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Harnwell College House, a high rise apartment complex open to upperclassmen.

Photo: Carson Kahoe

It’s barely the middle of the first semester, but you might already be trying to decide whether to stay on campus next year, or spread your wings and venture out into West Philly. The Daily Pennsylvanian broke down the pros and cons to help you decide: 

ON CAMPUS:  Harnwell, Harrison, Rodin and Dubois provide ample space for upperclassmen socialization. 

Pros:

  • Close proximity to food, especially the Bridge Café omelet bar on weekends
  • Being able to call maintenance when you have a room malfunction
  • Never having to walk more than ten minutes to get most places
  • Cool RAs and GAs
  • Not having to worry about furnishing your apartment, getting a fridge and everything else you forgot about before you moved in
  • Not having to deal with subletters
  • Libraries and rooftop lounges will motivate you to hit the books instead of the snooze button.  Again. 
  • Taking long, hot showers and not caring about your electricity bill
  • The RA and GA unlimited Insomnia Cookies fund

Cons: 

  • The closest food option is Commons
  • Maintenance probably won’t show up
  • Narc-y RAs and GAs
  • Getting busted for alcohol
  • When your RA/GA guilts you into going to hall events 
  • Awkward eye-contact on your elevator rides and being five minutes late for everything

The lowdown:  Staying on campus is the lowest-effort and most convenient option. Unless you’re willing to start planning your housing situation now, stay on campus one more year and bask in having no responsibilities. You won’t have to worry about furniture, subletting and bills, and can get away with leaving your room ten minutes before class starts (unless you're going to DRL). For the best chance of getting your ideal room, find a group of four (there are far fewer triples than quads) and pray to the gods of Campus Express for a good room selection time slot. 


OFF CAMPUS: Greek chapter houses, the Radian, Hamilton Court, Campus Apartments, Domus etc.

Pros:

  • The amazing house parties and pre-games you and your roomies can finally host
  • More space
  • Feeling automatically cooler than you did last year
  • The close relationship you will inevitably develop with your Postmates delivery guy
  • Closer to parties, Smokes, Allegros and (for the next morning) Honest Toms
  • Getting real world experience paying bills and rent
  • Instacart-ing alcohol right to your apartment

Cons:

  • Cleaning up after that amazing house party you had
  • The struggle of walking 25 minutes to DRL for your 9 a.m. recitation. In the rain. On a Friday. 
  • Trying to find a subletter for the summer
  • Developing a close relationship with your Netflix account because it’s too much of a hassle to go meet up with people
  • Paying bills and rent
  • Your crazy neighbors who blast music on Sunday night when you're trying to sleep
  • Endless runs to the West Philly Target for everything you forgot to buy (wasn't someone supposed to bring silverware?)

The lowdown:  Living off campus, you’ll find out that real life hits you quickly.  Dealing with bills and furnishing is a hassle, but you’ll also bond more with your roommates.  If you have a solid group and are willing to put in the extra effort to get a sweet apartment, find an off-campus home — you’ll spend a lot more time walking and shopping for a gently-used couch, but the potential for pre-games plus a more permanent home can be worth it.  Plus, depending on where you choose to live, off-campus can be cheaper than living in a dorm — or much more expensive.  Some of the best apartments go early, so make sure to start hunting now. 

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