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Dorms v. Apartments: Find your fit

As a freshman, most students are required to live in a residence hall at Ohio State, but after the first year, it’s up to you to decide if you want to stay in a dorm or move into an apartment or a house. Here is my list of the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Location

When it comes to an apartment, locations can range from picturesque to downright scary. You might have to drive to campus or take a bus, requiring extra time and money for a parking pass.

Living in a dorm, though, puts you close to everything the university has to offer, with the exception of the agriculture campus, OSU’s classes, dining halls and social activities are never out of walking or biking distance.

Advantage: Dorm. While an apartment might be “exciting,” you can’t beat the limited commuting time of living in the dorms.

Roommates

When you are living in an apartment, you can choose your roommates (or none at all). But without a mandatory roommate contract, you could get stuck with a dirty kitchen, or worse, a bill from your landlord for damages.

The dorms have their own setbacks, however. No matter how desperately you request a roommate who isn’t a night owl, you have a good possibility of being stuck with at least one roommate you can’t stand. However, you have the opportunity of settling issues with your resident advisor and switching rooms without a nasty legal battle.

Advantage: Apartment. When conflicts come up, it’s easier to call your friend out for being a jerk than someone you just met a week ago.

Food

If you like to cook or have special dietary requirements, being able to cook your own meals is a great advantage of apartments. But if you or your roommates don’t enjoy cleaning the kitchen, it can turn into a smelly mess.

Living in residence halls comes with the advantage of meal swipes; there is a plethora of locations with plenty of options for even the pickiest eater. However, if you feel like staying in, the most cooking you could accomplish in a residence hall room is pouring a bowl of cereal or if you’re feeling bold, nuking a cup of Ramen.

Advantage: Tie. If you prefer to cook, apartments are for you; if you can’t find your way around a stove, the meal plan that comes with a dorm might be a better fit. Either way, you can always call for take-out.

Space

Depending on your budget and number of roommates, choices can vary from economy suites (one room with a bed, stove and bathroom) to an entire house. You can share a bedroom or have one all to yourself, an option not readily available in residence halls.

In a dorm, prepare to be close with your roommates, very close. A typical dorm has one room with two beds, two desks and a communal bathroom; if you have spacial issues, good luck.

Advantage: Apartment. It’s a rare case when you have more space in a dorm than an apartment. And if you fight with your roommate or need a quiet place to study, you’ll want all the square footage you can get.

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