Finding accommodation as a college student can be challenging, especially right now, during a pandemic. Your accommodation at the university might be exactly what you want but unfortunately, the prices to live on campus can be higher than expected. Some colleges prefer to give out accommodation loans to help students afford to live on campus, while others will never do that. In any case, checking with your university on this issue is definitely worth it. But this is not the only thing you can do to find cheap accommodation. There are other options for you – here are some of the others.
1. Start the process early in the summer
You cannot expect to find affordable accommodation during the school year if you don’t begin the process ahead of time. You should plan out everything at the smallest detail to ensure that your budget fits your cause and that you get the quality room that you deserve at the right price. Many students get tricked into paying double the amount if they don’t start their search early in the summer. Real estate agents and landlords will take advantage of your inability to find better housing, so they’ll increase the prices as you speak. It is therefore essential to look for accommodation no later than July. This way, you might be able to negotiate a price that you can afford, considering that landlords and realtors know that you could always go to their neighbors if they don’t work with you.
2. Become an RA
Most colleges offer returning students the opportunity to become Resident Assistants. Usually, RAs don’t have to pay accommodation at all – their job is to supervise the halls and the other students and report to the campus director. The application should be open to anyone interested, so if you want to build leadership skills and get free accommodation, apply. There will be an essay contest for the position for most schools. But instead of procrastinating and thinking about who can help with assignments, you could reach out to an online service to help you with that. EduBirdie, for example, is an excellent place to find expert writers that will help you get the RA job easily.
3. Reach out to the right people
The first person you want to reach out to is the housing department official since they could help you find free rooms, if any. Before you reach out, check the requirements for getting on campus housing. For some universities, the rules state that, if you live in a certain mile radius, you cannot get on-campus accommodation. Check to see if that is true for you and if not, reach out to the housing official. If they won’t help you, contact the next person in charge, which is the private residence providers. Unis might not know that private residences have available spots, so it is worth checking.
4. Be willing to commute
If nothing on-campus or around campus works out, you should consider commuting. Most students do not like this option, especially in their first years of school, but this is how things look like sometimes. Think about how far you are willing to commute. There are many factors that play into this decision. For one, the ability to drive and own a car. And two, the distance between the campus and your house. If you plan things out the right way, living off campus can be a blessing, especially if you plan on studying at home or getting an off-campus job. You could talk to some commutes at your college to see what they have to say about commuting – is it as challenging as others might say it is? Is it time consuming? How about gas and other costs? Do your research before making any decision but be willing to make the right one for you.
5. Check for study spaces
An on-campus residence will always include study spaces because of the nature of the place. However, off-campus rooms are not always suited for students; some of them might not offer a study space, which can be quite disappointing. In the end, you are here for a reason: to get your university degree. So, keep searching for places until you find one that features exactly what you need to be able to focus on your schoolwork.
6. Find roommates and move in
The last thing to do it find the right roommates. You might have some friends whom you’ve planning to move in with. If not, there are always places such as Facebook Market or Craigslist where you can find people with the same interests as you. Always meet up with them before agreeing to live with them to see what they are all about. If you live on campus, you could sign up for the housing portal to get matched with students who’d make a good fit for you.
Finding accommodation as a student can be challenging, but if you start the process early on and consider all of your options, you’ll be able to make it work. Good luck!
Robert Everett is an essay writer and blogger for a popular magazine in the U.S. He writes about daily experiences, marine biology, and student affairs. In his free time, Robert likes to go fishing and travel the world.