Attending college is an applaudable milestone and the beginning of exploring the different paths you can take to achieve your career and personal goals! However, attending college comes with its own decisions, which require serious consideration of different factors while considering your preferences. 

Besides choosing the course you want to take; your accommodation is one of the dynamics you need to consider as you can carefully live on- or off-campus. Here are a few factors you can consider as you decide whether to live on-campus or off-campus.

1. Finances

When living on-campus, most colleges require you to pay upfront the accommodation cost for the entire year, particularly if you’re an international student. This dynamic is put into place to collectively secure on-campus finances needed to run accommodations such as electricity, gas, and water.

On the other hand, most off-campus accommodations don’t require a lump sum payment making it more affordable. You might not have a lump sum ready to pay but can afford to pay rent monthly. For instance, you can get a part-time job, and when you get paid, you can use that payment to pay for rent, unlike on-campus living.

If you consider researching off-campus accommodation, you can visit online websites like or even local housing near your school to know how much you should pay for rent and its inclusions as well as their rules and regulations.

2. Visitors

When it comes to visitors, campus accommodation has more restrictions than off-campus living. In most cases, campus accommodation doesn’t allow your friends and loved ones to visit for prolonged periods. The space is designed specifically for students, meaning if they were to allow visitors to frequent the accommodation, there would be many inconveniences. For example, if you live on campus, you may not have a choice but to live with a roommate. In such a case, you can’t have other people in the room.

Off-campus living allows you to choose the kind of accommodation set-up, meaning you can have visitors in mind. For example, if you know that your family members will come frequently, you can choose a two or three-bedroom apartment. Whenever they visit, they can comfortably stay in the extra rooms available. However, you may have to inquire with the landlords about the rules regarding visitors as these vary in terms of duration and number of people at a time.

3.Schedule Flexibility

Residential authority figures such as house leaders are responsible for parts of your schedule when you live on campus. For example, you may be expected to be in residence at a specific time for safety and accountability purposes. For example, you may be allocated hours such as laundry or hours where visitors can hang out in the common area space.

Off-campus dynamics hardly have a say regarding your schedule, whereabouts, or movements. You can leave the premise and enter the space at your discretion. There usually are safety measures put in place, such as cameras in public spaces of the accommodation and at the entrance. You, however, don’t need to report to any authority regarding your schedule, meaning you enjoy more flexibility outside campus throughout your days.

4. Diet

Campus accommodation usually comes with a campus dining hall. Authorities are in charge of drawing up meals for each day. In most cases, your meals would have been factored into your tuition, meaning just as you’d have paid for accommodation for the year, you’d have paid for meals.

One of the disadvantages of this is that you might not enjoy the meals served in the dining hall. They may provide a few choices and try to be as inclusive as possible, taking into consideration different religions and beliefs regarding food. However, the choice will still be limited compared to off-campus living.

When you live off-campus, your diet is completely under your control. Whether you decide to cook or order in, eat or skip a meal, there are no authority figures to monitor or draw up a meal plan for you. You also avoid paying a lump sum for meal money since you’ll be buying on the go.


During summer breaks, you may have to find storage for your furniture as some campuses don’t allow students to leave their belongings. In some cases, the campus accommodation is used to host other groups of people living there during that time, meaning they require your space. Campus authorities may also be concerned that your property won’t be safeguarded when all persons have gone for summer break.

When you live off-campus, you can have a sound mind knowing that you lock and go. You may even decide that you don’t want to travel during the summer holiday, and that’s entirely up to you. Off-campus accommodation means your property is stored regardless of the season or your presence, provided that you continue to pay rent.


Living on campus means being comfortable with the fact that you need to be under authority protection at all times. This may mean having to undergo an inspection of your room for different reasons such as maintenance checks, abiding by room rules, and a general check-up of your well-being, such as your mental wellness and academic progress, by the relevant authority.

Off-campus living provides more privacy than on-campus accommodation. There won’t be an authority figure checking up on your living space or your academic progress. You’re responsible for seeing services in your community and campus regarding your wellness, and you’re encouraged to do so. However, such dynamics are on your terms and aren’t imposed on you.

7. Independence

The fact that there aren’t any authority figures drawing up schedules or monitoring your movements means you get to practice independence early on when you live off-campus. You learn life skills earlier than on-campus peers, such as paying monthly bills, budgeting, and planning for the day without any schedules set out for you. After you graduate, you may find that you assimilate easier into working dynamics than on-campus peers.


Living on or off-campus comes down to factors involved and preference. In some cases, you may be in a position where you don’t have a choice but to live on either side of the spectrum. Some of the factors to consider include your finances, family dynamics regarding visiting, your schedule, and diet preference. Storage and privacy dynamics also play a major role in your take on independence, and the skills developed thereby