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Student Dorms Vs Apartments: What’s Right For You?

It is up to you to decide what kind of housing situation is the best fit for you. You will have to weigh the pros and cons as well as the actual financial expenses of renting an apartment versus a dorm room.

Do you have your eyes set on studying abroad after 12th? The idea of living on your own is both exciting and anxiety-inducing. Adulthood and its accompanying responsibilities can easily throw you into a tizzy. Having your own space comes at the cost of having to do your own chores, managing your own expenses, running errands and so much more.

It can all be a little too much at times. 

You’ve figured out what degree you want, you’ve figured out which college offers the best educational plan for you, you have your parents convinced. Figuring out where to live and how to live is the next step.

Should you go for university-provided student housing or should you rent your own apartment? There are certainly pros and cons to both and luckily we are here to help you figure things out!

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What to Expect from Dorm Life?

Dorms are a kind of student housing common in many universities. Usually, dorms consist of either shared or private bedrooms and common living and dining areas. Your college will allocate you a dorm room and a roommate based on the preferences you indicate, and in some cases, you can even choose your own roommate. 

Colleges have different kinds of dorms and student housing available. You should go through your college’s website thoroughly to ensure you have the proper information about the kinds of dorms they have available, the facilities available in these dorms, how they are allocated and the costs involved.

Dorms are a very good option for Indian students who study abroad. Studying abroad means that you leave behind most of your friend circle and support structure. Student dorms in colleges have orientation programs and resident advisors who can help you ease into social life at your university.

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Pros of Living in Student Dorms

  • No Dealing with Realtors or Brokers: Renting an apartment can be a complicated venture. You are not likely to know the area, the property costs or the other intricacies of the real estate market when you’re in a new city. Opting for college provided student dorms may be a more reliable and secure option for you.
  • No Extra Utility Bills: Utility charges like electricity, water, and heating are often covered by colleges. Even if they charge you extra for these amenities, these bills would still be relatively cheap.
  • Proximity to Campus: Dorms enable you to stay on campus or very close to campus. This saves you both time and commuting costs.
  • More Social Life: Staying close to campus enables you to enjoy campus life and student activities better. Additionally, dorms often have planned student events and activities that can help you make friends more easily.
  • Extra Amenities: Student dorms often have extra amenities like recreational centres, gyms, game rooms and TV rooms. These amenities may be entirely free or available to residents at a small charge. 
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Cons of Living in Student Dorms

  • Lack of Privacy: Student dorms are notorious for being too crowded with barely any privacy. You may be able to get a private room depending on your college, but common areas may still lack privacy. 
  • Strict Rules: Dorms often have strict rules to ensure discipline. You may have restrictions on how many visitors you can have, noise levels, cooking and maybe even a curfew. You may not be able to experience the independence for which you decided to study abroad.
  • Lack of Space: Dorms are often crowded and lack space. You may be allocated a tiny shared room with barely any space to move in. 

What is Apartment Living Like?

Apartments are independent residential units that can be rented either by contacting the landlord directly or through a real estate broker. Apartments provide more privacy and independence than dorms and are generally more spacious.

College websites and social media groups associated with your college may have information about localities with apartments for rent for students. You can go through these pages to find brokers, landlords, reviews and other information.

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Pros of Renting an Apartment

  • More Privacy: Apartments give you more privacy. You don’t have to live cramped together with too many people and there is more privacy in common areas even if you live with roommates. Additionally, you have more control over choosing your roommates than in the case of dorms.
  • More Space: Apartments are definitely more spacious than dorms. You also get private bathrooms and a full kitchen to cook your own food without restrictions.
  • More Independence: Renting an apartment makes you more independent and self-sufficient since it comes with more responsibilities and chores. You will also have to be much more meticulous with budgeting and expense management. If becoming more independent was a motive for you to choose to study abroad, apartment life may be best for you.

Cons of Renting an Apartment

  • Dealing with Landlords and Brokers: To rent an apartment, you will have to deal with brokers and landlords. As a young international student with limited knowledge of the country, this may be a complicated task for you. It is easy for you to get scammed or abused by brokers or landlords when you study abroad.
  • Utility Bills: Unlike in dorms, you will have to pay your utility bills separately when you rent an apartment. This leads to extra expenses.
  • Less Security: Living off-campus means you don’t have access to campus security. Apartment living may be less secure than dorms, although this also depends on the location of your apartment.
  • More Traveling: Off-campus living certainly entails a lot more travelling and commuting. You cannot simply roll out of bed and go to class as you would in a dorm since you have to take into account commuting time.

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What is the Right Choice for You?

There is no right or wrong decision when it comes to choosing the perfect student accommodation. It is up to you to decide what kind of housing situation is the best fit for you. You will have to weigh the pros and cons as well as the actual financial expenses of renting an apartment versus a dorm room.

Your financial obligations and constraints will differ depending on whether you are studying abroad with a scholarship, self-financing or working part-time jobs. These will need to be factored in, along with rental costs in the city you are in to determine which option is more cost-effective. 

Whatever choice you make, living away from your parents and being exposed to a foreign country is sure to make you a more independent and well-rounded person. This is what makes studying abroad worth it. 

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