Most students think living off campus is definitely worth it. Not only do you get a taste of the real world, but in doing so, you generally have an absolute blast. There are drawbacks to having to decide so early (fall/winter of first year) whether or not to sign a lease and with whom you will live the following year. Certainly, there is a lot of pressure, and at first, it is a bit overwhelming setting up and paying the monthly rent and utilities, but the payoff is great. Students generally love the freedom, the fun, and the comfortable feel of living in your own place surrounded by virtually all students in their own houses or apartments—not to mention that the house/apartment parties are a lot of fun. The opportunity to have your own room, make your own meals, and drink your own alcohol whenever and wherever they please is alluring to many students moving off campus.
In terms of the convenience of off-campus living, many students are ambivalent. Location tends to determine price, so it largely depends on what you’re willing to pay. Some find it less costly and easier to continue living on campus; others find off campus is just as convenient, especially if it's located near a bus stop or within walking distance, or if someone in the house has a car. A large percentage of Virginia’s students end up living off campus sometime during their college careers, and Charlottesville is a good town for student-friendly housing, as long as you’re willing to look for good deals and commit early. The closer you live to campus, the more expensive it generally is, but the bigger price tag is worth it because you'll find that these areas tend to be the most social and the closest to all of the best eateries.