-living spaces also bake utility bills right into the monthly rent too, meaning that you are only subjected to one fee per month like you would if you lived on campus.
Explore Your Options and Decide Carefully
There are many benefits and drawbacks to each type of housing available to students. Off campus housing tends to be a popular choice for older students, especially those with a reliable mode of transportation to class, due to its lower costs and increased flexibility. Others opt to stay on campus for convenience’s sake, but the best choice for you ultimately comes down to personal preferences.