Becoming a student at UGA as anything other than a freshman means that you will be faced with the inevitable decision on whether to live on or off campus. This can be quite a difficult decision to make, especially when you’ve never been in this situation before. In addition, it can be hard to find information specifically about the on vs off campus experience at UGA. Luckily, we’ve created this guide–brought to you by a UGA student–so that you can weigh the pros and cons of each option and hopefully make your decision process a bit easier.
On Campus Experience at UGA
One of the main benefits that come with living on campus is the location. Campus living is very convenient, as it means you won’t need to spend as much time commuting since everything is a proximal distance from your dorm. In addition, on-campus social events will be more accessible to you. One major benefit to living on campus is they have all inclusive apartments and dorms. This is very beneficial for incoming freshmen and new students looking to socialize and meet new people. Graduate students prefer on-campus as well, because you are close to everything you need. Another benefit, is that UGA currently has 22 dorm and living options, which means that you have a variety of options to choose from if you decide to live on campus. You could opt for a single dorm or have a roommate. However, with so many students choosing to live on campus each year, it can be difficult to secure your preferred dorm during the housing sign up process.
Although living on campus is great for the location and social aspect, it also can be quite expensive in comparison to living off campus, and prices will vary depending on the type of dorm you choose. Also, if you don’t manage to snag a single room, there’s a good chance that you will have a roommate or multiple suitemates–which means that you may not have much privacy. Lastly, there are several housing rules that students must abide by in order to stay on campus.
In comparison, living off campus naturally gives students more privacy and freedom than living in a dorm does. In an apartment, students are likely to have their own room and the apartment buildings aren’t likely to be as packed and–sometimes–loud as certain residence halls can be. Even if you're living in a 3 bedroom apartment with roommates, you'd still likely be afforded more privacy than you'd get in most dorms on campus. One nice thing about living off campus is apartments with fitness centers. Being able to workout away from the crowds and in your own apartment building is a real convenience. Living off campus also gives you more choices for apartments with private bathrooms. In addition, in most residence halls at UGA–aside from the University Village apartments–residents don’t have kitchens in their dorms and must use a communal kitchen in their building if they want to cook. In apartments, students will get to have their own kitchen, along with several other amenities that are free to use.
A con to living off campus is having to commute, and it can be harder for commuters to obtain parking passes as well. Commuting can be time consuming, and you will have to allow yourself enough time to get to your classes. With that being said, living off campus can still have its benefits in regard to location. For example, if you choose to live in Downtown Athens, you will be near several different restaurants and businesses, as well as walking distance from the Arch and North Campus. If you decide to live downtown be sure to look into apartments with parking garages. Parking can be difficult so having a parking garage makes your life a lot easier.
Overall, making the choice on whether to live on or off campus comes down to what factors you value the most, as there are both benefits and compromises to be made in both living situations. If you really value having a close location to your classes and the ability to easily attend campus social events, then living on campus may be the right choice. On the other hand, if you value privacy and want more freedom, off campus may be the right choice for you. Hopefully this guide has helped give more insight into the differences between the two so that you have an easier time making a decision!
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