Dorm Vs Apartment | Which is Best?

College DormDorm Vs Apartment

When it comes to university housing, you have several options. The two most popular, dorms and on-campus apartments, have unique advantages and disadvantages. This can make the decision very difficult, especially if you have never lived on your own before. The added pressure of housing and contract deadlines does not make it any easier, but more information about your options will.

Dorm Vs Apartment – DORM LIFE:

Dorms, also known as residence halls, are often your most expensive option. They are required for many freshman and even some sophomores depending on what school you attend. Other distinct traits include:

No bill responsibility. Many universities will even pay for cable television, high-speed Internet access, and a basic telephone line. In most cases you will not have to worry about water, electricity or other utilities: just pay your rent every month or semester and enjoy infinite hot water and no billing.

Required meal plans. Not every dorm resident must purchase a meal plan: some colleges have built dorms that include kitchenettes so that there is flexibility in your dining routines. There are also dorms and schools with options within the meal plans themselves. For example: many schools offer “weekday only” plans so that you can find your own food on weekends, which is when you are most likely to call out for pizza or other fast food.

If you are not that fortunate, you must buy a few hundred meals every semester. It is highly unlikely that you will use all of these meals, and most schools do not refund the cost of unused meals or allow your meals to carry over into the following semester. The cost of each meal plan ranges widely from school to school, but expect to pay at least one thousand dollars per semester just for food that you might not actually consume.

RAs and Hall Directors on site twenty-four hours a day. The staff at each dorm is a blend of fellow students and trained professionals, all of whom are there to answer questions, enforce rules, plan dorm-wide activities, and offer advice as you work your way into the first year or so of college. They can be tyrants or best friends, depending on their personalities. Either way, you know that there will always be someone there when you need advice or help of any kind.

Peer counselors. Like RAs, these students are trained to help you. They might teach classes in the dorm on forming good study habits. They could form study groups so that people can “group up” according to their major and work together to earn higher grades. They can also plan activities, offer personal advice, and lend a friendly ear if you have a problem that you just cannot talk to your new friends about.

Activities in and around the dorm. Many dorms plan activities ranging from movie nights to door-decorating contests. Some dorms also coordinate intramural sports teams, friendly competitions between floors or wings, and charity or fundraising events.

Access to equipment and other goodies. Some dorms might have basketball courts right outside. Others could have billiards tables or big-screen TVs in the common areas. You can also find barbecue equipment, games to check out and play with other dorm residents, and even free DVD borrowing. An overwhelming majority of dorms include necessities like laundry rooms; some even put them on each floor so you will not have to lug three weeks’ worth of filthy, nasty clothing up two flights of stairs.

Roommates. This is not a given, but many universities still offer double rooms. Others have figured out that students need privacy, especially when finals week comes around, and offer either private rooms or private bedrooms within shared suites. You might have to share common areas with one or more people of your sex, but at least you have your own bedroom area.

If you decide to move into a dorm, you probably have several to choose from. Factors that you should consider include:

-Overall cost. Newer dorms will often cost more than the older ones. Try to find something that was built a few years ago or more. You will still have the luxury of a nice, new building without the added costs that most universities tack on to your rent because they are still paying off the new dorms.

-Location. You might have a specific dorm in mind that seems ideal, but how far will you walk every day to and from classes? It might be gorgeous weather on the day you select your preferred dorm, but remember that winter comes, the wind is cold, and rain destroys textbooks.

-Age. If the dorm is fifty years old and has not been remodeled since your mother and father carved their initials on the windowsill back when they were in college, you might want to look for something else. You might love the price, but what if something goes wrong and the university cannot get around to fixing it for a few days? Remember: freezing-cold showers might be tolerable for one or two days, but no longer & especially if midterms are coming.

-Privacy. Can you get a private room? Do you even want one? If so, check with the Housing office (usually their Web site) for floor plans and information. Some dorms do not offer private space, while others offer nothing but.

-Activities, equipment and other accouterments. If you are madly in love with basketball, you might enjoy the dorm with the court outside more than the one with the foosball table in the corner.

Dorm Vs Apartment  – APARTMENTS:

Most on-campus apartments will be cheaper than dorms. This is the primary advantage for students on a tight budget & or people who simply wish to have more than a few dollars of loan refunds in their bank accounts. Other advantages include:

Privacy. You can take on a roommate or two if you wish, but it is not necessary. Many schools offer plenty of one-bedroom apartments.

More space. Depending on the architects and their preferred floor plans, you could have anywhere from a couple to a few dozen extra square feet of space. Add this to the privacy factor and you are looking at one sweet place to live!

Few, if any, bills to pay. Some complexes include everything from basic telephones and cable to high-speed Internet access free of charge. Others require you to pay for everything, including electricity and water. It depends on the complex and your university: in fact, many schools offer a variety of options.

