The majority of Bates students live on campus. A percentage of seniors may apply to live off campus, but they must live within a mile of the school. Considering the amount of snow Maine gets every winter, living more than a mile away would be an inconvenience. It’s not too difficult to get housing off campus, and it ends up costing about the same as living in the dorms. Students who elect to live off campus can continue with the meal plan, and many do. There are advantages and disadvantages to off-campus living. The cons: It is a lot more work to organize renting an apartment, you have to go farther to get to classes, and you’re not connected to the Bates computer network. On the other hand, off-campus students are more independent and are able to better prepare themselves for life after Bates. After three years of living in dorms, many students are ready to live in an apartment of their own.
Students generally don’t live off-campus until they are seniors. Each year, Bates has a lottery for the same off-campus apartments, although the cost of off-campus apartments is between the students and the landlords. Students are responsible for paying rent and any repairs, such as a broken heater, as well as cleaning. Bates provides four-year housing with the hope that most people will stay on campus to foster a sense of community, and most people do. However, when a record high number of first-year students enrolled, Bates had to move some of the upperclassmen out of the rooms they chose in the housing lottery and into additional apartments on Russell Street. There are always freshmen in forced triples in Page and the crammed quads of Smith, which used to be doubles. However, students appreciate the availability of housing all four years, but as Bates continues to grow, many wonder how long everyone will be able to fit.