by Liv

Living Off Campus – Is It Right for You?

Most of us start our college experience living our first one or two years in the dorms. This means close to campus living, access to the dining halls, available bus routes, and only a short walk to most campus events. By the time sophomore or junior year rolls around, you’ll notice a lot of people opting to live the apartment life. Some of the easiest transitions from dorm life to apartment living are right across Lincoln Way. These are convenient because they generally have all of the same amenities with the exception of dining hall meals. This option is great if you want the apartment life, a close walk to campus, available bus routes, and want to make your own meals. But what if you are considering moving even farther off campus living? Is it really worth giving up all of that convenience?

I have been living off campus for two years now and so far my experience has been a positive one – however, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Knowing the pros and cons of off campus living can help you decide.



One of my favorite things about off campus living is the peace and quiet that comes along with it. No longer do you have to deal with the bustling college students as if you were on campus, nor do you have to fall asleep to the roaring and constant noise of Lincoln Way. While you can’t pick your neighbors in apartment or house living – they will most likely be quieter than your close to campus options.


While some may see it as a con, living far from campus will definitely allow you to get your extra steps in. My current townhouse is close to a bus stop – however you will generally spend more time walking to transfer buses and to class than you would if you were across the street from campus.


Building a community off campus can help you feel more apart of Ames rather than just campus. Additionally, it can put you closer to fun restaurants, malls, parks, coffee shops and more!


Another one of my favorite aspects of living off campus is the separation it creates. Just as you need a work/life separation – I think it is just as important to have a school/life separation. Living off campus allows you to have experiences that are not all university lead events.


Money is definitely an attractive factor of living far from campus. Generally, as you move farther away the cost of living goes down. Now you can have the same size place for a lower cost…OR a larger space for the same cost. Bottom line is that if you are trying to keep the already too costly expense of college low – off campus living can help!


Yes- adulting! Think about living on campus as someone holding your hand – and as you move farther and farther away, you are forced to learn to live and do things on your own. Things like learning how to grocery shop on a budget, cook, clean, and paying bills on time are all advantages to living more on your own!


Cons: The cons of living can be summed up as less convenience, but like most things – there are trade offs.

Increased commute time

As stated earlier, off-campus living will place you farther from campus and will therefore increase the time it takes to commute. When considering this factor, always ask yourself how it will be in the winter – this will most likely be the hardest transition!


Bus frequency

Along with a longer bus ride, buses generally do not run as frequently as they do close to campus. Now, instead of there being a bus to class every 5-10 minutes the wait time is closer to 15-30 minutes. This is nothing to be scared of – it will just take some extra planning and getting used to!

Increased responsibility

Every place is different, but living in a house or apartment will almost always make you responsible for paying all or some of the utilities. While you probably won’t be paying any more than you would to live on campus – being in charge of extra bills is never fun! On the other hand, this can be good for reasons like learning to pay bills on time and establishing credit – baby steps to adulthood my friends 🙂


Overall, off-campus living can be a wonderful change as it was for me – but it doesn’t agree with everyone! Hopefully this helps ease the process of deciding if off-campus living is the right choice for you!


Thanks for reading!


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