How Do I Find Student Accommodation?

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How Do I Find Student Accommodation as a bachelor student in the US?

College can be an exciting time for any young student’s life, as these are the years when you choose a career path that will shape your entire future. As an international applicant, you’ve already gone through an extensive checklist of deadlines during the admission process, but you still need to find a place to live while your pursue your studies. When you’re in search of a student room, you’ll likely have many different choices at your disposal, but how to you pick the right one to meet your needs? Here is an overview of each type of housing, along with some of the positives and negatives for every option.

  • 1. Dormitories

    For many colleges and universities across the world, the dormitory is the standard for on-campus housing. These residences are traditionally clustered in one part of a school’s campus, although they can sometimes be spread out in several different areas to accommodate a larger student population. While some dorms are constructed as high-rise buildings, others maintain a lower-profile design with only two or three floors per building. One of the largest positive aspects of living in a dormitory is the social scene that can’t be replicated in any other setting. As a new student, you’re instantly surrounded by a dozen or more people who are in the same situation as yourself, and that can go a long way towards building friendships that could last the rest of your adult life. You’ll also be right in the thick of everything on your campus, as dorms are often built near dining halls and recreational facilities such as fitness centers, movie theaters and athletic venues. Beyond the recreational amenities near traditional dorms, you’ll also have other conveniences close by such as computer labs and laundry facilities. If you’re looking for the traditional collegiate experience, there’s no better place to live than a dormitory. Despite the many positive aspects of dorm living, there are some drawbacks you should keep in mind before committing to this type of student accommodation. If you have trouble with large groups of people, this might not be the best situation for you, as you’ll probably be sharing bathrooms and other common facilities with a dozen or more students. Every dormitory has its own personality, and you might find it hard to study if your fellow residents spend a lot of time partying and making noise. You’ll also need to contend with the possibility of having a random roommate for your first year.

  • 2. Campus Suites

    If you like the convenience of on-campus living, but you’d also like a little more space than a traditional dormitory room, an on-campus suite is a great upgrade. While you won’t find this type of accommodation at every university, you’ll learn they’re quite popular at any school where it’s an option. These units are generally designed with two or three dorm-style rooms clustered around a central common room with a full kitchen. Suites offer many of the same positives as traditional dormitories, as they’re generally located right on campus with every amenity right around the corner. You’ll also have to contend with a lot fewer people, as each suite has between four and six people living in it. Even if you have a roommate, you’ll probably be sharing a larger bedroom, and you won’t have to fight over bathroom time with a dozen other students. While an on-campus suite is one of the most desirable student accommodation options, there are some negatives associated with this type of housing. Since they’re so popular, you’ll have to compete with plenty of other students in search of this coveted living arrangement. The extra space also means a higher cost, and you still might not be able to choose your own roommate if you’re in your first year. There’s also the possibility of the environment getting loud and distracting, which could interfere with your studies.

  • 3. Fraternity or Sorority Housing

    Although fraternities and sororities aren’t as popular as they once were, they do provide excellent social opportunities for those willing to go through an initiation process and pay dues. While some members of these organizations choose to live on-campus in dormitories, others elect to live within the fraternity or sorority house. Much like a traditional dormitory, you’ll be living in close quarters with a lot of other students, but unlike a dorm, you all have something in common as members of the same organization. Since you’ve gone through the same recruiting process as your fellow brothers or sisters, you’ll be able to know your roommate instead of being assigned a random student. You’re also right in the middle of everything when it comes to your social calendar, as all of the parties, meetings and other gatherings take place right downstairs. There are definite negatives to living in a fraternity or sorority house, which is why you should think long and hard before making this commitment. With so much social activity taking place in the building, it’s easy to lose track of your studies, which could make your grades suffer. It can also be quite expensive to live in one of these houses, with rent costing upwards of $500 per month for a shared bedroom.

  • 4. Off-campus Apartments

    Campus living is a great introduction to the college experience, but it isn’t for everyone, which is why you’ll generally find plenty of off-campus accommodations in the area around any major university. Since every dwelling has its own design and policies, there’s no uniform way to describe this option, but you can expect to enjoy a more independent lifestyle than you would in a dormitory or suite. Independence is the biggest draw for an off-campus student flat, as you get to make your own decisions about your lifestyle. As long as you stay within your budget, you’ll have the opportunity to live in a private dwelling or get a roommate from your social circle to make a larger unit more affordable. Since you’ll also have your own kitchen, you have the ability to control your nutrition better than you would at the dining hall. This is really an excellent option for older students, as it helps with the eventual transition from student life into living as an independent adult. With so many positives, it’s hard to imagine negatives to off-campus apartments, but there are some factors to consider. Independence comes with a lot of responsibility, and you have to take care of everything on your own. When you live on campus, you simply go to the dining hall for your next meal, but you need to go grocery shopping as an apartment resident. You’ll also have to sign a lease before moving in, and that often comes with a security deposit equal to an entire month’s rent, so it takes some financial preparation to take advantage of this living situation.

  • 5. The On-campus Advantage

    Now you know more about every type of student housing option, you need to think about which situation works best for you. Since many of the choices involve living on campus, you should consider the many positives: Close to your classesNo need for an automobileExcellent social opportunitiesDining halls instead of cooking for yourself While there are plenty of good things about on-campus living, you won’t get the full picture unless you also consider the drawbacks. When deciding if you want to live on your college campus, be mindful of the negatives: Less privacyTougher competition for rooms due to limited supplyHarder to focus on studies due to distractionsMore expensive rent If you’re still having trouble deciding if on-campus life is right for you, many colleges offer the opportunity to visit prior to your enrollment. You’ll be paired up with a current student who will show you around, and you’ll get to experience everything for yourself.

  • 6. The Off-campus Experience

    Living in an off-campus apartment can be intimidating to first-timers, but there are plenty of students who wouldn’t have it any other way. Ask the residents of nearby apartments, and you’ll likely hear a long list of benefits: More affordable rentThe ability to subletIndependent lifestyleA quiet atmosphere conducive to studying Much like the on-campus options, there are disadvantages to off-campus life. Before you sign a lease with a landlord, consider some of the drawbacks: You might need to drive or take public transportation to class every dayExtra chores such as grocery shoppingWithdrawn from college’s social aspectsHard to break a lease While it’s not as easy to visit an off-campus apartment prior to enrolling, you might have the opportunity to ask some of your friends who already live in this situation. The complex will also let you tour a sample unit before you sign a lease. Student housing is just one aspect of college life, and it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything. The pressure is even greater when you’re an international student, as you also need to apply for a visa and deal with the culture shock of living in a new country. If you need help navigating any aspect of the collegiate application process, turn to the experts at SchoolApply for a diverse array of resources to help you along the way.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.