Evaluate living options before committing.

By Tahlia Terhune, Columnist

Choosing a major may be a big decision in your college career, but right behind that is the decision about living circumstances. While for some it may be easy, others have a difficult time deciding which housing is best for them.

Many opt for on-campus housing to get the college experience. Others want less rules and freedom from authority and choose to live on their own or rent a house with peers.

There are many pros and cons with both, and ultimately it comes down to what you value in a living context. For students living within 30 miles of campus or for those who are older than 21 or have junior status, they may choose to live off campus. This includes the residential halls such as South and Kreidler that are uniquely designed.

This is my second year as a commuter student and I have no intentions of living on campus. The beginning of my first year was difficult as a commuter student in that it was a challenge to connect with people. However, it required me to be proactive and get involved in alternative ways other than residential halls.

“I live on campus for the convenience of having close access to classes, and because it helps me feel connected to my peers and school,” sophomore Lee Shaffer said.

According to Pacific Lutheran University’s Resources for High School Counselors, only 49 percent of PLU students live on campus. This balance means that wherever you stand on the residential scale, you’re not alone.

The sense of community that can be gained through living in residential halls can be beneficial in building relationships with your peers, however, it can also be costly.

For the 2012-13 academic school year, room and board costs were $9,620. Depending on your financial situation, this may be no problem. As an alternative, you could live with parents to save money if you live within 30 miles or you could search for an inexpensive rental house near campus if you are older than 21 or have junior status.

“Living off campus saves me money and gives me an opportunity to prepare for independence after graduation,” senior Mary Agnes Villanueva said.

A thought you may want to consider is you get what you pay for. A positive to living on campus means security and a short walking distance to classes. While living off campus you may have to consider things such as security and parking or walking.

Whether you choose on-campus housing, living with parents or renting nearby with peers, remember to weigh all of your options. Take into account not only cost but convenience and alternative expenses such as driving and parking. 🅼

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