One of the greatest parts about the college experience is the social aspects of meeting new people from around the world and making lifelong friends. And while this can be most helpful during the freshman year of college, living on a campus filled with young adults can be pretty distracting once the the work really starts to pile up.

Naturally, many of the students who move to off campus apartments are mainly looking for privacy. However, because on campus housing typically fills up pretty quick, it’s important to have a back up plan for alternative housing if there’s no space left.

But what should you be looking for in off campus student housing?

  1. Proximity: Depending on the mode of transportation you plan to use to get to campus — be it walking, biking, or driving a car — you should be close enough to get to classes on time without wasting too much of the day traveling. Plus the closer you are, the less of a chance you’ll be late. The last thing you want is to be late for an exam just because you’re stuck in traffic.
  2. Damage: If you find a large amount of damage in off campus student housing, then either the quality of the structure is poor, or the landlord doesn’t care enough to fix it. But if you find that the apartment you want does have some existing damage, make a point to take some pictures and submit them to the landlord before signing the lease. That way you will not be held liable for the repair payment of damage you didn’t do.
  3. Amenities: When looking for an apartment, odds are that a fireplace or walk in closet aren’t on your list of necessities, but there are some extra amenities that can make your life much easier. Having washers and dryers on location can save a ton of time from having to travel to and sit in a laundromat for hours. A dishwasher may not initially come to mind, but you will thank yourself when you don’t have dishes piling up in your sink from procrastinating hand washing them.

Both on and off campus student housing have their pros and cons, but the key is to know which one best suits your needs. Make a list of the features most important to you. That way, you know exactly what to look for when visiting different options.