If you live off-campus, but you’re going to college, then it’s a little different than living in the dorms. When you’re in the dorms, it’s easier to get to all your classes, since presumably, you’re very close to them at all times. You will need a little extra motivation when you live off-campus if you want to get the most out of every class.

Here are five tips on how you can get your money’s worth if you’re an off-campus student.

Make Sure You Have Reliable Transportation

By the time they’re college-aged, many individuals have their own vehicles. If it’s possible for you to get your own car while you’re living off-campus, it’s a significant advantage. That’s because:

  • You do not have to rely on public transportation to get to class, which isn’t always dependable
  • You do not have to get up as early to get to class, so you can sleep in a little longer on your early days

Make sure that you know the campus car rules that your college has. There might be special lots for the students to park in, or you may need to look for street parking.

You should also be careful as you’re driving close to the campus. There are probably lots of kids and other vehicles around, and you don’t want to get in an accident. In the state of Florida alone, 20,000 victims suffer serious car accident injuries every year.

Don’t Stay Out Too Late

If you don’t live in the dorms, then there might be more temptation to go to parties if you’re making new friends in your classes. The parties in the dorms are likely pretty tame since there are resident advisers to keep things under control.

Off-campus parties, especially those held at frat and sorority houses, are more likely to get crazy. You need to watch out for:

College is a time that many young people want to cut loose, and that’s fine in moderation. Society can hardly expect you not to indulge a little.

Remember, though, you’re there to learn. If you find that parties are starting to interfere with your studies, you need to cut back. Try to be responsible and prioritize learning over indulgent behavior.

Try to Set Up Study Groups

It can also help if you set up study groups if you seem to be hitting it off with anyone in your classes. You can arrange cram sessions for your harder courses if you have a quiz or exam coming up.

If you live off-campus, then you’ll have to decide where the best place to do it is. If you live in a rowdy section of a college neighborhood, it might be too noisy for effective studying.

You’ll probably be better off going to the library or one of the administrative buildings on campus to which you have access.

Pick the Right Roommates

If you rent a house or apartment off-campus, then you should also select your roommates with care. It’s always best to know the people with whom you are signing the lease before you do it.

If you don’t know them at all, you have no way of knowing how well you will get along. It’s usually better if you go in on a place with some fellow students. If you get a place with other individuals who aren’t going to school, then their priorities might be different.

Try to get to know any candidate a little bit before signing a lease with them, but if that’s not possible, you can at least try for a six month or one-year lease and no more than that. If things do not work out, then you can always find a different situation and sublet.

Prioritize Safety

You should also look into how safe the neighborhood is where you’re renting a house or apartment. Some college neighborhoods can be rowdy places.

Make sure you have reliable smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on the premises. There should be working locks on all the doors and windows. You should also locate the nearest police station.

If you go into an off-campus living situation with your eyes wide open, you should be fine. Just remember to prioritize class over parties, so you don’t waste your money, and surround yourself with people who feel the same way.

You don’t want to go into student loan debt and then feel like you squandered this opportunity.

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