Tips on Transitioning From On-Campus Housing to Off-Campus Housing

Monday, November 11, 2019

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Students often are required to reside on-campus their first year at college or university. On-campus housing is an ideal stepping-stone for young adults transitioning into independent living. There are several benefits to living on-campus, such as:


  • Accommodations are usually all-inclusive. 
  • Meal plans offer ease and convenience to students. 
  • Different procedures for tenant screening and credit checks. 


When the time comes to move off-campus; however, life can get more complicated. Here are some suggestions on what students should do in order to transition into off-campus housing successfully. 

  1. Understand the fundamentals of budgeting. 

    On-campus housing usually requires only one payment monthly. On the other hand, there are several expenses often associated with moving into new off-campus accommodations. Although usually more affordable, the upfront costs with off-campus housing can be daunting. Students can expect to pay some, if not all, of the following: an application fee, a credit check/background fee, a security deposit, first and last month's rent, utility deposits, renter's insurance and more. Students should be fully aware that the initial cost of off-campus housing can sometimes add up to over $1,000. 

  2. Learn to buy groceries responsibly.

    Buying groceries "responsibly" means more than just eating a well-rounded diet - but also keeping within budget constraints. Grocery bills can add up fast! We recommend downloading apps like Flipp to find the best local grocery deals and Checkout51 for coupons and savings. Also many major retailers price-match, which can lead to more savings; especially on more expensive items like meat. 

  3. Manage personal freedoms without going overboard. 

    On-campus housing tends to have stricter rules and student conduct policies, in comparison to off-campus housing, which may have none. But with greater freedom, comes greater responsibility!

  4. Learn the ins and outs of lease agreements & subletting.

    On-campus housing usually has a formal residence agreement, but most students don't read it. It's important that students read their off-campus leases because they are filled with legal terms. Students should ask the landlord questions if they do not understand any part of the lease. Additionally, many markets will have firm 12-month leases or clauses not allowing students to recuperate rent money through subletting, so students must be aware of these conditions.

  5. Fairly divide bills and share roommate responsibilities.

    Most on-campus housing students had a roommate, but there wasn't much chores or managing shared expenses to do - except maybe splitting the cost of a pizza delivery every once in awhile. To avoid roommate conflict off-campus, it's always best to have a game-plan in mind for how to equally divide bills and other household responsibilities. There are a few apps to help students, such as:
  • Splitwise: A useful app for dividing rent and utility payments and splitting other household expenses. 
  • OurGroceries: If roommates share food and groceries this app helps itemize and synchronize the household grocery needs. 
  • Chorma: Chores aren't all that fun, but Chorma will make divvying up household duties less of a headache.



SEE ALSO:  How Tenants Can Screen & Research Potential Landlords

The Team