Your very own kitchen with basic appliances. You might have to furnish your own microwave, but you probably have the refrigerator and oven/range already installed. This full and complete kitchen, however small it might be, allows you to prepare any meal you like, including snacks.

No meal plan. Typically, universities do not expect apartment-dwelling students to purchase any sort of meal plan. You can still eat in most cafeterias if you pay a nominal fee every time you visit.

Fewer social activities and rules. If you do not appreciate curfews and other rules that you thought you had left behind at home, an apartment is more suited to your needs. There are often apartment managers on site twenty-four hours a day & as well as maintenance crews & but you probably will not find RAs or Hall Directors anywhere near your complex.

Activities and other accouterments. Many complexes have swimming pools, barbecue areas and other places for residents to socialize if they so desire. Others feature gyms, common areas, and vending machines. In any case, you will probably find necessities like laundry facilities, as you would in a dorm.

Furniture. If you find yourself in a furnished apartment, it will cost more than its unfurnished counterpart. In many cases, this is still cheaper than living in a dorm. If you must provide your own furniture (bed, desk, lamp, and everything else), you can pick out your own. Just think: once again you can fall asleep in your very own bed that does not have somebody else’s unidentifiable stains and odor all over it.

Fewer inspections. In a dorm, RAs can come in any time to check out your room. This is to ensure that everyone is living up to basic human standards, i.e. not piling up discarded pizza boxes to the ceilings or dismantling smoke detectors. It can still be annoying, but it is not as much of a concern in your own apartment. Housing officials, Campus Police and complex managers may still come in at any time, without any warning, but it is usually less frequent than in a dorm.

Dorm Vs Apartment – WHICH TO CHOOSE

If you have already spent time in a dorm, you already know what it is like. For the most part, you can expect the rest of your college experience to be about the same. You might meet different people, change roommates, and see different RAs take over for those who graduate or move out, but the overall experience does not change much.

The same is true for an apartment. If you have already lived on your own somewhere else (i.e. before college), you already know its advantages. For the most part, living on your own in a college apartment is very similar to living on your own in a non-college apartment. The main difference is that you probably attend classes in the morning and work evenings or weekends, versus starting the job first thing.

Here is a comparison that will help match your personality and needs to the type of living arrangement you should consider first. This is not exact science because each person is different, but it will give you a great starting point.

Dorms are better for students who:

-Are under 21 years of age. Some schools assign priority levels to available apartments; one of the components is the student’s age.

-Have never been away from home before. The dorm is a less radical transition because it offers more in the way of social activities, counselors, advisers and directors. In other words: you will always have someone there for help or advice, and there should be plenty of ways to make new friends.

-Do not have any desire to cook for themselves. If you do not want to cook, go with the dorm. This way you can get onto the meal plan and eat in the cafeteria as many times as you want every semester. You can also change things up with take-out orders, visits home, or barbecues with friends who are happy to pick up the tongs.

Apartments are better for students who do not fit the above characteristics, but also:

-Enjoy more privacy. If you just cannot tolerate the thought of having a roommate, try an apartment.

-Prefer coming up with their own social activities, and who can make friends easily without help. If this describes your personality, you will not need any extra help & or gentle nudges & to jump-start your social life.


Now that you know whether you prefer a dorm or apartment, you must narrow down your options. Factors to consider, all of which can be tracked down at your school’s Housing Office Web site, include:

-Price per month/semester. When factoring, include meal-plan rates, any bills that you are responsible for paying (such as cable TV), and laundry costs. Some apartments actually include a washer and dryer in each unit for a few extra dollars per month, which is often cheaper than feeding quarters into a machine that you must share with fifty other students.

-Available appliances. Some dorms provide you with a mini-fridge; others require that you bring your own. Apartments can include microwaves. Use the new information to make a list of what you have to bring along and what can stay at home.

-Other amenities. If you do not like swimming, there really is not much point in paying more every month for a complex with a pool. If you really enjoy working out at the gym, you might use the online map at your school’s Web site to figure out how far your preferred housing complexes are from the gym.

-Age. You might save a hundred bucks by moving into an apartment or dorm that was built fifty years ago, but sometimes a newer place is worth the extra money. If possible, look at photographs or take Web tours before you make a decision.


-Ask to see the dorm or apartment before you sign any contracts. While photos and videos are nice, they are not quite the same as walking through the place on your own. If possible, take parents or friends along so that you can have their opinions.

-If you know anyone who already lives on campus, ask for his or her opinion. That person will know more about the pros and cons of your home-to-be than the Web site will ever be able to reveal.

-Ask about short-term versus long-term contracts. If the school offers a longer option, avoid it. You will have the chance to renew the shorter one before anyone else so that you can remain in the same room or unit, so do not worry about being booted because someone else wants your space. The advantage to the shorter contracts is that, if you discover that you absolutely hate the place, you can move somewhere else sooner without risking expensive contract-breakage fees.
Dorm Vs Apartment, Dorm Vs Apartment  Help

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