As a first-year college student, there are various things you need to prioritize to make the most of your college life. One of these is finding the best student housing suitable for your needs.
While countless student housing options are available, not all of them have what you’re looking for or may meet your unique preferences. So, to ensure a great start to this new journey, take the time to get to know your accommodation options, and don’t rush the selection process. This is especially since doing so could lead you to a wrong choice, which can cost you time, money, and inconvenience.
To help you get started, here’s a guide to selecting the best student housing in college.
1) Know Your Options
As mentioned earlier, take the time to learn your options or what’s available within the campus vicinity. From affordable student accommodation to luxurious apartments, the options are endless. However, the best choice is the one that can accommodate your needs and preferences. For instance, if you’re looking for an exclusive housing option, you can check out sites like https://www.deltaphiapts.com and other similar resources offering affordable men’s housing.
But to give you a brief idea, here are some housing types you can consider on your list:
Most first-year students prefer to live on campus. Perhaps, the most obvious benefit of choosing on-campus student housing is its accessibility. This makes sense, especially if you aren’t familiar with the place yet, and wouldn’t want to worry about transportation. And due to its proximity, some would prefer this housing type to have extra time to sleep and prepare for classes than endure hours of commute.
Depending on your school of choice, some on-campus housing also has amenities like laundry machines, communal areas for socialization with other students, and meal plans you can opt to subscribe to once you start. All these things can contribute to a more seamless and convenient living situation in college.
Unfortunately, on-campus housing tends to be smaller than some student housing alternatives. Students who opt for this type will likely have to share their living spaces with somebody else. And in most cases, you don’t get to choose who your roommate will be. Although it allows you to meet new friends, living with strangers may sometimes result in conflicts. This is especially true if you have a different lifestyle.
In addition, the freedom and flexibility of living arrangements could be restricted, as there are usually dorm room policies to abide by and resident assistants (RAs) to answer to.
If you don’t want to deal with and follow the strict rules of on-campus student housing options, you can consider off-campus housing. Unlike on-campus housing, off-campus housing usually doesn’t have overnight guest restrictions and curfews.
With off-campus housing, you can rent the entire room for yourself, allowing you to create a fun learning environment suited to your needs. In addition, it can provide you with more storage and privacy. There are also common areas where you can socialize with other students.
Aside from being a pricier option, another notable downside of most off-campus housing choices is that they can be far from the campus, which often requires longer commutes and costly transportation fees. There’s also that added responsibility to set up and pay for utilities like internet, water, and electricity.
2) Assess Your Finances
Student housing is a huge expense for most college students. So, before you start your search and invest your time comparing your options, evaluate your finances and know your budget or the amount you can spend on student housing. This can help you narrow down your options better and avoid properties that are above your means.
As you create your budget, list down all your sources of income. For instance, are you working part-time jobs? Do you have a sponsor? Consider your expected monthly expenses too, which include food, bills, books and supplies, transportation costs, and rent, to name a few. By understanding your cash flow, you get to have a clear picture of your financial situation. This can help you set a more realistic budget for your college accommodation.
In addition, knowing your budget can also help you decide which student housing will fit your finances. For example, if your chosen student housing exceeds your budget, you can make adjustments like alternative living arrangements. And so, instead of living alone, you can find roommates to share the monthly fees.
3) Keep Location In Mind
As briefly discussed above, your housing option’s location is a critical factor to consider. Aside from the proximity to the campus and the convenience of having to travel less to and from school, you’d also want a place that’s highly accessible to other essentials.
For instance, you’d want your accommodation to have quick access to hospitals or pharmacies. This way, should you experience a medical emergency, you can seek assistance right away. It's also best to have commercial establishments like restaurants, supermarkets, or retail stores nearby for added convenience when buying food or getting supplies. After all, you wouldn’t want to have to travel far to get access to such necessities.
In addition, a student housing facility surrounded by various establishments can give off a vibrant community where you can feel safe and secure. This can be beneficial, especially if you have late classes.
4) Prioritize Comfort And Safety
Another thing on your list of considerations when searching for student housing is how comfortable and safe the neighborhood or place is. After all, your safety and security should be one of your priorities, especially since you’re likely to stay in that accommodation for a long time. You wouldn’t want to risk your well-being by staying in an uncomfortable and unsafe place.
Take the time to know the immediate area surrounding the student housing. Ensure it offers a comfortable and peaceful environment to help you relax and unwind after a long day of being on campus. A quiet environment does not just promote better rest but can also help you focus as you do your coursework and study.
If possible, get to know the other people staying in that area. For instance, if your chosen student housing is located in a suburban community, consider asking the community about their experience living in the area. Do they feel safe? Are there any instances of crime within the area?
