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Living in a dorm your first year makes you a better college student


As seniors in high school plan to take their next step into adulthood, some might be wondering if it is worth it to live in a dorm as a first year student. While some colleges make it mandatory to dorm for your first year, others allow you to choose whether you live on campus or not. Here is why living on campus for your first year helps you have a more rounded experience and education.

Michigan State University (MSU) has a mandatory live-on campus rule for all first year students. They recently reinstated the requirement from the 1980s that it be mandatory for students to spend their first two years on campus because of the data they discovered. MSU TODAY looked at the data of how many students graduated versus those who didn’t and compared them to those who stayed on campus for two years. MSU’s Office of Institutional Research found that undergraduates that had lived on campus for the first two years “have graduation rates about 2.5 percentage points higher than their peers who live on campus only their first year”. MSU TODAY continued to state that the first two years of college are “critical for students’ momentum”, as they have resources, like clubs and study groups, on campus that encourage students to step out of their comfort zone and help with their academic success. They also mentioned that it helps them graduate quickly, with less student loan debt and living expenses. 

However, if it is optional to live on campus for your first year, it is important to remember that living on campus can be very expensive, and in a lot of cases it is more expensive than getting an apartment or commuting. There are many benefits to living off campus, The Daily Campus explains that living on campus is usually around $11,744, while living off campus is about $6,760 for eight months. While living in an apartment you do not have to worry about paying for an expensive meal plan and you ultimately have more freedom to do what you want without the residence advisor being in your business. There is also the fact that when in your own apartment, you do not have to sleep in the same room as someone else or share a bathroom. It allows you to have more privacy and the freedom to have people over without having to ask your roommate first. 

Even after all the perks of living off campus to save more or have more privacy, there are still more benefits to living on campus when you are a freshman. BestColleges explained some of the pros like having a “greater sense of belonging”, as you are more easily able to participate in extracurricular activities and make friends. You are also very close to campus resources to help you transition easily like advisors that will help you with your major, and usually a bike ride away from most of the classes that you will be attending. BestColleges also explains that students are more likely to excel academically because of places like a writing center where you can do homework while getting help from advisors. 

ThoughtCo showed some negatives about living off campus starting with being secluded. When living alone in an apartment, you do not have people right across the hall that you can talk to. It is a lot harder to make friends because of that. You will also be spending money on groceries every couple of weeks rather than going to the dining hall to eat. Another disadvantage of living off campus is that you have to find transportation to go to classes, meaning you have to pay for car insurance along with all the gas that you will have to use to go back and forth.

While it can be expensive to live on campus, most people will say that it is worth it in the long run because of the friends and experiences you make along the way. Money comes back but when you look back on your college days, you want to look back at the authentic experience of living in a dorm with your lifelong friends.

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