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Jen500

dorm vs off-campus

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My sons have lived in a dorm with two other roommates for freshman and now sophomore year. They were planning on living together again next year, in their very tiny 2 br apartment-style dorm, but one roommate backed out. The other three boys do not want to live with a random roommate in such a small space, and can't find anyone they know to take the spot, so they are considering moving off campus. They are asking for my advice...

The apartment they are considering is a 20min bike ride, or 30 min bus ride to campus, and will cost at least $2500 more per year over the dorm. Ds1 would rather stay on campus (would like the ease of going back to the dorm during the day, and doesn't want to spend the extra $$), ds2 would like to move off campus. The apartments closer to campus are way out of our price range. Parking on campus is pretty much not an option for off-campus students.

Would you consider the 30 min bus ride too much? Would you take the chance with a random roommate to stay in the dorms? Ds1 could get a single room in another apartment style dorm on campus but it would be with 3 random people, and would create some problems between his brother and other roommate...

 

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I’d stay on campus. I don’t think one brother’s wishes should over-rule the other. But it would also depend on the climate and class schedule. Does he like to ride a bike? Has he relied on that before? Does he mind being sweaty or rained on or cold for such s ride? What about riding at night? Are there dedicated bike paths, etc. Is it s town bus or one especially for students? I know that by the time they’re juniors, having a roommate, especially a random one, isn’t so appealing, but personally that is more appealing to me. 

At my son’s undergrad school nearly every apartment was cheaper than a dorm, that’s why so many moved off campus, and why I suspect the school had a rule stating they had to stay on campus 2 years.

Edited by Dotwithaperiod
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I’d stay on campus in this case. Another thing to consider is while an unknown roommate could go badly- within the dorm system there is generally a way to change rooms or remedy the situation. If an off campus situation doesn’t go well you are stuck in a lease. 

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I'd stay on campus. For me, the commute would be too inconvenient and time-consuming.

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I would stay on campus. They're going to waste an hour a day riding the bus plus give up a lot of convenience. Are they planning to go to campus and stay there until the final class each day? Do they not ever go back to their rooms now? It's a pain not being able to dash back to your room, plus you will be carrying every single thing you need for the entire day, all day. 

It's not ds1's responsibility to keep the other two happy. If he could get a single room but is willing to share a room so they at least know all but one of the people, that is extremely generous already. If he wants to stay on campus, that's what he should do and the others can make their choices based on knowing that. 

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Being that far off-campus is a big disadvantage, IMO. DS moved off campus this year but he is in an apartment that is literally across the street from campus and about 2 blocks from the nearest dorm, so it's just as convenient (and it includes dedicated parking). Being a 30-minute bus ride away means you don't get to go home during the day, you need to carry everything you need for the entire day with you, you miss out on a lot evening activities (or if you stay late you may have more limited transport options), etc. Living on, or adjacent to, campus just makes life so much easier. And I would definitely not pay an extra $2500/yr for less convenience and safety — if you are paying the housing costs, I would simply put my foot down about the off-campus apartment and tell them to find another roommate through one of the campus FB groups, reddit, etc., or just take their chances. I guess if they are paying their own way, you may not have much control over it, but I would at least support the brother who wants to stay on campus and tell him that he is under no obligation to defer to his brother's more expensive and less convenient preferences.

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Stay on campus. I tried to influence my dd to stay on campus for her third year but she just knew it would be better to move into an apartment. Now she bemoans the ease of dorm living.  She was not ready for all the adulting, and it added about 1/2 mile of walking on to each trip.  Which adds up for sure!

 

 

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I am absolutely dreading if the day should come that I have to deal with leases and room mates and off campus contracts.  I am on a Facebook page for my son's university's parents and I cannot TELL You how many horror stories pop up about sketchy landlords, arguments about utilities and use of electricity etc., or worse, a room mate backing out after the lease is signed and the lease was a joint lease, so now the other 3 room mates have to pay the difference!  The rent is usually year round and there is also an increase in partying, sex, etc. over the dorms that at least have campus police pretending to care.

Now the ONE SINGLE super duper plus side to off campus apartments, is that kids seem to get sick a lot less, probably due to the sharing of bathrooms with only 4 people instead of 30.  But if your sons have already lived through the freshman and sophomore plagues,they probably have decent immunity by now LOL.

My son has never been so sick so much in his whole life as he has been in the dorm.  Seriously.

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On campus for sure if there is an hour of commuting involved.  My kid is moving to an apartment next year with 2 friends but it’s like 2 blocks further than his dorm.  I wouldn’t be excited about paying for that.  Lose a lot of the advantage of a away college experience that far from campus.  

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