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RV as a housing alternative?

girlanachronismgirlanachronism 13 replies3 threads New Member
edited August 2012 in College Life
I'm seriously wondering if it would be possible to live in an RV during college. I don't know where I'm going yet, so I'm just wondering in general, though if anyone knows what kind of schools would be easier to do this at than others, I'd like to know. My father doesn't think it would be practical or safe, but I'm still looking for more information, because I'm really into this idea. I stayed in my grandfather's RV in his backyard for a few weeks when we visited him, and loved it, and I really dislike the idea of living in a dorm or apartment.

The reasons I want to live in one are: it's cheaper, I can take it with me on vacations and when I graduate and move, I can own it, it offers much more privacy than a dorm or apartment, I don't need a large amount of living space as long as it's private and I'm not living with someone else in the same room or on the other side of a wall, it offers more autonomy, I would be able to have a pet, and I've always liked RV's (as well as trailers and caravans).

Assuming that I don't go somewhere with an on-campus trailer park (like UC Santa Cruz apparently has), living in an RV would mean living off-campus. I know that most schools require freshmen to live on campus if they aren't still living at home, but I've heard that you can petition to live off-campus if you have a psychological reason to do so, and I have such a strong need for privacy and personal space that I could probably count it as a psychological reason, and I'm persistent enough to convince them if there is a way to make it happen practically. I'm very outgoing, so living off-campus wouldn't make it hard for me to meet people, and I have a motor scooter and will probably go somewhere warm, so I should be able to get back and forth easily enough without having to pay a ton for gas.

But anyway, this is more about the practicality of living in an RV specifically than living off-campus. I know it's an odd and probably difficult idea, but does anyone think it's doable? And if you don't, please tell me why, because trying to think of ways around the problems might help me come up with ways to make it more practical.
edited August 2012
23 replies
Post edited by girlanachronism on
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Replies to: RV as a housing alternative?

  • VladenschlutteVladenschlutte 4292 replies37 threads Senior Member
    It's definitely going to depend on the school. There are plenty of schools which won't require you to live on campus, but if the college is in a sizable city (like 50K+ people) your probably going to have trouble parking an RV near campus. Depending on the school you might be able to make it work, but I think it would be pretty difficult and you're going to really limit your choices.

    Also, what sort of climate are you looking at? How good do you think the heating/cooling will be in an RV? Do you really want to keep it on to get heat? It'll use up a lot of gas. How far North/South do you think you would like to go?
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  • girlanachronismgirlanachronism 13 replies3 threads New Member
    I'm looking at colleges in big cities and in small towns, so I'll keep that in mind. I'm not sure where I could park it if I went through with it; maybe I could keep it in an RV park or find some empty space to rent and park it in. I don't think colleges would let me park it on campus, though I could always ask. My top choice is in a big city but has a trailer/RV park right nearby, but my father doesn't think that I would be safe there.

    I want to live as far South as I can to avoid cold weather (especially since I can vacation and/or do research up North in the summer to avoid the heat as well), and RV's usually have better cooling systems than heating systems, so that should make it easier.
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  • icedragonicedragon 2059 replies111 threads Senior Member
    Hate to burst your bubble, but those psycological reasons have to be documented officially.
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  • PRiNCESSMAHiNAPRiNCESSMAHiNA 2087 replies33 threads Senior Member
    It doesn't really seem all that feasible to me. Not to mention, having a roommate and sharing tight quarters is kind of part of the traditional college experience. I'm a very private person, and even with a roommate several feet away from me, I was able to find places/times to be by myself. It's really not that difficult.
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  • teachandmomteachandmom 1208 replies36 threads Senior Member
    RV parks have licenses to be occupied by the board of health. A typical college would not allow you to park your RV and live it in for the reason of board of health - they certify dorms. The college could become liable if something happened to you in your RV. If you don't want the typical college experience of living with other people, why not just go to a school and commute from home? Many schools will also allow even freshman to request (and pay additional) a single room. Even that would be better. Down south you are more likely to find year round RV parks with people living there permanently, but not in the north. Most campgrounds close in October, and do not allow year round (winter month) occupants. Not to mention, by the time you add in payments for the RV and insurance, you probably aren't saving very much compared to just living on campus. You still need food, laundry, etc. too.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34234 replies771 threads Senior Member
    If you can afford an rv, why not just get an apartment off campus?
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  • ECmotherx2ECmotherx2 2333 replies11 threads Senior Member
    Not the best way to experience college and also not safe. CNN televised a report on the huge number of sexual predators that live in RV and trailer courts in Southern states. I doubt that you would find many RV parks in city areas. I agree with romainigypsyeyes, rent an apartment.
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  • TUstudentTUstudent 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Look, I know you don't like the idea of living in a traditional dorm, but give it a chance. One thing it gives you is one person you will meet immediately as you get there. Both you and this person have a lot of reasons to get along.

