From the moment you first decide to go to college, you find that there are a lot of choices to make. First, you have to narrow your search and target which universities you might like to attend. Lots of factors go into that decision, like whether you can afford the tuition and fees and how far away from home they are. When you finally complete the application process and excitedly await an acceptance letter, it’s easy to feel like all the hard work is done.
Once you are accepted, though, you’ll find that there’s a new set of choices you have to work through. One of the key items you’ll need to look at is where you’ll live during your university years. Lots of students these days are choosing off-campus housing options, which give you more for your money and a better lifestyle than dorm living does. You’ll want to make sure you carefully research the off-campus options so you pick the right place to live.
Make Sure the Neighborhood Is Safe
When you have narrowed down your list of off-campus student apartments it’s time to do your due diligence. One of the first things you’ll want to do is to go to each property and spend time checking out the neighborhood. In addition to mapping out your commute time and ways of getting to campus, you’ll want to make sure the area feels safe to you.
It’s a good idea to walk the neighborhood during the day and see how comfortable you are there. You should also come back at night and drive the area, seeing how you would feel if you had to walk home or take public transit after dark. If things don’t feel right, it’s probably not a good place for you to be.
Check Out the Housing Complex
Before you sign a lease for a student apartment, you’ll want to check out a couple of things at the off-campus housing complex. Walking the grounds and observing the building maintenance, condition of the property and general level of care will tell you a lot about living there. You can also talk to residents you see and ask how they feel about their time at the place. Read more about Choosing Where to Live at College.
You should also spend some time online looking at reviews on the properties you like. That’s a good way to get a feel for what it is like living there and to get tips on things to look out for or ask management about.
Make Sure You Are Close to Shopping and Amenities
When you are a student, you may not always have your own car. If you don’t have your own transportation, it’s really important that shopping is within easy walking distance or you can get there on public transit. You’ll want to be sure there is a grocery store, drugstore, and other general shopping nearby.
It’s also great if there are affordable restaurants that cater to students in the area. They’ll give you an option for ordering inexpensive food when you don’t feel like cooking or have a big paper to write or an exam to study for that night.
Before you sign a lease for your off-campus student housing, take the time to thoroughly check out the complex and the surrounding neighborhood. You’ll want to move into a well-maintained property and area that feels safe, both day and night.