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Dorm Life vs Apartment Life: Which Do You Prefer?

Dorm Life vs Apartment Life: Which Do You Prefer?

Are apartments really that much better than dorms?

Every college student has their own preference, but many like myself couldn’t wait for their first chance to move out of the crowded dorm life and into a cozy apartment with some new found college friends. Apartments seem like the far superior living option at first thought, but dorms have their fair share of pros that’ll have you thinking twice before you decide on your next big move.

Knowing the positives as well as the disadvantages of living in apartments and dorms can help make life easier when choosing whether living on or off campus is right for you. Here are some of the things you should be weighing while deciding between apartments and dorms life.


This one is a lot closer than you think.

On one hand, it costs a hefty amount for room and board just to even be housed into a dorm building. Add on that while enjoying the dorms life, you’ll likely also have to pay for a meal plan and even pay to do your laundry (this one really adds up if you’re a college athlete.) All of this accumulates to a bill of a few thousand dollars to your student account.

Luckily, dorms do offer some furniture like a bed frame and mattress, dresser and a desk with chairs, and utilities are all paid for through the room and board fee, as well as free basic cable and internet. Academic and athletic scholarships can also aid in helping cover room and board costs.

On the other hand, paying rent monthly on an apartment can bog down many students. Unlike dorms, apartments aren’t furnished with bed frames and dressers, and since many apartments are off campus, you’ll have to buy your own groceries on a regular basis as well as cover utilities. On top of that, living in an apartment off campus means driving to and from class everyday, which over time takes a toll on your pockets filling your tank.

On the bright side, all these expenses likely won’t touch costs for the dorms life, rent will likely be split into percentages thanks to roommates, and hey, laundry is free!

The pricing disparities greatly depend on which school you go to school, as every school has different tuition fees and cities have different price ranges on rent. There is a nice amount of areas where apartments can be found for cheaper than the expense of living in the dorms, but not every college town in America can offer this. Overall, apartments have a slight edge on dorms in terms of cost.

Dorm Life vs Apartment Life: Which Do You Prefer?


Space and privacy are a couple things college students love to have, but where is best to find your times of solitude?

Well, in the dorms, you’ll very likely be sharing a room with a roommate who you may or may not know all too well. In a condensed, open area like a dorm room, your space is just as much your roommate’s. Bathroom’s are shared by everybody else on your floor and can often times be occupied, study rooms can be taken up by other students, and common areas where public TVs can be found attract crowds as well.

Apartments give you the opportunity to be a lot more secluded. Generally, you’ll have your own bedroom, and a bathroom that you’ll only have to share with your roommates. Studying can be made easier by in your own room without the potential distraction of a roommate, and you won’t have to face the fear of the door knob rattling while you’re in the room with your significant other doing things that require maximum privacy.

If you’re looking for personal space and privacy, the dorms life ain’t it, chief.

Dorm Life vs Apartment Life: Which Do You Prefer?


To live on or off campus? Decisions, decisions.

Dorms life is one of the best times to make great college memories, live a lot closer to class buildings and gives students a greater opportunity to socialize with the student body. Dormitories are designed to put you in an environment that is more confrontational to promote interaction with new people in the hopes to make new friends that could last a lifetime.

Apartments are almost always off campus and can keep you from experiencing things and events that happen in everyday college life. You’ll have to drive to and from class everyday as well as anywhere else you’d like to travel on campus, whether it be the library, student center, or the main offices, and this can take a toll on your pockets filling up your gas tank.

With class buildings, resource centers and the dining hall usually nearby, living in the dorms offers you an advantage geographically over apartments. 

Dorm Life vs Apartment Life: Which Do You Prefer?

Quality Of Life

With everything else factored in, this is ultimately a choice of preference.

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Being in the dorms means being around all the students. Being around all the obnoxious yells down the hall, the slamming of doors at 2 am, the buzz of vacuums outside your door during nap time, and the messes and stink left behind in the bathrooms are all common things students face living the dorms life. Dorms are usually occupied by underclassman and can get definitely get pretty filthy at times.

But dorms also provide lots of fun activities for its students residing in their buildings to take part in usually once a month. Dorms offer free internet for big time gamers, and really ease the transition into adult living and independence.

The cleanliness of your living space in an apartment is entirely up to you and your roommates. Chores like taking out the trash, washing the dishes, vacuuming and sweeping your own floors and keeping your bathrooms fresh and clean won’t receive any help from any campus custodian. 

Being in an apartment gives you the best chance to be fully independent and make your own rules. They provide much more living space than a dorm can, and your roommates are people that you agree to live with and be around. Apartments are seen as the better option to prepare college students for the real world post graduation.

The quality of where you live is very important to most. Both choices have their perks, but it all boils down to whether you want to deal with the messiness around the dorms or deal with your own messiness at their apartment.

Dorm Life vs Apartment Life: Which Do You Prefer?

Dorms life and apartment life each have a grocery list worth of positives and negatives for living in each. Freshman get the short end of the stick when it comes to housing (sorry youngsters), and get stuck in the rowdy, roaring circus that is the freshman dorms, but from there the decision on where you live next falls into your hands.

Dorms. Apartments. Which one is the right one for you?

Have any cool/funny/crazy college dorm or apartment stories you’d like to share? Let’s hear them in the comment section below!

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