Starting college is exciting! It’s the time in your life when you step away from your parents and head out into the world, maybe for the first time.
One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is choosing where to live. This can be overwhelming if you haven't taken the time to review your options. You will need to consider the things you are bringing with you and what you will be leaving behind. No matter which space you choose—dorm room or apartment, your living space will most likely be smaller than what you have now.
It’s also important to consider what kind of college environment you are looking for. Want to be in the center of everything, class, and the student body? A dorm room is going to be your best choice. Are you serious about your need for quiet and study time? In that case, you may want to consider living off-campus in an apartment.
Dorm Room vs. Apartment
The biggest difference between a dorm room and an apartment is the amount of space you'll have. Dorm rooms at colleges and universities average around 12 by 19 feet. This is approximately 228 square feet of actual living space. That’s about the size of a one-car garage. Within that space, you will probably have a roommate. This will give you 114 square feet, or the size of an average doctor's exam room. This is all the space you will have to sleep, store your belongings, and have a place to study. On the plus side, you will be on campus and there are many other places to study, like libraries and common areas.
A college apartment gives you a lot more freedom in size and layout. You can choose the square footage—from around 100 square feet to 2600 square feet—to meet your needs. With this setup, you can live with roommates of your choosing and split the cost of rent and utilities. This allows for a much larger shared space and a room of your own for privacy and quiet study time. You also won't have to share a bathroom with an entire floor of people. If you're lucky, you won't have to share one at all!
If you can afford to, you can also choose a smaller apartment and live on your own. A micro-apartment or studio usually ranges from 100 to 300 square feet. This also includes your own kitchen and bathroom. If you’re a more independent person, this might be your ideal living situation.
What Are Square Feet?
A square foot is a scale of measurement. It is a square of one foot in width by one foot in length. Basic tiles that you may have in your bathroom are generally 1 square foot each. You will want to be sure the square footage that you are being offered is the total space of the apartment. This will include spaces like clothing closets and utility closets. If they are quoting a livable space, this is only giving you the square footage of the rooms you would live in, like the living room, bedroom and kitchen.
Take the Time and Reduce Stress
Whether you’re choosing to live in a dorm room on campus or opting for a more private space off-campus, take the time to weigh your options. Student apartments are available near local campuses. They come in many layouts and sizes. There are also some that are already furnished. Research will help you make an informed decision and reduce some of your stress during this huge transition into adulthood.
Are you looking for an off-campus apartment? Coming soon, our searchable marketplace will let you browse your options with ease, while filtering based on your personal preferences. Let us help find the perfect first apartment for you!