On campus living more beneficial than living off campus?
In Claremore Oklahoma, there are many places to live for young college students. Some parents do not want their children to live on campus in order to avoid the assumption that school dorms are “party dorms.” This assumption comes from a mother, Lorie Conkling who went to RSU and now has a daughter at RSU, and represents a generic concern shared by parents of college-aged students. Parents look at the cost of apartments in the area surrounding the school, but the question remains; is living off campus cheaper than living on campus and do students agree that living on campus is better than living off campus?
In comparing the cost of living in the dorms to local apartment complexes, such as Deer Run, Chapel Ridge, and Twin Oaks in the Claremore area, one representative from each apartment was able to give insight into living in the various apartments. Kendall, a Deer Run employee, stated they have 100% occupancy and a 1-2 month waiting list for apartments. Chapel Ridge’s employee, Shirley, said rental applications from students are not accepted, while Peggy at Twin Oaks Apartments said they are also 100% occupied and currently have no awaiting list. The apartments around Claremore vary in price from $450/month for a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment, up to $ 776/month for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. They usually come unfurnished, and without utilities or extra amenities, such as cable and internet. Anita at the Claremore Chamber of Commerce was not aware of any plans to build new apartments in Claremore.
Rogers State University Claremore campus has three different living options. The older dorms are known as University Village A (UVA), the newest dorms, or University Village B (UVB), were built in 2011, and family housing is in Ledbetter Hall, located behind Harrington Hall. Each dorm area has different options of bedroom/bathroom combinations.
According to Kyla Short, Residential Life Director, campus apartments start at $495 and include all utilities, wireless internet, and basic cable. In addition, the UVA and UVB apartments come fully furnished. When leasing the school’s apartments, students must also purchase a meal plan with the school’s café. The campus café offers hot meals every day, has a regular shopping area for food and some household items, and is open for full day service hours. In UVA, 4 bedroom units cost $495.00 per month, per person. In UVB, the 4 bedroom units cost $525 per month, per person, and 2 bedroom units are $560 per month, per person. One bedroom units are also available at $595 per month, per person. The UVB dorms run higher in price due to the newness of the dorms and the appliances provided in each. In the family living dorm, the cost range is $480 a month, per person. The qualifications for family living are at least one person must be a student at RSU, any people living with the student must be under the age of 18 or a spouse.
People often have misconceptions about the “partying going on” when students live on campus. Students were asked the following series of questions to gauge the reaction to dorm life, “How do you feel about the opinion that living on campus is better for students than living off campus? Does your opinion differ at different grade levels, i.e., freshman-senior? After living in the dorms for one year, would you move out? Why? Or, after living off campus, would you move in to the dorms? Why?” Bethany McFerron, a senior at RSU says, “I believe living in the dorms provides an atmosphere conducive to learning and campus involvement. I have lived in the dorms all four years, and I think that a year of residency does not matter in relation to grades; however, I feel that it’s especially important for freshmen and sophomores to live on campus at a time where they are changing and adapting to college life.” McFerron will be graduating in the spring of 2013 and loves her memories from living on campus.
At RSU, the campus provides the option for dorm residents to work in the housing office as a Residential Assistant (RA). Jared Warren, an RA, has different reasons for staying in the dorms for so long. ”I feel like the community and social atmosphere existing on in-campus housing provides students with a much-needed outlet to meet and have a social life with their peers. In off campus housing, they don’t really have that ability…As to whether it matters by class level, I don’t think so. Everyone has that desire to belong, the desire to be involved and be around their peers.” One of the perks in working for housing is free or low cost living expenses, and Warren says even though it is free to him, he still wouldn’t leave the social and friendly environment.
While living on campus has its benefits, living off campus has its own benefits also. Emily Mahan, a senior at RSU, explains her reasoning for living off campus. “I’ve always wanted to have that ‘dorm life’ experience, but after living off campus by myself, I think it would just be a distraction, especially as a senior. I’ve heard it gets pretty noisy sometimes.”
The Director of Residential life, Kyla Short, says, “While living on campus has obvious benefits of convenience, security, and socialization, Rogers State University housing provides students with opportunities to gain independence, to learn life strategies, and to foster lifetime friendships through building design and staff. In addition, this experience is valuable to all RSU students regardless of classification.” When asked if there are plans to build new housing to accommodate the growing number of students attending RSU, she could neither confirm nor deny any plans.
There are benefits of living on campus for all ages of college students, as well as benefits for living off campus. As Rogers State University Claremore campus continues to grow, and with the current 100% occupancy rate of three neighboring apartments as well as 100% occupancy in on-campus apartments, it remains to be seen whether the current housing availability will meet the demand.