Off-Campus Housing

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Off-Campus Housing


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3 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: South Oakland is usually where everyone ends up at some point. You could be 5 minutes from campus or 25 minutes, it's a fairly big neighborhood. The houses look run down and gross, but realistically that's half the fun. Students don't seem to care because EVERYONE has a place like that. Unless you choose to live in North Oakland or, even further, Shadyside. They're both really nice neighborhoods. Rent tends to be higher with houses in North O and Shadyside than in South O and there are more apartments in North O and Shadyside than in South O.

2 people found this useful Report
3 Recent Alumnus

Off-Campus Housing: Don't be too cheap. I can't stress this enough. If you need to work longer hours like me, do it. There aren't many stressors that can undo your education like housing. South Oakland isn't recommended but if you have to, make sure to visit the actual listing beforehand. If the rent is under 400/person, don't take it unless you've got a ton of positive indicators. Make sure you take elevation into account. Oak Hill is nice but that "Hill" part is quite literal. Stay away from John CR Kelly and Lobos.

5 people found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: South Oakland is sh***y because landlords know that they don't have to treat their tennants with respect, and they will still get paid.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: Off-campus housing is a good option because you can usually find a place to pay rent year round and still pay much less than the cost of on-campus housing for the school year. Unfortunately, a lot of the available places are in crappy condition in slightly unpleasant parts of Oakland.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: The houses and apartments are not always the best, they can sometimes look pretty run down. But inside, they can still be pretty great! Make sure to look into what street your house will be on. Sometimes, the houses can get pretty far from campus or be in a bad spot of Oakland. Most college students choose to live in South Oakland since it's cheaper, but that also means it is less attractive. Either way, the freedom compensates for both.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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The key to finding a great place off campus is to scour the area as much as possible. There are so many options that it is likely you’ll be able to find the perfect place. At the same time, it's also not difficult to find places that are way too expensive or have slumlord property managers. When moving off-campus, Pitt students primarily move to North and South Oakland. Students joke about South Oakland being "the dirty South" because it's a little more run-down than the rest of Oakland, and it's louder and less safe. But the houses and apartments there tend to be more affordable and closer to campus, and therefore more attractive to the college crowd. North Oakland has nicer places in a better area, but you're not always getting what you pay for. As you move farther away from campus, options increase and prices vary. Shadyside, near North Oakland, is considered the best area to live and rent prices reflect this with rates sometimes doubling those in South Oakland. Squirrel Hill can be the best of both worlds, with nice apartments and reasonable rent, but it is a bit far either being about a half hour walk or a ten-minute bus ride.

The best advice is to start looking early. If you haven't found a place by March, good luck. The best places, especially in South Oakland, get snatched up quickly. Your options are also going to increase by a lot if you have roommates. Some of the best areas are mainly house rentals, which are entirely affordable if you have three or four other people that you can share the rent. For better apartments, even having one or two roommates will lower your rent significantly. Read everything before you sign any leases and, most importantly, get to know the area where you're looking to rent. Pittsburgh neighborhoods have a lot to offer, but it's best to know what you're getting into ahead of time.

Facts & Statistics

Undergrads Living Off Campus
Average Off-Campus Room & Board
Best Time to Look for a Place
Early spring semester
Popular Areas
  • Bloomfield
  • North Oakland
  • Shadyside
  • South Oakland
  • Squirrel Hill
Average Rents
  • Studio: $350
  • 1 BR: $500
  • 2 BR: $700
  • 4BR: $1,600

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus housing on the following topics    Based on 237 responses

Very poor
  • Availability
  • Cost
  • Ease of obtaining/process
  • Landlords
  • Parking
  • Proximity to campus
  • Proximity to public transportation
  • Proximity to shopping
  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Variety

What is the off-campus housing selection like near campus and is it worth it?    Based on 230 responses

  • 25% Totally worth it. It's easy to find a place, and prices are reasonable.
  • 67% Price and availability can vary, but the added freedom is still worth it.
  • 8% High prices and/or limited choices keep most students on campus.
  • 0% Not worth the hassle or expense. Everyone just lives on campus.

How helpful is the school in helping students find off-campus housing?    Based on 234 responses

  • 14% Extremely helpful.
  • 53% Somewhat helpful.
  • 33% Not very helpful.
  • 0% The school does not allow students to live off campus.
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