It’s always a big change when your child gets ready to graduate from high school and head off to college. First, there are SAT or ACT admission tests and all the pressure that goes with taking those. Then the process of screening and selecting which college is right for your child begins. There will be campus visits and countless college application forms, and anxious days waiting for the acceptance letter and the celebration that goes with that good news.
Even once your child has selected their favorite university and been accepted, there are still a lot of items on the off-to-college check list. One of the biggest decisions to consider is where your child will live while they are attending college. Often students and their parents choose off-campus student housing over the typically crowded and outdated dorms. If your child will be living in off campus apartments, there are some key items to evaluate as you make a final decision that is right for all of you.
Sending your child to college or university is very expensive, so it’s important to save money where possible. The best student off-campus housing providers will offer quality choices at a variety of price levels. You can often save money by renting an apartment that is shared with several roommates. Since all of the apartments have kitchens, you can also save significant money over the very expensive dorm student meal plans.
When you live off-campus, choosing the right location is a top consideration. Ideally you should be within walking distance of the campus so you don’t have to deal with on-campus parking issues. It’s also great to be a quick walk away from grocery stores, coffee shops and other services you will need. Many students find that if they choose the right off-campus location they will not even need a car.
As a parent, one of the key issues you will want to evaluate is the safety of the apartment complex and the surrounding neighborhood. You should always visit the proposed rental locations, and walk through the complex and parking lot to see whether it feels good there. It’s also a good idea to drive the neighborhood during the day and again at night to see how everything is cared fo and how safe it is. You can also look online for safety statistics for the area.
In most cases, parents will be asked to guarantee the lease. You should check which utilities are included with your monthly payment and look for any hidden charges. It’s also critical to find out whether you can sublet the apartment in the event that your child’s plans change. Without the ability to sublet you could be fully liable for paying the remaining amount on the lease even if your child was not residing there.
Moving from high school to college is a milestone event. After years of living at home, your child will be heading off to a completely new journey in life. By helping your child carefully evaluate their off-campus student housing options, you will be sure that you are giving them a great start to their college days.