Step 11: Decide Whether You Will Live In Campus Housing On-Campus or Off
Alternatives for housing may include residential halls on campus, rented rooms, or furnished or unfurnished apartments on or off-campus. Occasionally students are able to arrange accommodations with a family. Except for on-campus housing, however, most of these options must be arranged after you arrive. (See the booklet, If You Want To Study In The USA, available from the educationUSA advising center nearest you.)
Sometimes separate residence halls are provided for men and for women; in other cases, the residence halls are “co-ed” — that is men and women live in the same housing unit but do not share rooms. Usually two students share a room; single rooms are scarce. Generally, rooms have a bed, a desk, a chair, a closet and sometimes draperies. Students must provide bed linens, draperies, decorations and accessories. Contracts for residence halls usually cover the entire academic year. Often you must pay non-refundable fees in full at the beginning of the year — so you will need to have a large portion of your funds available immediately on arrival-if you have not already paid them with your admissions cost. “Room and board” contracts cover the cost of housing as well as a specified number of meals in the campus dining hall or cafeteria.
If you choose to live off-campus, you will probably have to wait until after you arrive to arrange housing. The international Student office may be able to help in locating housing, but it is wise to plan to take this responsibility yourself. Some cities have apartment locator services that charge a fee for locating apartments with your specifications.
Options include single rented rooms, with or without kitchens; rooms in “boarding houses” with meals provided at extra cost; shared houses for rent; and furnished or unfurnished rented apartments. “Furnished” in the United States means that basic furniture and sometimes floor coverings and draperies are provided. Bed linens, towels, kitchen equipment and dishes are not provided. Public transportation may be scarce. if you need a car to get to campus, costs will increase dramatically.