Unlike most schools, a small minority of the Wheaton student body decides to move off campus. Two facts about Wheaton explain this odd paradigm. First, the school has to receive a certain amount of money from student housing plans, so they grant very few off-campus privileges. All in all, there are about 250 spots, and these are seniority-based, so freshmen, sophomores, and most juniors can kiss their chances goodbye. The second fact is that most students simply enjoy living on campus and find off-campus housing is more of an inconvenience than a blessing. According to new policy, the Housing Office does not allow more than four Wheaton students to live off campus together (previously, many students lived in groups of six to eight). Most students find this rule ludicrous and really wouldn’t mind breaking it. However, if you also consider having to attend the three mandatory chapels every week, plus classes, plus extracurricular activities, plus parking annoyances, plus gas prices, on-campus housing just looks more attractive.
If you plan prudently, you can rent apartments that are actually closer to campus than some campus housing. The farthest that students will live off-campus is about a five- to ten-minute drive. These areas attract those who want an off-campus sanctuary, or an opportunity to escape from certain pressures at Wheaton. It is also a good opportunity to make new friends, as off-campus hangout spots are highly sought after. Your place could very likely become party central. There are certainly advantages to off-campus housing, it just depends on what you want. And, of course, whether or not you qualify for the opportunity to choose.