Should You Live On Campus Your Freshman Year?

So you've been accepted to your dream school (actually, during these scholastically competitive days, just about any school acceptance should be considered a dream), and now you are trying to decide whether or not you should live on campus. I'm just going to come right out and say it — if it's your first year and you can afford it, all signs point to yes. Living on campus during your first year immediately immerses you into your college's community, and as with acclimating yourself with any new environment, that's something that's extremely important to take into account. Even if you consider yourself to be a social butterfly, and feel like you can make friends without having to dorm, there are still some other significant factors to consider...

And what are these factors? Time, convenience, dining plans, school facilities, student life, budget benefits, sporting events, and diverse friendships. Yes, that's right, living on campus affects each and every one of these aspects of your scholastic life. College is about learning, but it's also about living and coming of age. Choosing to dorm during your first year can be a difficult decision, but if you have the funding and opportunity, it's probably the right one. Now let's talk some details.

1. Time and convenience

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Living on campus is convenient, and when it comes down to it, a giant time saver. You don't have to deal with driving, traffic, and parking — instead you can literally roll out of your bed five minutes before class and make it in time to get your favorite seat. It may seem trivial, but chances are that your college days are going to be packed with school, work, and extracurricular activities, so every minute counts.

2. Dining plans

When you live on campus, your housing fees will include a dining plan, and when you're a broke college student, that's kind of a big deal. Most campuses have multiple dining halls and on-campus markets where you can exchange a swipe of your student ID card for something to eat. It's magical. It's also another huge time saver, which as I mentioned earlier, is key in college.

3. School facilities


If there's one thing too many college kids take for granted, it's a school's available facilities for students. Libraries, gyms, computer labs — the list goes on and on. Having a student health center you can walk to and a free pool you can swim in is insanely amazing. The amount of school facilities that are available to you when you live on campus are a huge luxury, and they're usually in better condition than most of the public facilities found in cities.

4. Student life

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One of the greatest things about going to college is being able to feel a part of a larger community of your peers. If you live off-campus, you're isolating yourself from the active and vibrant student life at your school. Whether it's an on-campus protest, the school's television channel, or a student life club that meets in the residence halls, you don't want to miss out on the action.

5. Budget benefits

Colleges understand that you're going to be prioritizing your time studying, not working — and their housing costs typically reflect that. Student housing is usually a lot more affordable than off-campus housing, especially if you're in a big city. Choosing to live with multiple roommates can also help cut costs in the residence halls.

6. Sporting events

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Ever tried to park on campus during a game day? Yeah, it's a suck-fest. If you live on campus, you not only don't have to worry about finding parking to catch the biggest game of the semester, but you get to partake in the pre-game pep rallies and school spirit that engulf the campus the entire day. Oh, and if you like to do a little pre-gaming before the big game? Being on campus is beyond helpful.

7. Diverse friendships


You'll meet some of your best friends in college — ones who you'll keep in touch with for the rest of your life — but if you're living off campus, you might never get the chance to meet them. It's true that you will probably make tons of friends in your classes and hanging around your department, but by living on campus you'll get to meet students that are outside of your field, diversifying your friend group and introducing you to some really cool people you might otherwise never have become friends with.

Images: Nataly A, York College of PA, 401(K) 2012/Flickr, Getty (5)