If you are a senior in high school, or part of the recent high school graduating class, you know that you face a lot of decisions about your future. One of the key choices will be where to go to college. There are many options and paths to explore, from state schools to national universities to Ivy League institutions. Filling out applications and crafting the perfect college essay takes time, and you’ll also find your calendar full of planned visits to your likely university choices.

After you go through all the hard work of applying to your favorite schools, they’ll be anxious days as you await word on whether you were accepted. Finally, the magic moment arrives and you can begin to celebrate when the college lets you know you are in. While it may feel like the process of getting to college is now complete, you find out that you still have lots of choices to make. One of the key things you’ll have to decide is where to live while you are attending your university.

Dorms vs. Off Campus Living

For many years, living in a college dorm was a default selection when it came to getting your degree. Times have changed, fortunately, and students now have excellent choices when it comes to off campus apartment options. Instead of having to live in a small, cramped dorm room, you can now choose an apartment where you’ll have your own bedroom.

Dorms were typically designed to pack in as many students as possible into a small space. The universities then charged top dollar for their stock of housing, and pushed it as the right solution. Students were typical wedged into a shared room, with few amenities and little privacy. In an off-campus apartment you’ll have a private bedroom and space to hang out in the living area too.

Save Money by Making Your Own Meals

Paying for a college meal plan, semester after semester, can become incredibly costly. Yet that’s the option you’d have to go with if you lived in a dorm. It’s a lot better financially, and health-wise, to get an off-campus apartment where you and your flat mates will have a full kitchen available.

If you and your off-campus roommates pool your money and buy food in bulk, you’ll be able to eat great meals and save lots of cash too. You can also eat more nutritiously, as you’ll control what is in the food you prepare. Cooking can be even more fun when you consult online videos and learn to prepare incredible international dishes.

Consider All the Amenities

Another reason to vote for off-campus living comes when you tally up the different amenities. Instead of enduring the crowded communal dorm bathrooms, you can choose an apartment where you’ll have your own private bathroom. Many units also have their own washers and dryers, so getting your laundry done affordably and easily is a breeze there.

Parking is also a big consideration in living on campus. Typically, student parking lots are centralized and far from your dorm rooms. With an off-campus dwelling, you’ll be able to park right near your door and have easy access to where you live.

Once you’ve gotten accepted by one of your college choices, the preparations for your great new adventure begin. Choosing the right off-campus living option can make a big difference in your comfort and budget over the next four years.