For a student who has enrolled at a college or university, there are two primary options: living on and off-campus. Most, if not all, higher education facilities provide accommodations for students at the campus at extra cost. They are intended for students to live there comfortably, surrounded by their peers. Another option is to find housing outside of the campus in one of the many opportunities provided by landlords. Depending on the specific area, doing so may be both cheaper and more expensive than campus housing, and the ease of finding an acceptable location also varies. Both options have their pros and cons, which warrant further exploration.
The primary advantage of campus accommodation is easy access to all of the university’s other facilities. It is located on the facility’s grounds and designed so that it is easy to visit the library, teaching buildings, and all other necessary conveniences. As such, the student wastes less time on the commute and has easier access to lecturers for the clarification of any questions they may have. Another benefit is that the student will be living among others like them, creating a sense of community due to their shared purpose. Ultimately, if one wishes to study hard and maximize their academic achievements by working as part of a team, campus accommodations are highly advantageous.
Conversely, for more individualistic students, off-campus accommodations may be the superior option. With less oversight and no shared accommodations such as dorms, they can enjoy improved freedom and privacy to pursue what they desire. Additionally, the resident will have exclusive use of utilities such as the kitchen and the shower, which are often shared in campus housing. One can also choose to live with people they know and trust, even if those friends study in other departments and would have been living in a different dorm if on campus. Overall, with the choice to seek housing on one’s own comes improved independence for those who desire it, letting them make more choices and deal with the consequences, positive or otherwise.
With that said, both choices have considerable potential for problems to develop. When searching for housing on one’s own, it is possible to settle on a location that one later finds to have significant issues. One may also miss out on on-campus networking, which is a significant part of postgraduate education. Campus accommodations are also not blameless, as the local communities tend to develop problems such as widespread alcohol abuse (Brooks 117). One will also almost always have to deal with roommates, and if they fail to establish a positive relationship, the tensions may lead to problems developing long-term. Overall, there is a potential for many unexpected (from one’s perspective) problems to develop, regardless of their choice.
Overall, the choice of whether to live on campus or off it depends on one’s personality and preferences. More community-minded people, as well as those who do not wish to spend excessive effort on looking for housing, will likely prefer campus accommodations. Conversely, individualists and people who are not afraid of putting in the effort to maximize advantages to themselves may benefit from living in locations they choose themselves. The potential for problems in either case is also similar, though the specific issues will likely be different in nature. With that said, in the current circumstances of online education, the issue becomes moot in many regards, as for most, studying remotely from home is the most cost-effective choice by far, and campus living may not be an option at all.
Brooks, David, et al. Campus Life: In Search of Community. InterVarsity Press, 2019.