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Before you head off to college, there are many decisions you have to make. One of the biggest ones is where to stay. There are so many options available. Some people will recommend staying at home, while others will be in favour of staying on campus. Each option has its share of pros and cons. This post will look at the pros and cons of living on campus and in student residences.

Living on campus in the dorms is part of the college experience. The option offers great convenience; thus, the reason it has always been a popular student housing option since time immemorial. However, it is good to note that living on campus is not for everyone. That is why before you make your decision on where to stay, you need to weigh the pros and cons of living on campus vs off campus.

Pros of Living on Campus

Living on campus is quite popular. You have probably seen it in movies, heard about it from friends or experienced it firsthand on a campus tour. The facilities have remarkable offerings. While you may not want to live on campus, some universities require international students to live on campus for their freshman year. As you weigh your options, taking a look at the pros and cons can help answer the question of whether it is better to live on campus or not. Here are the advantages of living on campus.


The main purpose of living on campus is to create a community. This is why many universities ask new students to live on campus. One of the main pros of living on campus is that it gives students a chance to create bonds with other students. This is important because college is not like high school. Much time is spent learning, and the classes you take will be limited to the degree you are taking. This means if you don’t have a social life outside of class, you will spend most of your time with other economics, chemistry or theatre students. This can feel suffocating.

You’re better off living on campus, meaning you will be socializing with other students when not studying. This will help you not only learn from other students not in your class but also keep you tuned into the exciting things that are happening in and around campus.


Living among your peers further means lots of fun activities to engage in. The main disadvantage of living off campus is that there aren’t as many activities to engage in with your peers. In the dorms, there are numerous membership and group opportunities. There are also many events that students create and attend together. A good example is a dorm-based movie night or a bake-off contest. Any day or season, there is always something fun happening in the dorm. The activities range from potluck picnics and snowman building to impromptu soccer games. You can join just any activity that interests you. This is unlike the off-campus living, where you have to keep an eye out for fun activities, and in most cases, you will have to pay for them.


Why is living on campus better than living off campus? The answer is convenience. Another great advantage of living on campus is that you will always be a few minutes from class – no more dealing with morning traffic or having to sacrifice sleep to get to class on time. You also don’t have to worry about skipping breakfast because you don’t have the time. The dorm cafeteria has many delicious breakfast options to pick from. Best of all, you never have to worry about cleaning up after yourself. There is a cleaning staff to keep the communal areas impeccable.


If you are still wondering why is living on campus better, another reason is the infrastructure. The dorms are designed to make a student’s life easier. That is why most dorms include furnished rooms, cable TV, Wi-Fi, on-site support staff, gyms, laundry facilities and security measures. While you may have to share your room with another student, the perks are irresistible as far as the infrastructure goes.

Easy Access to the Gym and Library

Having a gym facility on-site means you can hit the gym as late as 10.00 PM. Easy access to libraries further make it easy for you to organize an overnight study session, especially if you are waiting for a major exam.


In addition to the CCTVs and guards who are onsite, when living on-campus, you will never be travelling alone. There are always students roaming the grounds. You can even summon an escort by phone call. There is also the fact that every institution has emergency boxes on campus as well as campus police. The disadvantages of living off campus include managing your own security.

Job Opportunities

Did you know you can apply for a job while living on campus? This is possible if you are an upperclassman. For example, you can apply to be a Resident Advisor. With most of these jobs, you will get the bonus of discounted or free room. The job will also look good on your resume. Moreover, spending a lot of time in the proximity of other people fosters comradery. This can lead to relationships that go beyond your campus years.

Save Money

Although living on campus is not free, you will save a lot more money than when living off campus. This is because the rooms are affordable and you will save money that would otherwise be spent on public transport or parking. There are also dormitories that offer meals. This means you never have to worry about setting aside money for food.

Cons of Living on Campus

While the benefits are irresistible, there are several disadvantages to living on campus. They include the following:

Less Privacy

This is, without a doubt, the biggest disadvantage of living on campus. Being able to make ready-made friends also means escaping from them will be a lot harder. If you’re an introvert or enjoy personal space, dorm life might be a tough transition for you. There is also the fact that the dorm atmosphere might not be ideal for studying or sleeping due to the noise. Therefore, as you weigh the pros and cons of living on campus vs off campus, you must keep this major con in mind. You can also check the available housing options to find the one that offers a more favourable environment. Keep in mind that different forms often have varying cultures. If you need a studious or quiet environment, you can search for honours dorms or housing with stricter noise policies or curfew.

Less Freedom

While housing policies are there to create a suitable environment for students, some policies may seem absurd. For example, many campuses have policies that dictate the behaviour of students in their on-campus housing. The policies may range from no open flames to more draconian rules such as no singing in showers. The majority of schools also regulate visitors, furnishings and drinking. Make sure you review all the housing rules. Some rules can be conservative in religious universities.


Although living on campus is more exciting and convenient, it can be a tad more expensive. Studies have shown that living on campus can be two times as expensive as renting a space off campus. The cost may even be unmanageable when you consider that, in most cases, you have to pay upfront for a whole semester or even a year. Another major issue is that many campus housings close during the holidays. This is when maintenance and upgrades take place. What this means is if you are not heading home for the holidays, you will have to find an alternative place to stay during the holidays. All in all, even as you consider the expenses of living on campus, you need to keep in mind that the recurring expenses are much lower than in off-campus living. This is because living on campus is virtually all-inclusive, with transportation, internet, food, rent, utilities and other things. You simply pay one price for everything.

Space Constraints

The majority of dorms are small. You will not have as much room to store your stuff. Moreover, having to share the dorm with another student can make the room more cramped. You have to think carefully about what to buy and bring to your room. This is unlike living off campus, where you can rent an apartment as big as you want.

Bottom Line

After looking at the cons of living on campus, you might feel like living off campus is better. The truth is that it is not. Both options have their share of pros and cons. The main disadvantages of living off campus are isolation and distance, which leads to lengthier commutes, less community, and increased accountability. Considering it can be hard to live on your own while trying to adjust to campus life, living on campus is undoubtedly the best place to start. You simply need to find a campus dorm that appeals to most of your preferences. Speaking with other students and reading reviews can give you an idea of what to expect in a campus living arrangement and the best places to rent.

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