Living in a Dorm Room or an Apartment while Studying?

Despite what people say, being a college student is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever going to do. Just think about it – you’re young, you’re free to do whatever you want, and you’re surrounded by your best friends all the time. However, not everyone’s experience is the same, and it strongly depends on where you live during your college years. Living in a dorm is a great way to meet new people and go to tons of parties while sharing an apartment with a handful of roommates teaches you responsibility and the importance of hard work. So, which of these ideas is better, and what are some of the pros and cons of each?


This is the first thing that will help you reach a decision – your monthly budget should cover your food, your expenses, your books, and your social activities, so how much money will you have for your accommodation? Depending on where you live, the cost between a dorm and an apartment can be huge, and this is something that could ultimately destroy your monthly budget without you even realizing it.

Although most people think that dorms are practically free, not all of them are, especially at some fancier schools. That means you have to look into all these costs before you decide to opt for a dorm and make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you. On the other hand, apartments come in various sizes and price ranges, which means you can always find that might suit you, no matter how much money you’ve got.


This is another important feature of any student’s life and another issue that might determine what kind of accommodation you might want to choose. Since dorms have lots of people living together, the chances for privacy are quite small. The only way to ensure your privacy is by living in one of those single-bedroom dorms, but these cost much more than shared units.

In apartments, however, students usually live with one just roommate or two, so you’ll probably be able to get a room of your own. You might have to share a bathroom, though, but that’s not such a big deal, especially if you grew up with a sibling. What you need to take into consideration is the shared space in an apartment – it might not be as spacious as you’ve hoped, so be prepared to spend considerable time getting to know your roommates.

Customization options

Living in a dorm means you’ll be able to bring in your own décor and some of your furniture, but you won’t be permitted to make substantial changes and renovations. While most students don’t have a problem with that and are actually happy with what they’ve got, others might want to do something different with this space and change it a bit.

If that’s something you want to do as well, living in an apartment is the right thing for you. If you reach an agreement with your roommates and your landlord, you’ll probably be able to introduce some serious changes into this place. Repainting the walls, changing the furniture, and even installing those amazing barn doors that will connect your interior space to the outside area will make your student apartment feel more like home. After all, this will boost your motivation as well, resulting in better grades, so these changes are really worth investing your time and energy into.


If you’re a person who likes sleeping in and is often late to classes, you might want to pick a dorm instead of a home. The reason is quite simple: dorms are located near your school and the chances are you can reach your classes rather quickly. Even if you own a car, you’ll be able to park it near your dorm using on-campus parking and still get to classes even faster.

If you choose an apartment, you might be quite far from your school – even though you’re practically in the same town – and will have to come up with a commuting option. Most students opt for bicycles as the healthiest option out there, while others choose a bus, a train, or a car. These options will also cost you quite a lot, so take that in mind when reaching your decision.

As you can see, both of these options have their pros and cons, which makes your decision-making process even harder. What you need to do, therefore, is decide what kind of a student you want to be – a hard-working one, a laid-back kind, a jock, someone who’s more into having fun than studying, etc. – and then find a place that will allow you to be just that. Of course, you can always change your accommodation and switch from a dorm to an apartment and vice versa if you notice things aren’t working for you.


Emma B. Joyce is blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on


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