Residence: Dorm vs. Apartment

(first image via: fleuriste, second image via: homesweethome)

If you're an incoming freshman this fall, chances are you don't have much of a choice. Most schools require new students to live in the dorms. And many schools require students under the age of 21 to live in on-campus housing. But if you have the choice and can't decide whether you want to spend your academic year in a dorm or an apartment... I'm here for ya. Let's break it down with some of the basic details of both...

Dorms/Residence Halls

The Basics:
  • Dorms (or residence halls) are university buildings that house many students. There are generally two types: traditional and suite-style.
  • In traditional-style dorms, you'll have a communal bathroom that everyone shares. (On coed floors, each sex generally has their own bathroom.) Communal bathrooms are large bathrooms with several sinks, showers, and toilet stalls.
  • In suite-style dorms, you and your roomie will share a bathroom with the two girls that live next to you. So instead of twenty girls in one bathroom, there will only be four.
  • You will most likely have a roommate, or possibly several... depending on the dormitory set-up. Single rooms do exist, but they are limited and cost more money.
  • You will have lots of floormates---either coed or single gender.
The Benefits:
  • Room and board is charged to your university bill and financial aid can be applied.
  • Everything is included in the cost. You don't have to worry about paying for heat, air, electricity, water, tv, or internet.
  • If you have a communal bathroom, you don't have to worry about buying toilet paper or scrubbing the toilet and showers. The school hires a special cleaning staff to do that.
  • If you have a suite-style bathroom, you don't have to share showers with the entire floor.
  • Tons of opportunity for social interaction. You'll meet so many people and make new friends. And there's always something to do.
  • Laundry is usually available in the building. You won't have to worry about lugging your dirty clothes to and from a laundromat.
  • Dorms are conveniently located on campus with close access to dining halls, activity centers, the library, and buildings where your classes are held.
  • Dorms provide you with furniture. So you don't have to worry about any major purchases besides lovely things to decorate your space with.
The Drawbacks:
  • If you have a communal bathroom... you'll be sharing showers and toilets with up to thirty other girls. (That includes fighting over power outlets for hairdryers and competing for prized mirror space, too.)
  • If you have a suite-style bathroom... you, your roomie, and your suite-mates are responsible for buying toilet paper and cleaning the sink/toilet/shower.
  • Because you'll have so many floormates and a roomie, there will be less privacy than you're used to having at home.
  • There there are always people around and always something going on, you will have to motivate yourself to study. Your parents won't be around to remind you. You'll have to make sure your priorities are straight and not be tempted by the constant goings-on of the floor.
  • You'll basically live in one-room. Floors typically have lobbies, lounges, and kitchenettes, but your personal room will have to serve as a bedroom, living room, study area, and place to eat---all in one tiny space.
  • Dorms can be noisy. Not everybody studies at the same time. You may have to escape to the library or a quiet place to actually get your homework done.
(In this post, I'm discussing on-campus apartments operated by your college. For more about the difference between on-campus and off-campus apartments, click here.)

The Basics:
  • On-campus apartments are apartment complexes located on campus and operated by your college. They are basically no different than off-campus apartments except that they're closer to campus and that you can charge rent to your university bill.
  • You may have a roomie (or several) or you may not. Though single apartments (like single dorm rooms) are limited and more pricey. But you probably won't live with more than three or four other people.
  • Most apartments are unfurnished, though some come fully furnished for an additional cost.
The Benefits:
  • On-campus apartments can charge rent to your university bill and financial aid can be applied. (Sometimes school will even charge you on a semester basis instead of monthly rent basis.)
  • You have your own place and it has a more "grown up" feel. You'll have your own living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.
  • You will have more privacy than you would in the dorms. There are less people around.
  • It's often quieter and easier to focus on studies.
The Drawbacks:
  • You might have to pay utilities, which usually cannot be charged to your school bill. Also, you might have to contract for television or internet service.
  • The responsibility of cleaning and maintaining your apartment is up to you and your roomie. There is no cleaning staff. Cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, and other rooms is all for you.
  • If your apartment is unfurnished, you might have to buy furniture. Things like bed mattresses, couches, and dining table sets can add up quickly.
  • You will probably be a little farther from campus.


Dale said...

I think I'll go for an apartment. Most dorms have strict rules which I think is not good for me.

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apartment for rent in makati said...

Choose which residence set-up suits you. It depends on available resources as well.

manila condo said...

Various furnishings should also be suited. Have the right one for your priorities.

Cameron said...

Dale, that doesn't apply to every dormitory. It just so happens that a lot of land ladies are quite strict.

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Anonymous said...

This echoes with my dilemma. I'm looking for new homes for sale, but I'm still not sure.

Unknown said...

I think these are all works but you need to check what suits your needs and it is important that you feel comfortable with your choice. The most essential is your bed and mattresses for you to be able comfortable if you want to sleep and take a rest.

Sharon said...

It really depends on the needs of an individual. If an individual is a student, it is recommended to stay in a dorm. On the other hand, a single and working individual can stay in an apartment. Either way, staying in these places can be rewarding and convenient.

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John said...

I prefer an apartment over a dorm.