For most students, college is the first time they've moved out of their families' homes and gone off to shift for themselves. One of the biggest decisions they'll have to make (apart from choosing a college) is where they're going to live while they're studying. If you're going to be joining the ranks of a college campus soon, you should familiarize yourself with your options so you can make a decision. Here's an overview of your choices.
Though it's not an ideal option if one of your goals is to become more independent and party at college, you can always live at home in your family's home while you go to school if you're attending a college in your hometown. The major advantage of this arrangement is the savings you will make on rent and food, which can make the difference between your meager student loan covering everything and having to get a part time job.
The most popular option, especially for first year students, is to live in one of the university residences. Residences offer several advantages to staying in some standard real estate. They give students more responsibility without throwing them completely on the mercy of the real world. They allow students to mingle, meet each other, and participate in campus social events. They give convenient access to classes and labs. And they're also a source of support, as residence assistants and upperclassmen can provide advice above everything from study habits to homesickness.
Students who are not big partiers or who want more than just a cramped little room to themselves might prefer to take a rental instead. Renting an apartment is the highest level of student responsibility, as they'll have to look after their own groceries, cooking, utilities bills, and transportation to classes. It also offers more privacy and as such is better for students with significant others.
Whichever type of accommodations you choose, you need to start looking early. Working all summer installing home alarm systems in Toronto and then rocking up to college in September hoping to get a place to live will result in you living in a sketchy apartment or on the edge of town. Apply for residence before the summer even begins, or start looking for an apartment through July and August to have your first pick of places.
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