College is a big time of change for most young Americans. It’s the first time they’ll be stepping out of Mom and Dad’s homes into their own lives as individual adults. It’s an exciting time and also a scary one.

One of the big decisions first-time college students will have to make at this point is where they want to live. Many first-year students decide to live in dorms on campus during their first year, while others grab an apartment somewhere nearby to the college.

There are pros and cons of living on campus that every college freshman should be aware of when making this decision. Where one lives during their first year in school can indeed dramatically alter the experience one has during this important time.

Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Keep Your Own Personality In Mind

To live on campus or off? It’s a big decision with a lot of different factors. Any new student couldn’t be blamed for waffling between the two choices. And yet, sometime during the months leading up to their first semester, they’ll need to decide.

It’s important to remember there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing where to live. You can be happy in either location (just as you can also be miserable in either location). It’s essential that you listen to your gut and choose the option that will be right for YOU, not someone else.

What if you’re an anxious person, or if you require your own space? What if you need help making friends, or if you have trouble getting up in the mornings?

These are all aspects of yourself that you need to take into consideration when deciding where to live your freshman year.

Keep these ideas in mind as you proceed to read the below pros and cons.

Advantages of On-Campus Living

There are some compromises that come with living in a dorm, of course. You can say goodbye to your private space for one. However, dorm living is one of the main tenets of the college experience. It has been for over one hundred years.

Many would argue that living in a dorm is an essential freshman year experience. All of the cons, in this perspective, become pros — it’s about having a memorable time your freshman year, and that means embracing the good as well as the bad.

Of course, legacy and experience aren’t the only reasons to commit yourself to the dorm room way of living. There are a lot of other positive benefits as well.

Proximity to Campus

Living in a dorm means you’ll be right in the middle of the action when it comes to your college campus. Most college dorms are located on the campus itself. If the dorms at your school aren’t on campus, it is likely they are very close by.

That’s a huge benefit when it comes to getting to your classes on time. Most dorm students can simply stroll out of their building and walk to class within ten or fifteen minutes.

Certainly not too shabby, especially if you like a short commute. A short commute also means a precious twenty or thirty more minutes of sleep each morning.

That proximity is advantageous for plenty of other reasons too. That means you’ll be close to the action when it comes to on-campus social engagements, football games, concerts, and of course, the food hall.

Nothing is far away when you live in a dorm, and you’ll have easy access to everything you need right from where you’re staying.

Tossed Into The Social Deep End

Many people go to college while only knowing a few people, or maybe no one at all. It can be difficult during this time of great transition to make new friends. If there’s one thing you can do to help speed up the process, it’s definitely living in a dorm.

In most dorms, you’ll be assigned a roommate and potentially suitemates as well. Your roommate and yourself will share the space you live in with two separate beds. Your suitemates will share the bathroom and have their own bedroom located on the opposite side of that room.

If you have a friend you want to live with, most colleges do allow you to request who your roommate might be at the dorm. But for many college students, this is the time to get randomly assigned to another individual and forced to make a friend in the process.

This can be difficult but ultimately exciting and rewarding if all goes well. That person can introduce you to other people they meet on campus and vice versa. Soon, you might have an entire network of new friends on campus.

Even if you don’t hit it off with your roommate, living in a dorm is sure to give you many more opportunities to meet people then living off-campus would. There are many fellow freshmen that live in the same building with you, for example.

You might run into new friends in elevators, on the lawn, or at the food hall. Living on campus means you’ll always be surrounded by new people and new social experiences, which can be a rewarding way to kick off your college experience.

There’s Help Nearby

In almost all dorms at almost all colleges across the U.S., there are RAs. RAs, or Resident Assistants, are older students who live within the dorm system.

These are usually sophomores or maybe juniors who have volunteered to be there for younger students. They are there to help ease kids into this new experience after having just gone through it all themselves.

An RA’s door is always open (metaphorically speaking) if you need someone to talk to. They also generally host events and encourage social mixing on the floors or in the buildings that they are in charge of.

You won’t find that kind of personal attention if you live off-campus, that’s for sure!

Advantages of Living Off-Campus

There’s a lot of reasons why you might want to keep away from campus for your first year as well.

More Space and Comfort

Dorm rooms are notoriously small, cramped, and uncomfortable. For the same price, it can be easy to find a spacious and enjoyable apartment to call your own, such as those provided by the Davisville Management Company.

A dorm room barely has enough space to hold your personal belongings, and an apartment can be much homier. An apartment will have a living room for hosting friends and then a separate bedroom that you can actually have a little privacy in, unlike a dorm.

If being the master of your own space is important to you, living in an apartment instead of a dorm might be the right choice.

Quicker Transition to Adulthood

A lot of what being in college is about is becoming an independent person. This four-year time is meant to transition a person into the real world. Living in an apartment will better replicate that experience.

Living in a dorm doesn’t quite resemble the real world, nor does it instill responsible values into a person. Meals are prepared for the student around the corner on campus, plus there is no space to clean, decorate, and so forth.

A student living in an apartment will begin to develop skills, such as cooking their own meals, that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Apartments are More Affordable

Let’s face it — college in the United States is very expensive. Adding the cost of dormitory living on top of that can be a bit too much for some students with thin wallets.

Luckily, an apartment can provide a more affordable option for most freshman students. For the price, you’re getting a lot more, in terms of space and individuality.

Yes, you’ll need to factor in the additional costs of things like gas, which those living on dorms probably don’t need to worry about. At the end of the day, however, those that choose to find a nice apartment instead of a dorm likely leave more money in their own bank account.

The Pros and Cons of Living on Campus

If you’re about to enter your first year of college, you’re likely stuck on deciding where to live. The above pros and cons of living on campus should set you down the right track when it comes to making this big decision.

Need more living arrangement advice? Keep scrolling our blog for more.