Tips for Parents

When Should My Student Think About Housing Next Year?

While housing for next fall may not be on your student’s radar yet, now is a good time to change that. At many universities off-campus housing is snapped up early, so your student will need to start planning now to ensure they have a good selection. Ask your student these questions about their housing plans for next year to get them started thinking about their options.

Do you want to live on campus or off campus?

Both are viable options that can lead to some valuable experiences for your student. Talk to your student about what housing factors are important to them.

Living on campus has the obvious benefits of proximity and access to campus services. It can be a real time-saver, as travel time is cut down significantly and meal plans take cooking off of your student’s plate. Many schools also require underclassmen to live on campus their first two years, so check with the Housing Department of your student’s university to find out their specific rules, and if any exceptions apply.

Off-campus living also has many benefits. Students who want to be more independent may prefer living off campus. Depending on how your student budgets, living off campus may be a cheaper option for them. This can also be a great way for students to learn responsibility; paying rent on time and budgeting for food and utilities are all great skills for your student to master.   

Have you thought about who you want to live with?

Having roommates can lower the cost of living either on or off campus. However, the decision your student makes in the next couple of months about who to live with can have a significant impact on his year.

While it’s not necessarily bad to live with friends, make sure your student has considered how well his schedule and living habits will mesh with any possible roommates. Bedtime, study hours, and cleanliness are all factors he should consider.  Remember, if your student chooses to live off campus he will no longer have an RA to mediate roommate problems.

How much do you plan to spend on housing?

Before your student makes any decision on housing, she should take into consideration the costs. Whether your student lives on or off-campus, it’s easy to lose sight of everyday costs that can add up quickly. Remind her to consider transportation (both around town and for any trips over breaks), textbooks and the occasional night out, along with room and board, or rent, food and utilities.

Now is a great time for your student to start thinking about where he wants to live next year. Encourage him to start researching early! For more great tips on budgeting, finding housing, and handling the leasing process watch out for our 2014 Off-Campus Housing Guide. Coming January 9, this guide will help you and your student find everything you need to know to choose a great place for him to live. If you are not already signed up for the UniversityParent E-Newsletter, do so here to make sure you don’t miss the information you need!

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