    As someone who has stayed in a 4-person suite (2 per room) and a single, I am really glad that I was not in a single the first year. I didn't really become best friends with my room/suitemates, but during those nervous first few days it gave me a couple of people to hang with, and walk to meals with, etc, until I found a group of friends that were more my style. In fact, despite our differences, I still see and am friendly with 2/3 of them.

    Something more specific to your idea, is that you will not even be in a dorm or near-campus apartment. Even living in an apartment near campus, you are likely to find other students in the same building/floor. In fact many apartments that are close to campus tend to have mostly students living in them. This, again, gives you a bunch of people to really ease your transition into college life.
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  • girlanachronismgirlanachronism 13 replies3 threads New Member
    Thanks for all of the replies and opinions!

    icedragon: If that's the biggest problem, then it'll be fine. But it's not, so I'm more concerned about practical issues with living in an rv.

    PRiNCESSMAHiNA: Why doesn't it seem feasible? As to the rest, I said in my opening post that I'm mostly looking for opinions on the feasibility, not on whether I should live on campus or not. I've already decided that I'll avoid living in a dorm if at all possible. It does sound like an exciting experience,especially since it's a tradition college thing, but I know from experience how I am with things like that. I would be happy with living in a dorm for a few weeks, maybe a month at most, and then the novelty would wear off and I would be absolutely miserable and unable to stand the idea of staying there all year.

    teachandmom: Hm, you do have some good points. Would they still be liable if something happened if I was approved to live off-campus? I can't commute from home because every school that I'm thinking of applying to is out of state. I'll keep the single room thing in mind, since that would be better than a shared room, but I'd rather try to live off-campus if I can. And as I said, I'm almost definitely going to school in the South. Even if it doesn't save that much money, I think the other benefits will be worth it if I'm able to make it happen practically.

    romanigypsyeyes: I would prefer an apartment to a dorm, but I'd prefer an rv to an apartment (I can take it with me when I travel/move, the money that I pay on it will go towards owning it rather than renting it, I won't have people living above/below/on either side of me, etc.). I'll definitely look into that option, though, since the rv idea is kind of a longshot and an apartment would be a good backup plan.

    ECmotherx2: It sounds like the best way to experience college to me, but you do have a good point on the safety issue. That's one of the things that my father is worried about. I'll have to check out that CNN report and the crime-rates around the places I'm thinking of applying to.

    TUstudent: I'd rather make friends based on our connections, and our shared interests and values, rather than just because we happen to live together. I'm a very outgoing and confident person, so I don't expect to have trouble making friends on my own, and if I have a few days at first where I don't know anyone and have to hang out by myself, that doesn't bother me. I've moved around and transferred schools quite a bit, so I've gotten good at meeting people out of nowhere when I don't know anyone. Plus, I'll probably make friends outside of the college as well. I don't really need anyone to ease my transition; I can figure it out on my own. One of the main issues that I have with dorms is that, even though I'm extroverted, I really dislike feeling like "part of a community." I prefer to be on my own and have my own separate life, and then interact with others independently rather than having them be an intrinsic part of my whole everyday life. I know plenty of people like being in a dorm, but that kind of thing feels way too much like a never-ending summer-camp to me.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34234 replies771 threads Senior Member
    I think you're knocking the dorm experience before you've even given it a chance. Don't assume you'll hate it or you'll never give it fair consideration.

    I think getting an RV is dumb unless you are made of money. They're VERY expensive to buy, use, and maintain.
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  • ladeeda6ladeeda6 494 replies14 threads Member
    ^Especially if the OP is considering renting space simply to park the RV on. You'd have to pay to do laundry, buy and prepare food yourself most days, etc. Dorming can be expensive, but this idea just seems highly impractical.
    If you don't want an apartment, find a house to rent with friends or something.
    Even if you don't eventually like dorming, you'll appreciate the experience and not everything about it will be the stuff of nightmares.
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  • TheVetTheVet 348 replies0 threads Member
    i would look into other options, even if you dont end up in the dorms
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  • 3togo3togo 5218 replies15 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2012
    Are you planning on living in a RV park so you have access to water and electricity ... then it's likely you'll need a car also since the odds of a RV park being next to your campus need to be near zero. Is this really a better scenario than an apartment?

