Living On Campus vs. Off Campus: What You Need to Know

Living on campus vs. off campus — what are the benefits of each? Learn the factors students consider when choosing their housing at St. Catherine University.
Two roommates living on campus sit on the floor talking after moving in.

The best form of friendship, according to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, is “living together” — passing time in community, expressing thoughts and feelings over food, games, and deep conversation. He believed how you live with others really matters.

College is a time for students to explore interests, expand worldviews, and encounter new ways of life. In addition to choosing courses, many students enjoy the privilege of deciding where they plan to live while attending school.

Choosing to live on campus or off campus can be a challenge. Each living situation offers different benefits. Consider this in-depth comparison of the appealing features of living on campus vs. off campus.

3 Reasons to Live On Campus

The majority of first-year students live on campus at St. Catherine University, according to Director of Residence Life Amanda Perin, and that number seems to be growing.

St. Kate’s offers traditional rooms, suites, and apartments. Each building area has its own “twists and personality,” Perin says. While fast internet, plush chairs, and campus ghost stories may entice prospective students, the opportunity to develop lasting friendships and make smart financial choices is what seems to drive on-campus living.

According to Perin, the top three reasons students love living on campus at St. Kate’s include:

  • Quality time with other students
  • Easy, bundled payment plan
  • Proximity to campus activities

1. Easily Meet Other Students

Getting opportunities to know your roommates may be the most important reason to live on campus, according to Gabrielle Agbényiga, who is pursuing a double major in economics and women and international development at St. Kate’s.

“The biggest benefits of living on campus are being able to connect with students (especially as a first-year) and having access to certain spaces late at night when you’re trying to finish off some homework,” she shares.

Campus living comes with opportunities to join ResLife clubs, which Agbényiga describes as helping students “connect with people who have the same obsessions as you, such as binge-watching, anime, baking, etc.”

2. Save Money With One Convenient Payment

Many students have the impression that off-campus living costs less than on-campus living. However, it can be “more affordable to live on campus and more predictable in pricing,” Perin explains. “You know the cost of everything before you sign up.”

At St. Kate’s, the full housing package includes:

  • Room costs (including water and electricity)
  • Full furnishings (including a bed, desk, chair, and closet space)
  • High-speed Wi-Fi
  • Cable, plus HBO Max
  • Laundry (at no additional charge)

Bundled together into one easy payment, these on-campus amenities can help students avoid the hidden costs of commuting — buying furniture, paying for gas, finding parking, and so on. Having a single payment (rather than separate monthly bills for rent, water, electricity, and internet) can help students focus on what matters to them.

Plus, St. Kate’s offers flexibility for students wishing to study abroad that private landlords may not. “We let people out of their [Campus Living] Agreement if you study abroad or have another academic need,” Perin says.

Stay Close to Resources and Campus Activities

Residential life is full of resources and activities for students who decide to live on campus. By staying in dorms, students can roll out of bed and navigate quickly to class, the library, academic advising, and other supportive campus services.

“Students talk about it being super easy to get to classes and access events,” Perin says. “[It’s] super easy to get connected.”

3 Reasons to Live Off Campus

Living off campus can also have its perks. Some students prefer to leave the comforts of residential life behind and jump into an off-campus living situation, where they may feel a greater sense of independence.

1. Get a Taste of Post-Collegiate Life

Students live off campus in similar conditions to people post-graduation: They may sign a six-month or 12-month lease agreement with a landlord, pay utility and internet bills, and furnish their own rooms.

Often, fellow students choose to move off campus together to share the responsibilities of independent living.

2. Enjoy Greater Flexibility

While St. Kate’s offers many different types of on-campus housing, students may prefer to share an off-campus house or an apartment where they have more space or different types of living spaces./p>

“One drawback, I would say, with living on campus is that your space and how much you receive may change as you choose to live in different areas or with more than one person,” Agbényiga says.

Students who live off campus may also choose to have more flexibility in their class schedule by attending online or hybrid classes. Living off campus may also prove more convenient for students who have off-campus jobs.

3. Experience Fewer Distractions

Some students work better in a quieter, slower-paced environment than a typical campus dorm. While living off campus does not guarantee a serene living situation, some students may find that it offers a less distracting study environment.

Learn More About Residential Life at St. Kate’s

When it comes to living on campus vs. off campus, students need to think about their own requirements for social, financial, and academic success. Ultimately, though, there are many benefits to living with and befriending new people while co-creating a community, whether on campus or off.

How will you choose to engage with the campus community at St. Kate’s? Learn about the variety of housing options at St. Catherine’s Residence Life Office and how you can enjoy community, convenience, and connection while earning a top-notch education.

Recommended Readings

Gender Bias in the Workplace: Bridging the Gap for Women in Business

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What Is a Travel Nurse? Job Description and Salary


Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

College Basics, “Benefits of Campus Living: Do Students Living on Campus Do Better Academically?”

ThoughtCo, “Should I Live On or Off Campus?”

U.S. News & World Report, “5 Reasons to Rent Off-Campus in College”