The Great-Debate Beginnings: On-Campus Housing

campus housing

When it comes to campus housing, there’s a lot to consider before making your decision. Depending on the school you’d like to go to, you may be able to rule out some of your living options right away. On the other hand, comparing different living options to your personal preferences can help you choose between schools.

In this two-part post, you’ll hear from both sides, Team On-Campus and Team Off-Campus. This week, Team On-Campus will present their case, and each statement will be followed by a rebuttal from Team Off-Campus. The debate begins now, and only you can decide which side wins.

Team On-Campus

Your choice of school may have quite a few options for housing. Living on campus means deciding between dorms and campus apartments, and how many roommates, if any, you are willing to have. There are pros and cons that apply to all aspects of living on campus.


You are more connected with your school’s community. It’s easier for you to discover and participate in clubs/extracurricular activities. Being close to your peers can make it easier to build friendships than living off-campus.

Most schools offer meal plans for residential students, allowing you to avoid cooking or cleaning. You will also be closer to your classes. This will save on gas money, public transit, and you can hit that snooze button a couple more times.


The cost of on-campus living is usually ridiculous. Dorms and campus apartments are cash cows for colleges and universities. While those meal plans can be great, they can really add to your cost of attendance. On top of that, the cafeteria hours may not be convenient for you.

Another detractor is the general lack of privacy. Even without roommates, there are always other students around. Plus, with dorm-living, there’s the possibility of showers shared by everyone on that floor (pro tip: bring and wear shower flip-flops), and all of that can be overwhelming for someone who is used to having more space.

Dorms With Roommates


Having roommates is an easy way to meet new people. Several people have met their best friends as a result of being paired together as dorm-mates. You and your roommate can also talk to each other about other social or extracurricular events that will connect you to even more people at your school. Studies have shown that the more connected students feel with their school, the less likely they are to drop out of school.


Yes, it’s an easy way to meet new people. It’s also very intimate, as in, you are literally sharing a finite space with one or more complete strangers. Sure, you could end up as best friends with your roommates, but you could also become worst enemies.

Many schools will try to match people based on their interests or majors, but that’s not always a good recipe for finding roommates. If the school’s matching worked, and you do get along with your roommates, that’s great! Just also make sure that you aren’t distracting each other from your studies.

Dorms Without Roommates


In a word – privacy. Yes, like I mentioned earlier, there isn’t complete privacy with living on-campus. However, it’s a vast improvement from living with roommates. With no roommates around, you can do whatever you like as long as you don’t break any rules set by your school.


Unless you had a roommate, they move out, and your school doesn’t replace your roommate or make you switch to a “single dorm,” you will likely be living in a particularly small space. Also, privacy may not be what you want, especially if you grew up with siblings . While a break may be nice at first, you may find that you miss the company.

Campus Apartments

It isn’t common for colleges and universities to offer “single” (a.k.a. no roommates) apartment options, plus having roommates versus not having roommates is largely the same as it is with living in a regular dorm. The only exceptions are that apartments are larger and come with a kitchen. You and your roommate can then hopefully share the cooking and cleaning duties.


Campus apartments give you the nice sweet spot of still being close to campus without being right in the middle of all the college activity. As I said earlier, you’ll also have a complete kitchen. This is awesome because you won’t always have to rely on your meal plan, and you can buy more groceries. Being able to cook your own food is a great way to stay healthy and undo any “freshman fifteen” weight you may have gained.


Again, the price is the biggest negative of campus living, especially with apartments. If you think the prices of dorms are bad, just wait until you look at their apartment costs. The cost hike (from dorms) does make some sense. After all, the school needs to make up the costs for all of those appliances and their maintenance from somewhere.

You’ve heard from, and now know more about Team On-Campus Housing. Now stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of the housing debate, when Team Off-Campus presents its case.

About the Author Nikki Martens

Nikki holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication, Media, and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University, and became a transfer-student expert in the process. Currently Nikki assists with the content development process for YesCollege, through gathering information and writing about the degree programs in our databases.