Moving off campus provides students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live with close friends in a town populated mostly by other college kids who are working toward the same goals. Along with your first apartment or house, however, comes some real responsibility. Living in the residence halls, you pay up front and never have to worry about things like internet, cable, or water. In the dorms, there's a trash can right down the hall and someone to clean your bathroom for you. Some students have trouble adjusting to life outside of that safety net; dealing with landlords, bills, and parking can be a big headache.
The freedom that comes from living on your own in the dorms is magnified a thousand times once you move into your own place. You can have real furniture, a bed big enough so that you never worry about falling out at night, and on top of everything else, you are in control of how much you want to pay for everything. There are some caveats to off-campus living, so beware. The closer you get to campus, the higher the rent will be. There are some real pits lurking in the blocks surrounding campus. Landlords know that there will always be someone willing to pay an extra $200 a month to save a ten-minute walk, no matter how lousy the condition of the house is. If you have a car, the cheapest route is to live as far away from campus as you can and drive to school or catch a bus. Be sure to start looking early and consider all your options before you make a serious decision regarding a place to live.