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Dorms or UCLA Off-Campus Housing: Which Is Better?


College is where legends are made, including stories of that cramped, 8’x8’ dorm your uncle shared with his crazy roommate when he was in school. Now it’s your turn: you are about to graduate from college or perhaps already have, and this fall you will be joining over 40,000 students at UCLA to make your own memories. In the midst of shopping for new clothes, boxing up what will stay behind, and writing thank-you notes for graduation gifts, you’ve got a big decision to make: will you live in a dorm or in UCLA off-campus housing? While many first-year students live on campus in dorms as opposed to student housing off campus at UCLA, you don’t automatically have to. Before you send in your room deposit, it may help to look at the differences between each one so that you can make the decision that’s right for you. 

First Difference: Price and Options

A common misconception is that staying in off-campus student housing near UCLA is more expensive than living on campus. It may surprise you to learn that it can actually be cheaper even when the cost of transportation is added in. If you anticipate taking out loans to pay for your education, that savings may help you in the long run. Students also have more housing options if they live off campus, including studio apartments for rent in Koreatown and UCLA graduate housing, all of which are likely to be bigger than your dorm. These factors alone can make living off campus a good choice for you.

Second Difference: Independence and Freedom

While it is natural for students to miss their families and their homes, many relish the chance to live on their own and take care of themselves. There is something exciting about walking into your first Koreatown studio and realizing that you are the one who will be cooking spaghetti over the stove (and doing the dishes) or unloading groceries. The first time you fall asleep in your UCLA off-campus housing and then wake up the next morning to take a walk in your neighborhood is another important milestone. True, you can have similar experiences living in a UCLA dorm, but they won’t quite be the same as if you live in an apartment.

Third Difference: Solitude

Staying in UCLA off-campus housing tends to be quieter than living in a dorm room. This is partially true because you may have adults who are already in the workforce living next door to you, and they might not be the type of people who blast their music at all hours of the night. This can be a real bonus because you can study more effectively without having to find a table at a library. Remember: if you crave the company of people and things get too quiet, you can always hit the bars in Koreatown, which are some of the best in Los Angeles.

Fourth Difference: Preparation for Life After UCLA

When you sign a rental contract for your UCLA off-campus housing and begin making monthly rent payments, you will be building up a history that may help you when you get an apartment after graduation. If you live off campus all four years at UCLA, then by the time you enter the workforce and get your own place, you will be able to show the leasing agent that you are reliable. That could be a major plus when you start your professional life.

Will You Live Off or On Campus?

In the end, only you can decide where you should live when you study at UCLA. Remember: look at prices for UCLA off-campus housing vs. a dorm, factor in what is and what isn’t included, and ask yourself how much privacy you really need. That way, you’ll make an informed decision, one that is perfect for you.

Tripalink creates co-living communities and student housing opportunities across the United States. We simplify the apartment search to reduce the cost of living, create beautiful homes, and help both students and young professionals find a community in their city. For more information about Tripalink and co-living, please see www.tripalink.com