    Or are you planning on just parking without electricity and water? I had a friend who was not living in a RV but was hiding in academic buildings (to same money) ... he did it for one semester ... and he HATED it. He said it sucked not having access to regular bathroom facilities or to computers and printers at night in his "home".
    edited August 2012
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  • polarscribepolarscribe 3200 replies32 threads Senior Member
    If you just rent some empty space, are you going to run the generator all the time for electricity? You know how much gas that will cost? You can't just plug an extension cord in. What about water and sewer hookups? Those tanks aren't that big. You'll have to drive off-site frequently to find a disposal site.
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  • teachandmomteachandmom 1208 replies36 threads Senior Member
    I know people who live in a campground in San Antonio, TX. They pay at least $600 a month for the site. Then, the payments on the RV. So, lets say $800 a month right there. A dorm room at my D's school is 6400 a year, so less than staying at the campground in an RV. You would need utilities, and some places charge for hook-ups, so that could cost more. You could actually paying more than to dorm or rent a small efficiency apartment.
    And, no, if you were staying in an RV off campus, the school would not be liable.
    I think you need to really think about why you don't like being part of a community. No one lives in isolation. If you don't want to be part of a community, then, don't use the sewer system, don't use electricity, don't use the public library, or , for that matter, drive on public roads. Communities work and function to support the common good. Sometimes, that means dealing with problems as well. Most jobs today also require workers to function well together. Did you ever play a team sport? Each player can shine individually, while also working together to win as a team. You might want to work on learning how to be part of a community during college - it's sort of an important part of life, especially these days!
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  • girlanachronismgirlanachronism 13 replies3 threads New Member
    Those of you who have commented on me renting space are probably right; I doubt that would work.

    romanigypsyeyes: I've given it fair consideration and it's not for me. I'll look into the expense more, and try calling some RV parks around the colleges I'm considering to get an idea of how much it might cost.

    ladeeda6: Yeah, renting space probably wouldn't work. Thanks for bringing up the laundry and food issues; I'll need to consider those more.

    TheVet: I'm definitely considering other options, since I know there's a very good chance I won't be able to do this.

    3togo: There's an RV park just two miles or so from my top choice of school, but I'll have to check on the others, so thanks for mentioning that. I'll give up on the idea if I'm not able to get water and electricity; I'm not *that* adamant about it.

    polarscribe: I should rule that out, then.

    teachandmom: Thanks for telling me about the prices. I'm going to call some and get basic estimates just to think about. If it turns out to cost more than the dorms wherever I end up, I'll probably have to give up. It's good that the school won't be liable if I'm off campus, though.
    I have examined why I don't like communal things. That isn't really the main issue here; this thread is about the practicality of one certain type of off-campus housing, not about why I don't want to live on campus. But anyway, I'm not saying I don't like working as a team at work or anything like that, just that I don't want my whole everyday life to be within a single community.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34234 replies771 threads Senior Member
    I've given it fair consideration and it's not for me.

    Based on what?

    Even if you get a single, that's better than an RV. You have to get out of your comfort zone. Sorry. If you really do have a legitimate problem that makes it impossible to get a roommate you can get a medical waiver.
    just that I don't want my whole everyday life to be within a single community.

    This statement proves that you have no idea what it's like to live in a dorm.
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  • girlanachronismgirlanachronism 13 replies3 threads New Member
    romanigypsyeyes: As I have said a large number of times, this thread is about the practicality of an RV, not about whether I should live on campus. I have already made up my mind to petition to live off-campus if I can see a practical way of living on my own, preferably in an RV but possibly in an apartment, as I have absolutely no interest in living with (and having a single room still counts as living with in my mind) anyone else if I can avoid it (excluding anyone I end up in a long-term relationship with and possibly a long-time close friend).

    It's not about my comfort zone, it's about my strong preference. I can deal with living in a dorm if I end up with absolutely no choice, but until that becomes the case, I am choosing to avoid it if I can, and if that turns out to be a bad decision for me (which I am almost certain it won't be, since I won't live in an RV or apartment if I look into it further and decide that it's more trouble than it's worth), then I'll deal with any issues that arise from that. It's my choice to make and to accept responsibility for the consequences of, and since I did not ask for your opinion on my decision to live off-campus and it is not the subject of this thread, I don't feel the need to justify my reasons to you.

    My decision to live off-campus if I'm able to pull it off is a choice that I have already made and am not seeking advice on, and I only mentioned it in the first place because it was necessary for my question to make sense. I'm grateful to everyone so far who has helped to answer my actual question and responded with things relative to the thread, but I don't see the point in trying to argue with me about something that I mentioned only in passing and am not soliciting opinions on.

    I know that you think that my choice to live off-campus is a mistake, but really, what's the point in trying to talk me out of it when I've made it clear that it's not what I'm interested in discussing? I don't mind if you think it's a mistake, since I'm sure it's the right choice for me and don't see a point in justifying it to strangers. And you don't have a duty or anything to try to save me from what you consider a bad decision. If it's a bad decision, it's still my decision, and I'll accept the consequences as such as well.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34234 replies771 threads Senior Member
    Suit yourself. Make sure you go to a uni that doesn't make you live on campus. They're more rare than you think and you won't be granted a waiver.
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  • girlanachronismgirlanachronism 13 replies3 threads New Member
    That's not what I've heard, but I'll look into it more for individual schools. Anyway, I appreciate you responding and trying to be helpful, even if you weren't really on topic. No hard feelings.
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