Should I live On-Campus or Off-Campus?

Author: Boise Bible College
Published on: June 30, 2020

In your freshman year at bible college, living on campus in the dorms your education and campus life will be a far richer experience and investment because you will have immediate access to spiritual community and student life.

But we will let you be the judge.

pros and cons of living on-campus vs. off-campus


If you are coming to college and you do not own a car, living on campus is your best option so that you have easy access to your education. However, then you have to walk, bike, or ask for rides in order to get somewhere off-campus. Even if you do own a vehicle, living on campus saves money on gas and wear-and-tear on your car since you don’t have to commute for class. Most college campuses have work-study jobs on campus, which is especially convenient for students without transportation.


Most college campuses have a meal plan or a cafeteria on campus, which can be good or bad depending on the quality of food. This is where living off-campus in a home or apartment with a kitchen allows you to have more freedom in your diet. However, if you hate to cook (or don’t know how), then a cafeteria or meal plan is your ticket.


The depth and breadth of your social life are entirely dependent on you, but you will tend to make more friends if you live on campus where all the community is present. So much of the spontaneous fun of college happens in the down-time of the day or night when friends want to procrastinate on assignments. If you live off-campus, you will naturally miss out on this spontaneous fun. Of course, social life on campus can certainly be distracting for serious students.

“The depth and breadth of your social life if entirely dependent on you, but you will tend to make more friends if you live on campus where all the community is present.”


The cost-effectiveness of living on or off-campus depends on the cost of room, board, and meal plan at the college and how much cost of living is off-campus. You’ll really want to do your research here. If you live in the dorms and you are using financial aid, then your room, board, and meal plan could be covered by scholarships, Pell Grant, and/or student loans. However, the problem with student loans is that they accrue interest, making the cost of room, board, and meal plan possibly more expensive in the long run; but you have more money in your pocket while you’re in school. If you live off-campus, you’ll probably need to have a job to pay for your rent, food, gas, and furnishings.


You can have roommates to help pay for rent off-campus, or you can have roommates in the dorms at most colleges. Either way, roommates can be awesome, average, or awful depending on your social dynamics. Great roommates make great friends and great fun. Awful roommates make great enemies and great frustrations. Unless you can afford to not have a roommate, you probably will not get away from having one while in college, unless you are an RA (resident assistant) in the dorms – they typically get to live alone while going to college.


Similar to social life, when you live on campus at bible college you get access to the spontaneous spiritual community that sometimes happens late at night or early in the morning. Students sometimes gather around and sing worship around a bonfire, or they will do prayer walks around their neighborhood, or they will stay up late swapping Jesus-stories. If you live out of the dorms, the likelihood of you being a part of a spontaneous spiritual community goes down, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a spiritual community. You might just need to be a bit more intentional to get it.

Overall, think about your priorities in college and keep doing your research to learn whether living on or off-campus is right for you. College will transform you regardless of whether or not you live in the dorms, but living on campus tends to lend itself to more transformational opportunities.  Make sure that your choice is one that helps you thrive as a college student.

christian college international students