Deciding where to live when attending college can be a major challenge. There are a ton of options for freshmen and seniors alike, which can make it hard to choose the best place to room.
One way you can narrow down your search is to decide whether you want to live on-campus or off-campus. There are benefits and drawbacks to both that you’ll need to consider before committing to one or the other:
Cost of Living
For new and returning UCF students, finding a place to live in Orlando has a cost, whether it is on or off-campus. It’s important to budget for the cost of your housing while you’re going to college.
If you’re planning to live on-campus, the cost for the Fall 2017 semester (according to the UCF Housing page) can range between $2,470 and $3,330 or more for the entire semester, depending on which dormitory/community you choose to live in, and whether you have a private bedroom or a shared one. Since the fall semester runs from September to December, that’s roughly $617.50 to $832.50 per month in rent.
Off-campus housing can vary wildly in cost depending on where you live and the amenities included in your rent. For example, CVI’s housing costs typically run between $765 a month per person for shared rooms and $1,065 a month for private rooms.
At first glance, the UCF dorm life looks like it would cost less—but there’s one thing that these monthly costs don’t take into account: meals. For instance, CVI’s rental costs includes free meals 7 days a week.
On the UCF campus, meal plans are a separate cost, and can be purchased as either “6-week dining memberships” or “8-month dining memberships.” If you do the 6-week plan, you’d have to purchase that $825.00 plan three consecutive times to cover the entirety of a 15-week semester, adding $2,475 a semester to your living costs. The 8-month “unlimited 7” plan costs $3,830, or an additional $1,915 each semester.
So, if you factor in the cost of food (which you’ll need, trust us) using the most money-efficient, full-access meal plan UCF offers, the cost of living on-campus is actually between $4,385 and $5,245 a semester, or $1,096.25 to $1311.25 each month.
Access to Campus Resources
Being able to get to and from class or the library is crucial for success in college. A stressful commute can ruin your mood and ability to focus on lessons—which negatively impacts your academic performance.
Living on-campus removes a lot of the stress and worry about whether or not you can make it to class on time. After all, you don’t have to worry about finding parking or waiting on public transportation—you’re already in walking distance of your destination!
When you’re off-campus, you’re going to have to think about the availability of parking when you reach the UCF campus or the timing of any buses that go to and from the campus if you take public transit. This issue can be mitigated somewhat based on how close to the UCF campus the off-campus housing is, but accessing UCF resources is always going to be more convenient for on-campus students.
Access to Work
Many college students, even freshmen, need to work to help cover any gaps in their tuition & living costs that are not covered by scholarships and grants.
In Orlando, there are a lot of job opportunities to be had, both on-campus and off-campus. However, competition for jobs within walking distance of the UCF campus is fierce, so any openings get filled quickly.
Off-campus, there are many other work opportunities, although not every employer is willing to provide the kind of flexible scheduling that balancing work and class schedules requires.
Quality of Life
Most people want clean, well-kept spaces to live in that are free of pests and unwanted interruptions.
However, it’s often hard to know for sure whether or not the dorm/apartment you’ll be staying in will meet your needs and expectations at first glance—especially if you’re looking at a demo unit. There are a great many variables that can impact your quality of living, including:
- Your roommates
- Freak accidents
- Your own cleaning habits
- Cleaning service frequency and thoroughness
One semester, a particular room might be perfectly clean, tidy and peaceful. The next, it could be cluttered, dirty and raucous simply because of the habits of the tenants and their neighbors. This is true for both on and off-campus housing.
Keeping your housing clean takes time and effort, and cooperation from your neighbors, as well. If one tenant is keeping rotten food and dirty dishes on their desk, all of their neighbors will have to deal with the insects that will attract; especially in Florida, where pest control is a year-round issue.
Because there are so many different dorms/apartments both on and off-campus, it’s often hard to generalize about quality of life for a specific dorm or apartment.
Ultimately the choice to live on or off-campus is just that: your choice. It’s your college years and you should have the final say about whether you prefer to be on-campus or to have that extra bit of independence that comes with off-campus life.
If you’re curious about UCF off-campus housing options, check out CVI today!