Moving Out

When going to college there are the options of living in the dorms, staying with your parents, or living in an apartment near campus.


The dorms at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Although some colleges require students to live in the dorms their first year, and that’s what most students choose, it is worthwhile to weigh the pros and cons of each living option. 

Dorms are thought to be the most popular living option for first year students, but only 13% of freshmen actually live in the dorms in America ( This fraction may be surprising to some, but with the cost of living in dorms at most colleges or universities, other living options become more appealing. 

At the University of Nebraska- Lincoln in-state tuition is about $22,012, this includes tuition, fees, and the housing and meal plan. Without the housing or meal plan that number drops to $9,872 (

The student dorms at UNL are shown with two beds, a desk, a fridge, and small storage spaces.

Despite this, there are benefits to living in the dorms such as becoming involved in clubs or sports. If a student decides to do college athletics, they are required to live in the dorms for at least the first year.

“It’s a requirement for all underclassmen athletes to stay on campus until your junior year,” baseball commit to Grandview University, Mitchell Baker, said.

Meal plans also play a huge role in living on campus because it is a convenient option that students can utilize anytime. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln has many different options that students can choose from that differ on meals per week, cost per semester, and where they can utilize the meal plan. 

“I could walk downstairs and get food, or if I had a class I would walk and grab a bag of food, so it’s super easy,” UNL alumna and counselor, Martha Dowd, said.

Along with food being so convinient, dorms give the benefit of classes being within walking distance.

“I did not have a car my freshman year or sophomore year, so you could just walk everywhere,” Dowd said.

Although, living on campus is a huge financial responsibility. Dowd managed the cost by working three jobs to save up.

“A lot of people that I was friends with in the dorms did not have a job at all, and they just got to have fun,” Dowd said. “I had to go to work, but that was just a choice I made to be able to live in the dorms.”

Scholarships also help out a lot with costs from tuition or housing. Elkhorn Public Schools offers tons of scholarships for students to apply for to help pay for college. Most colleges also have specific scholarships that can fully pay tuition or pay for a part of it each year based on academic performance.

Another living option that some students prefer is staying with their parents, because it is not financially troubling and they may have more privacy with their own bathroom and room space. 

Although, there are disadvantages to this such as it being too similar to high school. “Half of what college is is having to do your own laundry, and get your own food, and make your own decisions, and have a roommate that annoys you and figure out how you’re going to get through it,” Dowd said. “There’s a lot more that you learn in college in addition to just the classes, and if you go home to the life you always had, you’re not learning those things.”

Another widely utilized option for college students is living close to campus in an apartment. This option gives the convenience of privacy, cheapness, and less rules. Although, students can’t enjoy the benefits of meal plans or walking to classes. 

“You’re just completely on your own [in apartments] and I don’t think I was ready to do that as a sophomore yet,” Dowd said.

Lots of things factor into housing decisions for college, such as money, food, nearness of classes, privacy, and social life. “You don’t want to be the nobody on campus, you want to have friends,” Baker said. 

“No matter what you choose, you can make it a good thing or a bad thing,” Dowd said. “You can make the most of it, have fun with it, and make it a good experience.”