Are You Ready To Ditch The Dorms?
Moving off campus is exciting, because it means that you can finally start to really exercise some new found freedom, away from the constraints of on-campus life. From control over your own food and cooking, to having your own room, being able to decorate and furnish the way you want, and the lack of direct supervision are all huge bonuses when moving off campus. Finally — you can begin your adult life, even while still in school, by making your own lifestyle choices.
When choosing where to live off campus, there are many important things to consider — proximity to campus, who you’ll choose to room with, what kind of accommodations you’re looking for, and any included amenities.
Often, there is a neighborhood or area directly adjacent to or near your campus that provides student housing, and this is often the best place to look. You’ll be close to school and near your peers who also live off campus. But, beware. Landlords who have cornered the student housing market are used to dealing with students who may not know when they are being cheated. Here are couple of safety measures to protect yourself when looking for an apartment:
- Make sure to thoroughly examine the apartment for mold and other damage. Mold could cause serious health and breathing problems, so let the landlord know before signing the lease.
- Finding an apartment with little to no damages can be hard, especially in the student district. If you notice any damages, like chipped paint, broken appliances, windows or doors, or general mess and dirt, take pictures and submit them before you move in. This will ensure that you won’t suffer the consequences later but having your security deposit withheld on account of damage you did not inflict.
- Read the lease! This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people sign without reading this binding document. Find out what damages you’re responsible for, what the landlords expectations are (and if they’re unreasonable) and look for loopholes that could have you paying extra for things you didn’t know about. If you are unsure what to look for, have a parent or campus adviser look it over with you.
Living with your friends in off campus student housing can be one of the best parts of the college experience. You get the chance to gain real life skills while still learning in a structured environment. Looking out for yourself can be liberating and life changing — start before you even move in by choosing your student apartments wisely!