College is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. Because tuition prices are constantly on the rise, many graduating high school seniors choose to attend community college. Community college is a convenient and affordable way to obtain a 2-year degree or to complete some prerequisites before transferring to a 4-year college. But you still have to consider the cost of living.
Many community college students choose to live at home while studying to compound the money-saving benefits of attending community college. If you’re going to a school a little further from home, however, or if you’re looking for a more authentic college experience, you might be looking into other options. Whether you choose to live on campus or off, consider living with a roommate to save money.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of living with a roommate and talk about the pros and cons of living on campus versus off-campus living. We’ll also provide you with some simple tips for keeping the peace while living with a roommate while attending community college.
What Are the Benefits of Living with Roommates?
Everyone who’s ever lived with another person has horror stories about awkward or frustrating interactions. The truth is that sharing a space with another person is likely to bring up a few challenges. But what are the benefits of living with a roommate?
Here are a few of the good things to consider:
- Having a roommate to split costs can save you a lot of money on rent, utilities, and even everyday living expenses like groceries.
- If you get along with your roommate, they could potentially become a close friend and a source of support.
- Sharing a space with someone else means that you don’t have to furnish the entire thing yourself – your roommate may already have some furniture or can split the cost to buy it.
- You’ll always have someone you can talk to and lean on when you need them, as long as your relationship is positive.
- When it comes to keeping your home clean, you’ll have someone you can split the responsibilities with.
Though living with a roommate has the potential to save you a lot of money, there are some risks involved. There is always the possibility that your roommate might miss a payment. When it comes to utilities, that might not be a big deal, but missing a rent payment leaves you stuck paying the full amount. Roommates can also be messy, inconsiderate, or even nosy at times, but these are qualities that can apply to just about any person. Later in this article you’ll learn some helpful tips for living peacefully with a roommate.
Why Should You Consider On-Campus Housing?
Most traditional 4-year colleges and universities offer on-campus housing and, for many, freshman are guaranteed that housing during their first year. But what about community colleges?
According to an article published by U.S. News, about 25% of community colleges now offer on-campus housing. Between 2000 and 2010, more than 40 community colleges added new student housing and that number continues to climb each year. Examples include Jefferson Community College in New York which opened its first residence hall in 2014 and Rose State College in Oklahoma which broke ground on its first dormitory in September 2015. Colleges like these have set an example and many community colleges around the country are stepping up to the plate.
Here are some of the benefits of living on campus:
- If you’re taking out student loans to pay for community college tuition, you can lump in the cost of on-campus housing.
- You don’t have to spend as much time or money traveling to and from campus.
- Studies show that students who live on campus typically get better grades and have a higher graduation rate.
- You’ll find it easier to connect with other students and take advantage of resources and social opportunities.
- Living on campus gives you a built-in community you can draw from for friendship and support.
- You’ll enjoy a more complete college experience – something similar to the experience offered by a traditional 4-year college or university.
When it comes to on-campus housing, most 4-year colleges and universities offer a variety of housing options, though many of them are only available to upperclassmen. Freshman and sophomore students are often required to live with a roommate, especially if housing is limited. When it comes to community college on-campus housing, you’re unlikely to find single residency options, but you never know. If you have your heart set on a single, consider going off-campus.
Is It Cheaper to Live Off-Campus?
There are clearly many benefits to living on campus while you attend community college. From reduced commute times to increased opportunities for social engagement, living on campus is a great option. Unfortunately, campus living can be expensive when you factor in the cost of your room and board.
But is it really cheaper to live off-campus? And what are the other benefits?
When deciding whether to live on or off-campus, there is one key thing to keep in mind. With on-campus living, prices are set. If you decide to move off-campus, you have the freedom to choose your living situation and, as much as is possible, you can control the cost. You can also control your food costs instead of paying for a meal plan.
Here are some of the other benefits of living off-campus:
- You’ll likely be able to find a place that is much larger than any on-campus dorm for the same price or less, especially if you live with a roommate.
- Living off-campus means you’ll have a kitchen and a bathroom (maybe even a private bathroom). On-campus housing usually has shared kitchens and bathrooms.
- You have the option to purchase additional amenities such as cable and high-speed internet.
- You’ll gain valuable life experience budgeting your money and paying bills.
- You set your own rules when you live off-campus – you don’t have to worry as much about quiet hours and curfews.
- Living on your own makes it less of a hassle if you have dietary restrictions – you can cook for yourself instead of relying on the cafeteria to provide options.
- You can maintain some physical distance between yourself and the campus which may help reduce stress levels.
Whether you choose to live on campus or off, living with a roommate is a great way to save money. That isn’t to say it will always be easy, however. Read on to learn some simple tips for living with roommates.
Tips for Keeping the Peace with Roommates
Living with another person is always going to be a challenge. The best way to ensure that things go smoothly is to set some ground rules up front and to be open and honest with your roommate. If you are able to choose your own roommate, look for someone who keeps similar hours, maybe even someone within your own program. If you don’t get to choose, make some time to get to know each other and set some boundaries and expectations upfront.
Here are some additional tips for keeping the peace while living with roommates:
- When conflicts arise, address them immediately in an honest conversation instead of letting frustration and resentment burrow in deep.
- Be respectful of each other’s privacy and personal belongings – always ask before you borrow something or enter your roommate’s personal space.
- Always ask your roommate before inviting people over – this may not be necessary for a single friend or significant other but ask ahead of time for parties.
- Make sure to keep the place secure – always lock up when you leave, even if it’s for a few minutes, to protect your own property as well as your roommate’s.
- Be pleasant and friendly with your roommate, even if you aren’t the best of friends – it’s much more pleasant to live together if you’re kind.
- Try to make an effort to get to know your roommate – if there are things that frustrate you, learning a little more about your roommate’s background may give you a new perspective.
- Treat your roommate the way you want to be treated – this goes for every human interaction, but you can’t expect your roommate to treat you well if you don’t exemplify the same behavior.
Attending community college is a great way to save money on furthering your education. You can’t control the cost of tuition, but you can choose where you live, and that’s another great way to save money. Take what you’ve learned here to heart and decide whether living with a roommate is the right option for you and whether you want to live on or off-campus.