On-campus housing isn't for everyone, obviously. More than half of students live off campus, so off-campus housing in Ames clearly has a lot to offer. They seem to cite freedom and price as their main motivators, but living off campus does have its drawbacks. Students have to commute to class and deal with landlords, contracts, and roommates meeting rent payments.
Housing that is close to campus tends to be more expensive, so if you are looking to live off campus, you must decide how important proximity is to you. If it is important, it might be worth the extra bucks to be close to campus. If money is tight, and you don't mind the bus, then living several blocks away might be a nice option for you. Ames offers a wide variety of off-campus housing, not only apartments, but also houses for rent. Before signing a contract for any apartment or house, know what your base payment covers and how much of the utilities you must pay, as well. Check the proximity to the bus routes if you plan to rely on CyRide, and begin the search early so you can shop around and find the place that feels the most like home. Housing can be expensive, so try to get the best deal for the best place.