For starters, Colgate guarantees its students four years of housing on campus; it also requires two-thirds of the graduating class to live in on-campus houses. This gets tricky because in addition to your standard residence halls, Colgate owns and maintains nine Greek houses and numerous special-interest houses, including the Positive Sexuality House, the outdoor interest house (the Loj), and a wellness house, among others. So when it comes to off-campus housing, it mainly consists of the senior class being given permission through the off-campus lottery to live in a community-member-owned apartment or house. Students are fairly divided on the benefits of off-campus housing, mostly because Colgate provides both a number of on-campus options and significant obstructions to living off campus if you’re not among the students selected in the lottery.
The benefit to living off campus lies with the freedom gained from Campus Safety’s walk-throughs and more or less lying outside of Colgate’s jurisdiction. And while the downtown apartments are closer to downtown, you trade parking for this proximity—there is far less of it available off campus. There is a limited number of rentals available, and most students begin looking and signing leases during the first semester of sophomore year. While the jury is out on the benefits of off-campus housing, those who end up taking the plunge are typically glad they did.