As spring semester is now in full swing, many students have already asked themselves, “where should I live next year?” Whether living on campus in a dormitory or an apartment five blocks away from campus, students are anxious to find their home away from home for the 2009-2010 school year.
Many incoming freshmen decide to spend their first year living on campus, which can be both rewarding and downright frustrating. Dorm life allows students to escape their parents, embrace individuals from all walks of life, and make great friends. However it can also be a challenging experience filled with roommate woes, dining hall food, and obeying university policy.
“Historically, we have always housed mostly first and second year students in campus housing, in the residence halls in particular, with junior and senior students opting for other alternatives, mostly off campus,” said Peter Galloway, director of student housing.
With the new housing project underway, students will be provided with newer facilities, which offer amenities not previously available on campus. The newer facilities may attract more upperclassmen to decide to take a room assignment at a dorm, instead of signing a lease for an off campus apartment or house.
Upperclassmen are faced with an important decision to either continue living on campus, or seek off campus housing. Many students decide to live on campus for all four years of their college career because of their involvement in campus activities, for financial aid reasons, or the comfort of a full service facility.
Students who decide to live off campus may seek more privacy, independence, or personal responsibility by paying rent and bills each month.
“As you grow older and become more comfortable with collegiate living and providing independently for yourself, you find those living situations where the lifestyle requires this, such as off campus apartments and houses, more appealing,” said Michael Selby, assistant director of student housing.
There is a wide range of freedoms and responsibilities waiting at the doorstep of students who decide to take the off campus route. However, many students are often faced with difficulties such as apartments or houses that don’t match their needs, as well as their budget. Students are also limited to only a certain number of properties, which makes living off campus competitive among students.
“Due to the overwhelming number of students that want to live off campus, it creates a competitive, chaotic headache around this time of year,” said junior Hilary Weissman. “Both living on and off campus have their benefits, however living in a house with friends seems more appealing as an upperclassmen.”
Throughout West Chester Borough there are many realtors and agencies that guide students through the process of finding off campus housing. In particular, Zukin Realty Inc. offers students every year with a housing fair, which allows students to tour a wide variety of living spaces from studios to apartments and houses. If students are interested, they are able to secure their living for the following school year. This year, Zudkin Realty Inc. had their housing fair on Monday, Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Our housing fair was a success,” said Barbara Payne, a Zukin Realty Inc. property manager. “Over the course of 6 hours there were 75 students and some parents who attended, with intentions of securing living for the 2009-2010 university session.”
Time is of the essence for students searching for housing for the 2009-2010 school year. Students must act quickly in deciding if they want to live on or off campus.
Melissa Stack is a third-year student majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Journalism. She can be reached at MS626731@wcupa.edu.