Many students attempt to stay on campus for their entire time at Rice because Rice’s social life is so focused on campus and within the college system. Some students feel that living off campus (referred to as "OC" or "deep OC," depending on where you live) cuts them off from their old social circles, making it hard for them to keep up with their friends or make new friends. Other students feel quite the opposite, seeing off-campus living as a breath of fresh air and a break from the monotony of campus living, the college system, the same social hangouts and activities, and the same parties. They have found off-campus life to be a very positive experience, and feel that it has widened their social circle and helped them to get out and explore Houston.
As for the housing selections off campus, there is a huge variety to choose from, including actual houses, apartments, townhouses, garage apartments, and studio apartments. The area around Rice is the nicest in Houston. A range of prices are available, and apartments can be found very near to campus (a must if you will not have a car), as well as farther away. The online off-campus housing guide published every year is a very helpful resource to see what is currently available, and if you start looking early (a few months in advance), you should not have any problem finding a place to your liking.