For a new batch of LMU students every quarter, the prospect of leaving the dorms and moving to off-campus student housing near LMU or Otis is an exciting one, but not one without it’s problems. For many students leaving campus for the first time, some of those problems can catch them off-guard. Here’s what we mean:
When you live on campus, everything is within walking distance. You don’t need a car in order to get something to eat, or to get to class. Off-campus housing isn’t like that — even if you get lucky enough to live right up the street from a decent restaurant, you’re not going to want to eat the same Mexican food every day for months on end (or be able to afford it!) Most off-campus housing has easy access to public transportation, so getting a bus to and from class isn’t an issue — just be sure the same bus stop can also easily get you to a grocery store.
Dorms aren’t cheap, but if you’re the kind of student who get scholarships and grant money, you’ll often be unaware of the cost until you try to move out on your own. Even moving into a Greek house, utilities are generally included in your monthly rent, so you might not notice how many and how large the individual expenses are until you move. When you add the cost of gas or a near-daily bus ride to the equation, off-campus housing can be surprisingly expensive — but nowhere near as expensive as a mortgage or renting an empty home and then providing all of the furnishings. It’s a tradeoff you’ll have to calculate carefully.
There are incredible benefits to Otis College of Art and Design or LMU off campus housing. The freedom of living without an RA looking over your shoulder, the ability to come and go as you please, party without campus police riding your backs…the list of freedoms you earn by going off-campus goes on and on. Furthermore, because off-campus housing tends to be closer to downtown than campus, so it’s easier to get to the nightlife and other bennies that the city has to offer.
Is off-campus housing right for you? Only you can decide — but you’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you’re not considering it.