Freshmen and living off campus (no parents living nearby)

Some schools don’t have single dorms, but they also don’t require freshmen to live on campus. So, will the admins and housing managers bat an eye when I request to live off campus due to that reason?

I understand that first year living off campus is generally considered bad with a bunch of inconveniences and hard to get involved, etc, etc. But I’ve already researched those stuff.

Also, for some reason in the US, wanting a single dorm might even be considered selfish or greedy by certain unis/admins. Basically, I’m wondering what reaction, if they really care, I’d get when I request to live off campus as a freshmen.

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If they have singles for freshman or allow students to live off campus, then you’d be ok. Some may have for freshman but are hard to get.

Unless you have a medical need, I don’t think someone will exempt their rules.

At the same time, single rooms are common today. My son had his his own room and shared a bathroom with one other. He didn’t want a shared room and gave up his top choice school because if it.

Why not just find a school where you can definitely get your own room?

Whether it’s selfish or not is not relevant. If that’s what you want then that’s what you want. Alternatively, you can find a school without an on campus residency requirement.

Every school is different regarding policies for living on campus. Some schools require it freshman year, some additional years and some don’t even guarantee you’ll get housing freshman year.

Some schools do have singles available to freshmen, but they aren’t guaranteed. If there is a reason you NEED a single (medical, mental health, gender identity, etc) you can usually work with the Office of Disabilities.

In terms of how the school sees it, I don’t think they really care in terms of seeing it as “selfish”. They only care if you follow the policy or not.

Housing information should be available on each school’s website.

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If the college does not require frosh to live on campus, why would you have to request to live off campus? Even if you did have to inform the campus specifically on that, they would assume that you had one of the various reasons for doing so, a common one of which is commuting from a nearby relative’s place.


I think the trick here OP is - choose a college that will work for you housing wise.

Don’t apply to a college where you’ll need an exception.

Plenty have enough available singles - I know three we looked at - Alabama, Alabama Huntsville, Florida Tech…and many other publics won’t have a residency requirement at all.

Good luck.

I’m guessing you’re an international student (since you said “uni”). It’ll be even harder to integrate into college life off campus as an international student, new to this country. I agree with others that if the school does not require on campus residency it’s not an issue, but I’m curious why you don’t want to. Is it a cost or medical reason? If not, I’d urge you to reconsider.


I would suggest you live on campus. It sounds like you are an international student. Getting off campus housing in the U.S. requires things like security and rental deposits, and sometimes a guarantor (someone who signs your lease guaranteeing the payment). The guarantor is usually a U.S. citizen as the landlord would want to actually be able to collect that rent…and that is difficult to do if the guarantor is overseas. Then there is the issue of finding off campus housing. Depending on the location, there might not be a lot of it, or leases are signed way in advance of enrollment.

I think you need to research colleges in this country carefully. First, make sure you can afford to attend every school you are applying to. Many colleges in this country don’t give any financial aid to international students (if you are not a citizen of the U.S.). Some do, in a limited way. Some don’t.

Living off campus, as others have noted, is not usually an optimal way to integrate into you college campus. Some colleges have many single rooms. And some colleges absolutely do not permit off campus housing for new students. You need to check.

ETA…I forgot to add…many off campus places to live are unfurnished meaning you would need to get furniture, linens, dishes, pots and pans, curtains, rugs if you want them, all food and cleaning supplies, etc.

Adding…I posted this on your other thread as well. This agency might have a location near you. They can help you understand the U.S. application/payment/enrollment process for U.S. colleges.

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I think you are misinterpreting this. The problem is that at many schools there just aren’t that many singles. They are in short supply so the school has to somehow allocate these rooms to students who want them. First priority is to those who need singles for medical reasons. Second priority generally goes to upper classmen. Freshman are lowest on the priority list.

If you pick a school that doesn’t have a lot of single rooms, you will need to make a strong case for why you should get one of them. The better thing to do is to choose a school with a lot of newer dorms so that getting a single is not so difficult.


Or deal with having a roommate. Many many kids go to college having never shared a room with anyone before. You won’t be the only one.

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Administrators and housing officials would have no idea who is on and who is off campus at most schools.

There are many fine schools ranging in selectivity from UTAustin and the University of Michigan to Youngstown State University where you could be in “off campus,” non-university housing but situated just as conveniently (and in some cases more so) as the school’s dormitories. Then there are other schools like the University of Kentucky where first year students have easy access to apartment-style even living in school housing.

My kids both attend schools where it seems to be pretty common for some international students to choose apartment-style living immediately, and there is a myriad of personal, religious, and cultural reasons why they make this choice. These students become active, integrated members of the campus community, so if that is the kind of housing you want I would do the additional research to fine those kids or schools. My guess is that, in general, you should look for more urban and larger universities vs small, isolated LACs.

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The school bills for room and board. If the student is not using these, then there would be no billing for them. Of course they know who is and isn’t on campus. And if on campus is required, you will receive a bill and be paying for it even IF you also get an off campus apartment….unless you successfully file some sort of appeal with your college.

I agree…research the options. It doesn’t sound like you know a lot about American colleges.

Of course the registrar, housing, and a few other departments know who is and who isn’t living on campus. Individual administrators and employees might (depending on position) be able to access it by student, but aside from a few small schools no one knows or cares about this information in the way that the OP is mentioning.

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This is one of the main reasons my D is interested in UT Austin. One of her cousins is living in a beautiful high rise with a great view of the hills that’s only a few blocks away from classes and she avoids the tiny dorms with unknown roommate which could be a distraction (or worse).

Plus you arent tied to the school food which could get old after a few weeks/months.

Can this international student actually easily get off campus housing? Does he or she have the necessary deposits, etc, a guarantor if needed, and the like?

Would this student be OK having their own bedroom in a shared apartment with other students he has never met?


And, while most schools try very hard to accommodate, some with specific dietary restrictions may be more comfortable with their own kitchen.

I am not trying to talk anyone into off campus housing from the start. In fact, I was happy being in a dorm all four years. But the reality in many situations is that dorm living isn’t the critical or only or even best path to integrating into the campus community that it was 30 years ago when I attended. More schools are building dorms that have individual rooms or an apartment set-ups to attract students, more kids keep their dorm doors close. Kids find their people in different ways now.

This isn’t universal — Harvard, Yale, and many other schools still foster a 4-year house system. But an increasing number do not and the OP will have many options.

The OP needs to research all colleges of interest to see their policies.

One advantage I can see for off campus living for an international student is…when the dorms close, their apartment will still be open…on the longer vacations when college dorms do close.

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A number of colleges do make arrangements for international students in dorms to stay on campus during long breaks and even over the summer. This is certainly a question the OP should research for every college he/she plans to apply to.


Agreed, but they will be charged extra (even if just staying over Thanksgiving break). Something the OP should be aware of.


Another thing for the OP to research.


That’s exactly why I’m applying to British unis. However, I’m currently living in the US (I wasn’t born here, but I wouldn’t consider myself an international student), so US colleges will be much more convenient.
The problem is that US colleges are not definite when it comes to single dorms. They say, we have some single dorms. They say, we will try our best to meet preferences but no promises. I even contacted their housing department, and the responses were never that single rooms are guaranteed. They say, demand for single rooms vary each year.

Which leaves me thinking that I have to accept the offer AND wait until housing assignments are out to decide.