Tips for Parents
Helping your student weigh the options
On Campus vs. Off Campus Housing
Although it seems early, your student will soon need to make a decision about where to live next year. You can help by exploring all the options with him.
"I Like It Here — I'm Staying."
Perhaps your student enjoys living on campus and is planning to stay in the same residence hall. If so, he needs to make sure that he learns about the housing lottery process so he can make this happen — nothing is automatic! Encourage him to ask a residence life staff member about the process, to go to informational meetings and to follow through. The responsibility is in his hands to make this happen.
"I'd Like to Move Elsewhere on Campus."
Perhaps a theme house or campus apartment appeals to your student. She'll need to learn more about the application process and how to go about requesting these spaces through the housing lottery. Again, asking a student staffer or hall director is a great place to start!
"Some Friends and I Want to Move Off Campus."
The lure of off-campus living is undeniable for many students. Before committing to a lease with a group of friends, however, it's a good idea to help your student see the big picture. For instance:
- Is there really going to be a cost savings once you consider transportation, food, rent and other costs?
- Is living with this group of people a positive or a potentially negative thing?
- Will your student be less likely to get involved in campus organizations and events if she has to trudge back and forth from her house/apartment and campus?
- How will the weather impact his class attendance (i.e. if it's snowing, will he be less likely to clear his car off, shovel, find campus parking and get to class?)?
- Will her studies benefit from having a potentially quiet place of her own or will she miss having easy library access?
- Will he only hang out with the people he's living with, instead of having access to a variety of folks on campus?
- And is cooking for herself really going to happen or will her nutritional needs suffer without the variety offered in the campus dining halls?
Only you and your student can answer these questions truthfully. The end result is different for everyone.
So, where will your student hang her hat in the coming year? It's time to start talking turkey and figuring things out. Encourage your student to tap into campus resources, like off-campus liaisons, advisors, residence hall directors and others as she makes the decision that is best for her.
Things to Consider
- Is campus housing available for non-first-year students?
- What will your student's living situation mean in terms of his job, campus involvements, community service obligations, study time, athletic team participation and more?
- Is living in Greek housing an option? What are the pros and cons?
- What types of theme houses or floors are available on campus?
- What costs are associated with both on and off campus options?
- How does transportation and parking figure into the equation?
Costs to Consider
- parking fees
- rent/room fees
- meal plan/ groceries
- cleaning supplies
- special fees (i.e. for some Greek communities)
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Copyright 2006, 125 Paterson Ave., Little Falls, NJ 07424