From social life and privacy to finances and amenity options,
choosing to live in an apartment, house or residence hall is about
weighing the pros and cons of each accommodation.
All freshmen are required to live in one of the nine residence
halls during their first year at CSU. However, some students elect
to stay in the residence halls even after their freshman year,
either as a resident or a resident assistant.
About 800 upperclassmen return to the residence halls each year,
said Kim Okamoto, an administrative assistant in the Housing
One pro to residence hall life is the vibrant social activity.
Living in close quarters allows residents to have built-in study
partners and dining mates.
In addition, Residence Life activities, such as movie marathons
and coffee shop tours, give residents the opportunity to meet new
“You get to meet a lot of people immediately,” said Matt
Deragisch, a freshman English major who lives in Newsom Hall.
While it is a perk at times, an active social life can also be a
negative aspect to living in a residence hall. Fun and festivities
can sometimes be hard to escape, making quiet study hours more
dependent on others behavior.
While freedom in the residence halls is an advantage for some
freshmen who have longed to escape parents’ curfews, freedom is
somewhat limited. Many items such as halogen lights, waterbeds and
pets other than fish are not allowed in the halls.
Still, meals are available throughout the day, bathrooms are
cleaned, and high-speed Internet access and cable TV are included
in the cost of room and board.
“I like how I can focus on my studies,” said Garret Cook, a
sophomore business major who also lives in Newsom Hall.
The expense of food, utilities and furniture is a con of
apartment life that many students accept in exchange for privacy
and ultimate freedom.
“Typically 75 percent of students live off campus,” said Jeannie
Ortega, director of Off-Campus Student Services/Resource for Adult
Learners. Transportation is also an issue as only a limited number
of on-campus apartments are available.
While there may be fewer organized social activities off campus,
the freedom and privacy of apartment living is absolute.
“You don’t have a lot of freshmen running around screaming at 12
o’clock at night,” said Kelly Gaskins, a sophomore English
Apartments often offer more space than residence halls, and
private bedrooms are commonplace.
Another living option is renting or buying a house, which
encompasses all of the advantages of apartment life.
Living in a house can require extra work, including yard and
house maintenance, but it may pay off in the long run.
“Real estate is always a good investment,” said Elizabeth Lowe,
a realtor with RE/MAX First Associates Inc. “Interest rates are
lower than they have been in 20 years.”
Lowe recommends that college students buy a home because having
a mortgage payment can be less than paying monthly rent.
While there are many programs available to first-time homebuyers
that require no money down, a good credit history or a parent
co-signature is necessary, Lowe said.
Some students may even choose to rent out rooms in a house to
make more money on their investment.