Most students who live off campus swear that it’s the only way to go, while those who stay on campus note the convenience and proximity to school. Making the housing decision is something that every student has to face after freshman year. It’s important to remember that you can enter the lottery, withdraw, and only lose a small deposit, so sometimes, the safest idea is to consider both options, and then pick the best situation of the two.
Contrary to popular belief, it is generally cheaper to live off campus than in school housing. However, off-campus living costs can skyrocket if utilities are not included in the rent. Many students end up paying hefty heat bills in the winter, so it is important to talk to the previous tenants to get an idea of how the apartment is kept by the landlord and what kind of bills to expect. Apartments that are within a 10-minute walking distance from the main part of campus and that include heat in the rent will be a much better deal and a much more comfortable place to live than school housing. It’s true that some landlords are unscrupulous, but RISD has a lawyer service that will look over students’ leases to let them know if they are being taken advantage of. Even though there is going to be more student housing available, off-campus housing is necessary for most RISD kids. If you are willing to shop around and get defensive about what kind of deal you are getting, then not only will you be fine, you’ll probably live very happily and comfortably with as much heat and utilities as you need. In many cases, it takes RISD just as long, if not longer, to get around to fixing little broken things than a real landlord. The downside is that the closer you want to be to campus, the more you’ll have to pay.