Dorm? Apartment? House? Cardboard box?
Choosing the right housing is just as important as choosing the right class; after all, you’re going to need a place to take naps when the library is closed.
Lucky for you, ASU not only has freshman and upper-division housing, but it’s also surrounded by apartments, neighborhoods and every fast food place you can imagine.
Your best housing situation probably depends on a lot of different things, like budget and distance. Make sure to consider all your options or you might not dig your new digs.
How important is living close to campus? Do you travel by car, bike or foot?
If you don’t have a car, you’ll have to make sure you’ve got a way to get to class. Thankfully, nearby apartment complexes and neighborhoods are very bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Also, Tempe’s free Orbit shuttle service runs near many apartments and drops off by the football stadium.
If you’re a little farther away, you might be able to walk or park at a light-rail station and catch a ride down to the Tempe or downtown Phoenix campuses.
But with more distance comes a longer commute.
Consider gaps between classes, extracurriculars and the weather. How long a ride can you fit into your day? How sweaty are you prepared to be?
For those with wheels, don’t forget to take into account how painfully slow the traffic can be near campus and the pricey parking garages. Depending on your class, you might be walking a mile or so from where you parked.
So you’ve got your radius down; now consider the necessities.
Many nearby apartment complexes offer “per bed” rates where you pay a flat fee each month that covers your Wi-Fi, cable, electricity, water and rent. These often come furnished, which is handy for students who live out of state or those who just hate shopping.
Other apartment complexes might offer cheaper rent but require you to set up and pay your cable and electric bills. Some students opt to rent a house together and pay a landlord each month.
What appliances run your life? ASU dorms and some nearby apartment complexes don’t feature in-unit washer and dryers. Residents here hit up the community laundry room, where they pay by card. Other places have both appliances, allowing you to tumble dry your underwear as much as you want.
Also consider the trash situation. Many high-rise complexes have trash chutes, but you might be wheeling your own bin to the curb each week.
Dorms and certain complexes also have strict rules about using tacks or painting on the walls. If you have an attachment to picture frames or having yellow walls in your kitchen, you’ll want to opt for somewhere that allows more freedom.
Your perfect match might be a click, an ad or a friend away.
If you live in the dorms or certain apartment complexes, you can register for random roommate selection and get paired up with someone based on a simple questionnaire.
If you’re a little more flexible on your location, there are many ASU online groups and ads dedicated to finding and replacing roommates in nearby complexes.
For those determined to live it up with a bestie or acquaintance, make sure to find someone you can agree with over master or shared bedroom situations.
Does your roommate stay up late? Do they like to have guests? Whether you live with your best friend or a stranger, you have to consider how you might clash and what rules you want to establish.
You should also watch out for your own annoying habits. Brushing your teeth in the kitchen or playing music at 4 a.m. may fly for some people but not others.
What kind of community experience are you looking for?
If you want to be super-involved in campus life, living in the dorms with a Community Assistant and weekly floor events might be your best fit.
However, if you have a full- or part-time job, or don’t plan to spend a lot of time on campus, you might feel more comfortable at an apartment complex. Many complexes have community pools and gyms at no additional cost. Some even feature lounges with TVs or cafes.
If you’re looking to meet a lot of college students your age, you’re probably better off living closer to campus. Many students prioritize distance so the closer you are, the closer the “college town” feel might be.
It’s important to ask yourself where you want to experience this exciting phase of your life. At the end of the day, however, the most important part is picking a place where you feel comfortable and safe. Happy hunting!