Should you go off campus or stay on campus?

Students weigh in on the decision

· November 27, 2012, 8:12 pm

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It’s that time of year — the housing application process is just around the corner, and it’s time for students to make an important decision. Off campus or on campus?

The Daily Pennsylvanian explores some of the differences between on-campus and off-campus housing, as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages.

Off-Campus Housing
Off-campus housing encompasses options including Greek housing, renting a room in a house or living in an apartment building such as Hamilton Court.

Off-campus housing options vary widely in price, ranging from $700 to $3,000 per month.

Depending on the landlord, the duration of a lease will vary, though it are generally entails a yearlong commitment. Students may often need to sublet their room during the summer.

Some students shared their experiences living off-campus.

“In general, you get more space living off-campus in terms of living space, and you also get a full-size kitchen for a cheaper price … the Radian is a little more expensive, but the amenities in general are a lot nicer.” — Wharton sophomore Daniel Weizman, the Radian

“Living in the chapter house is cheaper for me … I enjoy it because I know everyone in my house really well and you can’t get that anywhere else. We have really big common areas and bigger rooms.” — Engineering sophomore Cruz Vargas, Sigma Nu

“All of the facilities are really new. It’s a lot cleaner, so you don’t have to worry about rodents or mold. You can have pets here, there’s a gym in Domus, and they have a Starbucks right downstairs, which has become part of my morning routine when I get up.” — College sophomore Lina Bader, Domus


This semester, Penn’s Off-Campus Services released a new online tool for students who are considering off-campus housing next year.

“The site will provide students with enhanced property search optimization, a module to search roommate profiles, the option to message property managers via the website and the ability to save favorite properties,” Manager of Off-Campus Housing Peter Gemmellaro said.
He added that this software will enhance the experience for both renters and property owners by including video and photographs.

On-Campus Housing
Generally, on-campus housing costs around $1,000 per month or $7,000 per semester, but will vary depending on the type of room and college house selected.

Penn’s housing contract is the same for all college houses.

For many students, the benefits of living on campus are worth the cost.

“In-house events are nice, and they’re good communities to meet other students. Having a GA or RA is also nice, [and] I still keep in touch with my GA from last year. It makes you feel more at home.” — College sophomore Nish Patel, Harnwell

“It’s really nice having a dining hall in the dorm — that’s awesome. In terms of distance, I have classes in Fisher-Bennett and DRL, so if I lived around 40th street that would be a pain to walk all that way. Having free washer and dryer service and convenience stores and cafes built in that are open until 2 a.m. is [also] really convenient.” — Wharton freshman Eli Bernstein, King’s Court

“On-campus housing is very convenient. Everything is taken care of for you … if anything breaks like your toilet or hot water you don’t have to worry about fixing it yourself.” — Wharton and College junior Yibo Jia, Rodin

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