How To Pick The Right College Apartment

The passing of spring officially marked three years of living away from home and on my own as a college student. This past year for me was a blessing as I moved out of a dorm and rented an apartment in a beautiful student housing complex. It gave me a sense of independence and has taught me a lot about being frugal and managing my time. I have come to realize that there are many factors and certain advantages of renting a student apartment. Deciding where to live in college is a huge, important decision and many times, students fail to find a living space that is well priced, close to campus, and possesses all-inclusive fees. Student housing can be a fun alternative than renting a house with friends or leasing an apartment on your own. No one said it would be easy, so here are some thoughts that have helped me.

1. Before signing a lease, research and seek opinions from residents at various complexes. Ask classmates and friends about their experience living off campus. Questions such as, how safe is this complex? How are the facilities? If you have a problem how quickly do they respond to maintenance issues? What are the leasing and the utility prices? Also, if you have friends already living off campus at a student complex, ask to see the interior of their apartment. Often, student complexes will give you tours of a model that are unlike the apartment rooms available. This is a way to entice possible tenants to sign on quickly. Online can also provide a great deal of information on apartments within a specific area, but to truly get a feel for where the apartment is located and what it has to offer, it is necessary to see it in person.

2. Read and review apartment leases carefully, making sure to read every page closely and fill out all necessary information. Apartments will most likely be the first choice for independent living and leases tend to be very lengthy and filled with seemingly endless pages of jargon. My lease for my student apartment was over 30 pages long!! I took the time to review it thoroughly so I would be informed of the rent payment processes, rules, and fines. The lease will also tell renters if utilities are separate from or included within the rent as well as dictate specific regulations which can vary greatly by complex.

3. If you plan on living with a few roommates, make sure they are trusted friends. The last thing you want to do is to live with someone you really don’t know. Also, living with as many roommates as possible can save you money. When it comes to signing leases, many want fewer roommates to avoid the possibility of not getting along. But fewer roommates can lead to larger rent costs. So be mindful of what each apartment costs based on number of people. You may find that adding one roommate can reduce your overall monthly costs.

4. Make sure your student apartment is furnished. Unfurnished apartments simply translate to another expense that could end up costing a fortune. Some folks argue that you can buy furniture at goodwill, a discount furniture store, a pawn shop, or on eBay. Good thought until you move out of your complex. Now what? You’re stuck with moving and storing that furniture which will usher in more unnecessary spending. For my friends who lived in unfurnished apartments, it took days of perusing through stores or online to find quality furniture.

5. Live on a bus loop. As many college students know, parking is expensive and nearly impossible near their respective colleges. Parking permits are an option, but for many college goers, university issued passes are expensive. If you decide to take a risk and park carelessly or somewhere not clearly defined, the university parking services will issue a hefty ticket. Another added, unnecessary cost. If you accrue too many tickets, you run the risk of being towed. Even worse, if you fail to pay any outstanding tickets, a hold can be placed on your degree, preventing you from registering for classes, playing sports, or graduating. College is stressful enough so try to live in a complex that has access to campus busing. This will save you time and a lot of hassle about worrying where to park.

College is a great time of learning, self-discovery, and entering adulthood, but that doesn’t mean it should be stressful and full of anxiety. Apartment leasing serves as a great opportunity to learn how to live independently and on a budget. Every complex is different so do your homework, ask a lot of questions and read the fine print. Good luck in finding your new home!

About the author:
Cody Silveira is a senior at Texas State University double majoring in History and General Geography. 

One Response to “How To Pick The Right College Apartment

  • A good read with great advice, thank you Cody! As the mother of a college sophomore I will be sure to pass this along to her for future reference!

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