Dorm or Apartment

According to statistics, the volume of purpose-built student housing units in the United States has been steadily increasing since 2010. By 2021, it reached 2.84. Some students still prefer moving into an apartment, though.

The choice is not always obvious. Each option has its pros and cons that you need to weigh carefully before making your decision. In fact, there are a whole lot of considerations to be made. I have made it easier for you to navigate this maze by singling out the key factors to look at. Keep reading to find out more.

–      Budgetary implications

The first one is a no-brainer. Cost is the decisive factor more often than not. If you are on a budget, opting for college dorms is almost always a cheaper solution. As long as you are happy with sharing some facilities and equipment, you will be better off staying on campus.

Staying in an apartment will set you back a bit more; however, you will enjoy greater privacy and better facilities. Still, renting an apartment on your own would still be an expensive choice. To save costs, you’d want to find a roommate.

Find someone you get along with well. You don’t want to end up living with an irresponsible person who only cares about his or her own tasks and priorities.

–      Introvert or extrovert?

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? Depending on your personality type, you can make a decision to enjoy maximum privacy or more social interactions. In college dorms, you cannot expect much privacy, whereas in an apartment, you might find it worth paying more to get some more breathing space.

If you are an extrovert, it might be a bit too daunting to live alone or even with a roommate. If you are an outgoing type, college dorms must be a more suitable environment.

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–      Fewer chores vs. more chores

Most colleges have resident advisors who are experienced in helping students deal with emergencies or minor daily issues. You can also sign up for meal plans to save time on cooking and washing dishes. That means fewer chores at a relatively reasonable cost. In addition, some dorms have pool tables and game rooms where you can enjoy games with fellow students.

You do not get any of the above when you live in an apartment. It all comes at an extra cost. If you have a good and responsible roommate, you can split some of these costs.

–      Travel to and from college

If you are not an early bird, staying in a college dorm must be the best option if you don’t want to miss your classes. Your apartment will not necessarily be close to your college, so you would need to factor in travel time. Depending on which part of town you stay in, you might be delayed by traffic jams or ineffective public transportation.

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–      Choosing your guests

In a college dorm, you don’t necessarily get to choose who comes into your room. In most cases, it can be pretty much anyone knocking on your door. That’s fine as long as you don’t mind casual talk and chitchat. But it can be really disruptive when you need to focus on something really important or urgent.

In an apartment, you obviously have far more freedom in deciding whom to invite. That gives you more leeway in deciding when you need maximum privacy to concentrate on your priority tasks. If you have pesky and grumpy neighbors, you have an extra problem to deal with, especially if you like late-night parties and loud music.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between college dorms and an apartment can be a challenging choice. If you are on a budget, college dorms might be an obvious choice. It also means you’ll have plenty of chances to get to know other students and save time on traveling to and from your college. College dorms also let you save costs on meals, cooking, and maintenance.

Apartments are more costly, but they give you far more privacy, even if you have to share it with someone else. This is particularly important if you are a private person and if you don’t enjoy crowded and noisy environments. If you need to focus on your work, college dorms are not necessarily an ideal option.


Joanne Elliot has an impressive track record in providing student coaching services at various colleges and universities. Throughout her career, she has been advising college students on academic as well as logistical matters. Joanne posts regular blogs and articles with recommendations reflecting her vast real-life experience and knowledge.

We hope you found this blog post on What to Choose for Moving: Dorm or Apartment useful. Be sure to check out our post on Moving to a Dorm: 7 Tips If You Want to Pack & Move Yourself for more great tips!

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