Moving off campus is a big and exciting step for students; however, it comes with new responsibilities and sometimes daunting tasks. Don’t let that stop you from taking action! Here are a few tips and ideas to help you launch into your off-campus lifestyle.
While searching & signing:
Prioritize your values. How far are you willing to be from campus? How many roommates do you want to have? Do you value new amenities or maybe your own bathroom? Have a flexible list of priorities, not requirements. Find a good balance, and don’t expect a perfect fit.
Stay organized. Frequently communicate with management and the leasing office, as they won’t always give explicit instructions. Stay up to date with forms and signatures and always ask questions when you’re feeling uncertain. It’s important to be proactive and diligent.
Get your numbers straight. Many apartments add on extra, hidden fees such as Wi-Fi and utilities. The number you see on the website may not be entirely inclusive. Call and ask!
Check it out. If you can, take the bus, walk or drive to potential apartments. It’s nice to get a feel for the location, even if you don’t take an official tour. You don’t want to be surprised about anything on move-in day.
Act fast. The student housing market is competitive. As soon as you make a decision on a lease and roommates (or lack thereof), act on it. However, there is no need to stress. As long as you make steady progress, you’re on the right track.
Before moving in:
Talk to your roommates. Whether you know them or not, reach out and connect with your roommates. Before move-in, you’ll want to establish who brings what and have an understanding of each other’s living habits.
Bring what you can from home. Living off campus means you’ll need to bring and buy significantly more things. Whether it be furniture, kitchen supplies, living room decor or household essentials, gather what you already have before breaking the bank.
Set a budget. Unlike on-campus living, you will have extra expenses such as groceries, utilities and gas (if you bring a car). Be sure to factor in and prepare for these variable costs when planning your semester.
Meal plan? Parking pass? Even if you cook, a meal plan or purchasing semesterly dining dollars can be a lifesaver for long days on campus. Also, Blacksburg Transit is reliable and convenient, and commuter parking lots are scarce and far from academic buildings. Therefore, a campus parking pass is not necessary but is sometimes useful. Assess your lifestyle, academic schedule and priorities to decide.
Get excited. Living off campus is fun, different and exciting. This new responsibility brings so many opportunities and unfamiliar adventures. You have lots to look forward to!