The pros and cons of living on Campus



Many first-year students make the choice to reside on campus, as it allows them a more convenient way of living. Pictured are freshmen Kamiya and Chelsea as they bond in their C.J. Dunn Tower.

Tammia Jacobs, Staff Reporter/Writer

Some college students reach a point in their journey when deciding between getting an apartment or living in an on-campus residence hall.  However,  before making such a decision, it is important to weigh out some of the pros and cons of both living arrangements so students can be more comfortable in their home away from home.

There is a misconception that living in a residence hall is expensive and can cause students not to do well academically. However, there are reasons why it can be very beneficial to choose to live on campus, especially during your first few years of college.  In fact, many schools such as Alabama State University required freshmen to reside on campus during their freshman year (Pre-COVID-19). 

Freshman housing is usually geared toward ensuring success as a first-year student and includes certain resources within the building that other residence halls do not have. In addition, living on campus increases social, educational and recreational opportunities.

“Living here on campus has always been more convenient for me,” said junior psychology major Alexis Morrow.  “I save a lot of money on gas, because I don’t have to commute to get to my classes.” 

Being in college allows for opportunities to meet new people and make new friends from all walks of life. With all the new bonds created, students will undoubtedly be attending more social events than ever before. Students who live on campus are often more involved in school clubs and organizations.

“Students who stay off-campus do not get an authentic college experience,” said sophomore biology major Kyla Palmer. “A big part of the experience is about the interaction that we have with our classmates and the school spirit events. I never miss the exciting stuff that happens on campus because it’s so easy to access when you live on campus.” 

According to a study conducted by Alexander Astin, founding director of Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, senior students who live on campus were more engaged with advisors and faculty than their off-campus peers. Quality interactions between students and other students and between students and faculty are linked with better learning engagement and, ultimately, academic success.

Although living on campus may mean limited privacy and space, and some residence halls certainly require renovations, there is no guarantee that a student will be assigned their desired residence hall.

Those students who prefer the ultimate independence of off-campus living seem to enjoy the freedom to choose where they live and how much space they need for themselves.

“I got an apartment for the first time this year, and it is the best decision that I could have made,” said senior public relations major AJ Abdullah. “While it is a lot of responsibility, I need to have my own room and my own privacy. Many of my classes are online, so I don’t have to come on campus for many reasons. It works out really well.” 

While going to college is an independent steppingstone, living off-campus also gives you a grand feeling of maturity, especially if that student is paying for it. Living off-campus can end up being cheaper than on-campus if you find the right type of place. Some residence halls at ASU currently cost students up to $1,300 a semester. 

Perhaps paying a monthly rent and utility bill will work out as a more economical alternative. Private apartments are usually quiet and have very few distractions, and therefore are better for studying. One of the most beneficial aspects is building credit and having a rental history, making it easier to get a place after you graduate.

Living off-campus may not be a good choice for those students who have a majority of in-person classes that would require transportation or gas money. Some students also rely on scholarships or government funding to pay for housing, which will not cover the cost of an off-campus apartment.