Okay, so you’ve survived your first year or two of college. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad! I only got one noise violation, I’ve made a couple of friends, and my grades are...well, acceptable. I’ve got this whole college thing figured out!”
Wrong. After this initial adjustment period, it’s likely that your college is evicting you and the rest of your class from the dorms. Now what?
I’d recommend finding someplace to live for next year. However, in many cases this is easier said than done. In order to make sure you end up somewhere you’re actually going to want to live, there are a couple of things I would recommend you keep in mind while searching for an apartment:
1. The Location of the Apartment.
The further you are from where you want (or need) to be, the more you’re going to have to travel. You can save a lot of time by walking or biking to your classes instead of driving or busing if you live close enough to campus. If you’re considering driving to school, you should also consider gas prices. If you were thinking more along the lines of public transportation, consider the additional time it’s going to cost you every single day you go to school. Truthfully, you can either spend that extra 10-20 minutes in the morning cramming, or you can spend it busing; you decide.
Make sure you also know how close the bus stops are to your future apartment, as well as to where those buses will take you. There’s nothing worse than getting on the wrong bus and ending up somewhere you had no intention of going – trust me.
Something else to keep in mind is that being far away from campus will, for better or for worse, get you away from things happening on campus. If you want absolutely nothing to do with events at school, maybe a housing location further away is for the best. On the other hand, if there’s going to be a late night glow-in-the-dark Frisbee game, good luck getting there since the buses probably won’t be running that late at night.
2. Price vs. Proximity.
Finding a balance between price and proximity is essential to maximizing your living experience. Don’t only focus on the campus itself. Other important amenities you should consider are the bank, movie theaters, and grocery stores. The closer you are to things like these, the more it’s going to cost you but the easier your life will be. Find something that’s in your price range while not placing yourself in the middle of nowhere, or you will regret it down the line.
Also, and I can’t stress this enough, check out who your neighbors will be! If you’re planning on throwing parties every weekend, and your neighbors are a middle-aged couple that have a toddler, they probably won’t be too happy if your noise is keeping little Tommy up all night. Likewise, if you’re looking for a more quiet living experience, and there’s a frat house located next to your potential apartment, maybe you should consider looking elsewhere. You can also try Uloop's housing listings to find some great places for students to live.
3. The Apartment’s Pet Policy.
If Fido is your best friend in the whole world and you sign a lease for an apartment that is not “dog friendly”, you’re not going to have a good time there. Make sure to plan ahead (for your sake). Also keep in mind that having a pet may increase your security deposit, so be ready to shell out a few extra bucks to keep your puppy around.
4. The Layout of the Apartment.
Will your bed fit in your bedroom? Will there be enough space for your desk? And no, forgoing the bed and sleeping on top of your desk instead is not a good idea. Here’s a quick list of some other things you might want to keep in mind:
- Can the kitchen fit all of your appliances?
- Does the apartment complex have a spot for your car?
- Is there enough space for all of your roommates?
- Where are the washer and dryer?
- How many bathrooms are there?
- Is there a pool and/or hot tub?
These are all very important questions that you should keep in mind before signing a lease for an apartment. But if you keep it all in mind, and keep searching, you’re sure to find the perfect place for you. And look at it this way - if worst comes to worst you can always move again next year!
About the Author
My name is Alexander Ogloza and I’m a junior currently studying at the University of California, Davis. I’m the West Coast Regional Editor for Uloop, the student marketplace and news platform. When I’m not writing or editing articles, I like to dragon boat and sell apparel for charity through my brand The Runaway Robot. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org