How to Choose the Best College Housing Option for Your Child

Are you wondering whether your child needs to live on campus during their college years? The truth is, college students have a variety of housing options to choose from, each with its own advantages and considerations.

In this article, we will explore some of the popular housing choices available to college students, helping you and your child make an informed decision.

On-Campus Housing

Although not required, on-campus housing is the most popular choice. In fact, more than 90 percent of incoming freshmen at a four-year university live in some kind of student hall. The reason is simple: living in a traditional residence hall makes it easier to meet other students and make long-lasting friends.

There’s also an inbuilt support network in on-campus housing you won’t find anywhere else. Not only does your child have supportive friends, but also residential advisors that can help them navigate the ups and downs of college life when you can’t be there to offer your support.

On-campus housing, if your child chooses it, is also added to the school’s tuition, as is a meal plan. The good thing about this is that financial aid resources cover the costs, so neither you nor your child will have to pay rent out of pocket.

Shared Housing

Renting a room in a shared house or apartment complex is the next best option if your child wants to live with fellow students. The only downside is that rent and the cost of utilities must be paid every month, but this arrangement can be beneficial if you’re trying to encourage your child to develop budgeting skills.

Depending on the university, there may even be apartment options on or close to campus, which can be arranged through campus housing. However, the cheapest option is generally to find a roommate situation off-campus and have your child commute.

Living Alone

Independent students who prefer privacy may want to live alone during their college years. If your child has a steady source of income and can afford monthly rent, utility costs, and food, living alone in a one-room apartment can be a good choice. Unless they live in a large metropolitan area with public transportation, though, they will need their own vehicle, which is another expense to consider.

When your child wants to live alone, compare apartment complexes to find the right fit. You want a situation that will benefit your child’s education, not hinder it, and is safe, with a good vibe.

At Home

Living at home while attending college is the most affordable option for any student. Attending a local school and commuting from home allows a student to save money and graduate with less debt, but there are some things to consider. Living at home doesn’t provide the same opportunities for developing independence or making new friends. Your child may also feel burdened by the same rules and curfews they experienced in high school, which can hinder personal growth and maturity.

Overall, living at home is a smart move, but it does prevent your child from getting the full college experience.


Ultimately, there are multiple housing options for college students beyond on-campus accommodation. From the vibrant community of on-campus living to the independence of living alone or the cost-effectiveness of living at home, each choice has its pros and cons.

It is crucial to have an open and honest conversation with your child about their preferences and goals. Consider exploring alternative arrangements such as family living options, co-ops, or Greek residences, which some universities offer.

By considering all possibilities, you can help your child make an informed decision that aligns with their values, aspirations, and financial circumstances.

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