Or perhaps, if it’s surrounded by establishments, explore the vicinity to know more about what’s in the area. For example, you wouldn’t want to stay in an environment near a warehouse or factory, as you’ll deal with noises that may disturb your rest. Aside from the noise, you might also deal with air pollution. Thus, consider checking the student housing environment to ensure the best comfort and safety as possible you deserve.
Besides assessing if the place is safe, check the security measures in place of your chosen accommodation. Ask the landlord if the building has a burglar alarm system and secured doors. A well-lit property equipped with fire alarms and fire extinguishers is also another factor to consider. All this can give you peace of mind and assure you of your and your belongings’ safety, whether you’re on the premises or not.
5) Search Online And View The Property In-Person
Searching for the best student housing in college is made easy with the internet. You can find countless websites with property listings in your desired location. However, while searching online is convenient, you should never skip viewing the properties in person.
There are some reasons to view or tour your preferred student housing options. One of these is that you’ll be able to see the location and property’s condition up close. Plus, you can get a well-balanced perspective from talking with the landlord and some of the current tenants.
When considering or viewing a student housing property, here are the things you should watch out for:
Pest infestation is one of the problems you wouldn’t want in your student housing experience. These include cockroaches, mice, fruit flies, rats, and slugs. In other cases, pests could be due to tenants leaving trash bins open or leftovers. But, regardless of the cause, landlords should be responsible for solving pest issues. When looking for signs of pest infestation, check around the trash bins, work surfaces, and kitchen.
Never get fooled into thinking dampness is only a minor issue, as it may result in mold growth, causing serious health problems in the long run. This is especially true if you have asthma and some health conditions that may affect your breathing.
When viewing a student housing property, check the ceilings and walls. Watch out for flaking wallpaper or paint, a musky smell, and black mold patches because these are the tell-tale signs. So, before moving in, ensure your landlord has addressed the damp issue to experience comfort throughout your stay.
Fittings And Furnishings
A beautiful leather sofa could be an excellent selling point in student housing, but the landlord may remove it as soon as you move in. So, check what’s included in your room before signing a contract.
It’s also an advantage if the landlord provides a mattress and other pieces of furniture to make your stay comfortable. However, a property equipped with various things, such as appliances, comes with a cost.
Everybody knows that energy bills are one of the costliest expenses, particularly if they’re not included in the rent. So, ensure that the property is well-insulated, as it can make a difference to your monthly bills.
While you may not be able to check the attic’s insulation, you should focus on checking whether there are double-glazed windows, drafty spots, good heating systems, and secure doors. You should also try to have a feel of the walls. If they’re cold, it can be a sign of poor insulation and may result in dampness.
Even if doing such checks can be time-consuming, it can help you enjoy savings in the future. Moreover, you can guarantee you won’t deal with insulation issues, which may cause discomfort during your resting time.
6) Consider The Room Size
With the rising demands for student accommodation, most purpose-built student housing has evolved. Unfortunately, you may still encounter options that aren’t worth renting. Some of these include student housing with small rooms and costly monthly rent. For this reason, always check the room size before you finalize your decision.
Although viewing room photos online is good, nothing beats seeing the properties yourself. With this, you can guarantee that the room is big enough to accommodate your things, such as college necessities and wardrobe. The room’s size is also an essential factor to consider, particularly if you want to invite your classmates often for a group study session.
7) Pay Attention To The Provided Facilities
As a freshman, you must pay attention to the facilities provided in student housing. It’s because some facilities are necessary to enjoy a decent daily routine. For example, if you want to stay connected with your friends or family back home, student housing with a stable internet connection is an excellent choice. So, ask if there’s Wi-Fi available and whether it’s included in your monthly rent.
You must also ask about the water, electricity, and other facilities like laundry areas. This way, you can be sure that you won’t deal with issues over time after you’ve decided to stay at your selected student housing.
8) Check The Terms And Conditions
Before making a final decision, don’t forget to understand the landlord’s terms and conditions carefully. Check the details regarding the utilities included. Sometimes, utilities are covered in the rent, while others are not. These may include electricity, water bill, gas, laundry room services, trash pickup, and laundry room services.
Aside from the utilities, you should also check the additional charges and length of the lease. You must also ask about the sublease terms and breakage fee should you need to relocate.
9) Ask Around
If you’re unsure where to find suitable student housing, your best option is to talk to some students you know at your university and ask for suggestions. You can also consider using student forums. Former and current students can give you insights on various options, tips to get the best place, and things they wish they’d known.
Choosing the best student housing in college can be challenging and requires some work upfront. However, you’ll be grateful over time once you find the right one suited for your needs. Taking the time and doing your best can help save you from headaches and hassles, allowing you to enjoy your freshman year and college life.