Ask any Northwestern upperclassman about moving off-campus and the response is usually a mixture of annoyed groans and hair pulling. Even after working around friends’ study abroad plans and tracking down a place with the most reasonable rent, students still find themselves dealing with difficult landlords and skirting around Evanston’s notorious brothel law. But do Wildcats really have it that bad compared to our peers at other schools? We searched for some of the perks and pitfalls of off-campus living at other colleges around the country.
Anyone who expects to score a decently priced pad in New York City that isn’t on Craigslist post with questionable demands should be wary of off-campus living at Columbia University. With average rent for a studio apartment at ranging from $1,100 to $1,900 a month, it should come as no surprise that only about 6 percent of its students decide to forgo the comfort of the university’s Upper Manhattan campus.
“Come on—it’s NYC—remember you are not living in the Midwest,” reads an anonymous post by a Columbia junior on the college review site, College Prowler. “Everything here is more expensive—especially housing.”
Prices aren’t very encouraging on the West Coast either. Only 9 percent of Stanford University students are willing to shell out the average rent of $1,000 on a studio near the school.
If students at Brown University, Hamilton College and Middlebury are feeling lucky, they can try their hands at entering lotteries to live off-campus.
As rising juniors, Brown students apply to enter a drawing for permission to move off-campus. This off-campus status applies for the rest of their time at Brown and is always guaranteed for seniors.
Hamilton’s lottery is particularly selective and only applies to seniors. Only about 40 of the college’s 2,000-person student body are given permission to stray from the Clinton, N.Y., campus. Middlebury’s lottery is only slightly more accommodating, allowing 60 out of 2,500 students to live off-campus.
For the more risk-averse, there’s always the option to apply to live off-campus through the housing office at College of the Holy Cross. Juniors and seniors are subjected to an application process based largely on the student’s disciplinary standing.
Although the school assures students the policy is in place to simplify the apartment hunt for upperclassmen, the student body’s reaction hasn’t been so positive.
“Students have ‘NO RIGHTS’ when it comes to living off campus,” reads one anonymous post on the review site College Prowler. “Everyone wanting to live off-campus is subjected to a review process which can take months, despite the fact all students are adults over adults over 18, Holy Cross treats them as children has stripped their rights away [sic].”
Although Northwestern doesn’t guarantee housing for all four years, it prides itself for never having turned away a student who wished to live on-campus. Students at Rice University are less fortunate. A three-year on-campus housing guarantee partnered with a push to accommodate all freshmen means sophomores and juniors often find themselves on their own.
Boston College has a similar three-year housing policy in place, save for a select group of honors students. Many BC juniors live off-campus, then move back to campus for their senior year. “It helps the BC overcrowded-housing issue, but also allows local rent prices to be ridiculously jacked up due to the supply/demand curve,” a Boston College student posts on College Prowler.