As the new academic year begins and USF students settle into their living arrangements, the question inevitably arises.
Is it better to live on or off campus?
For freshmen, the question is currently a futile one, as most are required to live on campus their first year or with their parents.
However, they may be better off that way. Living on campus is a rewarding experience and, most importantly, can provide an environment more conducive to academic success.
“Students who live on campus have a 10 to 15 percent better chance of doing well in college than students living off campus. On-campus students have better grades, take more units and are more likely to persevere to achieve a university degree,” according to a statement released by the American Council on Education.
It’s no coincidence that students living on campus are more successful academically.
When classes are within walking distance, the chance of missing them because of unforeseen driving incidents is gone, and the hassle of tirelessly searching for a parking spot is also eliminated.
Living on campus also provides quick and easy access to the Library’s vast research materials, study rooms, computer labs and research assistance. A quick walk to the computer lab in the Marshall Student Center allows students to print up to 30 pages a day for free.
Beyond academic support, there are also many places to tuck yourself away to study, such as a quiet pond, bench or garden.
While many may see resident assistants as pure killjoys, they are often effective at keeping distracting noises and wild behavior to a minimum, which may otherwise not be possible living off campus.
Having a meal plan takes care of food, and not having to cook can free a lot of time and energy. Rent for on-campus housing also covers all utilities, Internet and cable.
While living on campus can be rewarding academically, it can also be rewarding socially. The campus is often vibrant and constantly filled with life, activities and events.
Students can walk to the Sun Dome or USF Soccer Stadium and watch the Bulls compete for free with a valid student ID, making for a great date night for cash-strapped students.
Also, students will likely interact with people from different walks of life, which can be beneficial, but ultimately, it’s a character-building experience.
Most of all, on-campus housing is what differentiates major universities from community colleges and other small institutions. It offers a college experience that’s truly incomparable.
In the end, living on campus may ultimately be the difference between becoming a graduate or a college dropout.
Justin Rivera is a senior majoring in history.