10 Things You Need To Know As An Off-Campus Student

Off-Campus Student

Moving to a different location for your higher education is, in itself, quite a big decision. Uprooting your life from one place and settling into a new home altogether is always challenging. Especially for international students, shifting countries involves more hassle than merely migrating to a new city. Changes in culture, cuisine, routine, social groups and habits take a lot of work to adapt to. Therefore, most international students choose on-campus accommodation since it is more convenient and often has several amenities. But off-campus housing has several advantages, too. If you’ve opted for off-campus accommodation, there are a few standard things that you need to be aware of as an off-campus student. Continue reading to find out!

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure that you feel safe and comfortable in the property you choose.
  • Verify whether the rent includes all essential amenities and facilities.
  • Check if the property is connected to accessible options of public transport for commute.
  • Align your interests, habits, finances and schedules before choosing a roommate.
  • Utilise as many college resources as possible to save on your monthly expenditure.
  • Budget wisely to manage your living expenses.
  • Explore as many options as possible before finalising a property to ensure that you get a good deal.

What Should You Know As An Off-Campus Student?

1. Safety

As a young off-campus student living in a new city alone, the top priority must be, without a doubt, your safety. Check out the surrounding area and locality to see how developed it is. Also, verify the safety of your flat or room and the building itself, whether it has reliable locks and security systems in place. Verify the security measures taken by the authorities at the location. As a quick checklist, ask the following questions to ensure that your safety isn’t compromised.

  • Is the property located away from the town in an isolated area?
  • Do you have access to outside help if needed?
  • Are the authorities keeping a check on who enters or exits the building?
  • Are there CCTV cameras on the premises?

2. Amenities & Utilities for an Off-Campus Student

If you’re staying in an off-campus student housing location, explore the options for utilities and amenities provided by the authorities. Several times, the cost of off-campus housing is significantly cheaper than that of on-campus accommodation. To reduce these costs, they may remove the additional facilities from your agreed-upon rent. Thus, you may end up paying more than the monthly rent for WiFi, water, gas or electricity. Furthermore, if the building has a gym, sports centres, fitness facilities or swimming pool, the owners often charge monthly subscriptions or similar payments for access.

3. Transportation

One of the biggest advantages of choosing on-campus accommodation is that students don’t have to commute to college every day. As an off-campus student, transportation is a significant aspect you’ll have to deal with daily. The best way to tackle this is to find a property near the college campus, preferably within walking distance. However, these housing options are often expensive and in high demand. If you look slightly farther than the premises, ensure that it has good connectivity with the rest of the city and is part of a significant network of public transport. Several public transportation facilities have additional student discounts as well. Some of the most convenient means of public transport are as follows.

  • Buses
  • Trains
  • Taxis
  • Bicycles
  • Coaches
  • Metro
  • Trolley
  • Ferries

4. Roommates 

Going 50/50 on a flat with your BFF seems like a wonderful idea at the beginning, but it often causes problems in the long run. Thus, before you start looking for a property, figure out whether you want a roommate or not. If you decide to look for living spaces with your friends, ensure that you all have the same goals and preferences. Otherwise, it will lead to unnecessary compromise. If you decide to find a new roommate, ensure that you’re aware of their daily schedule, drinking and smoking habits, financial footing and health concerns. Since you are going to be staying with someone 24/7, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that you’re on the same page in every aspect.

5. Social interaction

When you are an off-campus student living away from home, it is essential to find a few people on whom you can fall back in times of need. Thus, social interaction, both on and off campus, becomes a priority. You can work on your skills, talents and capabilities by getting involved in forums, clubs and student organisations in the college. On the other hand, interacting with more people off-campus introduces you to new opportunities and ideas through word of mouth. For instance, nearby cafes and restaurants, available student discounts, concessions, and more. Most importantly, social interaction allows you to form a close circle and to be a part of a vibrant student community.

6. Explore The Campus

Universities and colleges often offer several opportunities and facilities to develop their personal and professional skills. They usually have sports teams, debate clubs, student organisations, departmental forums and other lively spaces where students can indulge their hobbies and hone their talents. Not only are these facilities a way to work on yourself, but they also allow you to form an active network. Dabbling in extracurriculars enables you to gain different skill sets that will help you in your professional career in the long run.

7. Campus Resources

As previously mentioned in the above section, off-campus student housing is often made cheaper by removing additional facilities and amenities from the decided rent. You can compensate for these facilities free of cost via your campus resources. For instance, the landlord of your housing property may charge an additional fee for using the gym, sports facility, swimming pool, etc. However, most universities already offer these facilities to their students free of cost. Thus, you can explore the options provided by your college and avail of them to save money from your monthly budget.

8. Budget

As an off-campus student, budgeting must be a top priority. Keep in mind that a considerable portion of your monthly budget will be going towards your rent for a notable period of time. Ideally, a maximum of 30% of your monthly expenses should be reserved for rent. If you are planning to share the property with a roommate, ensure that you are both on the same page regarding the finances to avoid disputes in the long run. Here’s a standard list of all the aspects that contribute to your monthly expenses.

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Food Cost
  • Utility Cost
  • Entertainment
  • Groceries
  • Clothes

9. Explore Your Options

Off-Campus Student

Before rushing into the decision and finalising any one property, explore all the available options, especially if you are looking for a long-term stay. For example, you might be able to find a better property at a cheaper price, slightly farther from the campus. By managing all the aspects appropriately, you can end up with a pretty decent housing property without breaking the bank. A list of popular options for housing is mentioned below.

  • Ensuites and non-ensuites
  • Shared living spaces
  • Apartments
  • Flats
  • Luxury studios 
  • Private, rented rooms
  • Purpose-Built Student Accommodation
  • HMOs
  • Homestays

10. Add Your Touch!

Staying away from home is quite challenging as it is. The best way to tackle it is to add your own touch. Make the living space as unique as possible by decorating it with memorabilia, souvenirs, and your hobbies. Interact with more people and form a strong community. Most importantly, remember to have fun!

Top Student Accommodations

To nudge your search in the right direction, we have compiled some of the best student accommodations available in popular study-abroad destinations. Check out the comprehensive list below!

Best Student Accommodations In London

Here’s a list of some of the most highly recommended student accommodations in London.

AccommodationIntakeWeekly Rent Starting FromRoom options
Dean HouseJanuary£245Ensuite
Mannequin HouseFlexible£244Ensuite, Studio
Flora BuildingFlexible£258Apartments, Studio
The ValentineJanuary£385Studio
Spring MewsFlexible£350Ensuite, Studio

Best Student Accommodations In Brisbane

Here’s a list of some of the most highly recommended student accommodations in Brisbane.

AccommodationWeekly Rent Starting From (AUD)Room options
UniLodge – South Bank$329Apartments, Studio
UniLodge – Park Central$329Studio, Private bedrooms
Griffith University Village$299Apartments, Studio
Scape South Bank$249Apartments, Studio
Scape Merivale St$319Twin Apartments, Studio

Best Student Accommodations In Melbourne

Here’s a list of some of the most highly recommended student accommodations in Melbourne.

AccommodationWeekly Rent Starting From (AUD)Room options
UniLodge – Victoria University$266Twin bedrooms, apartments
Student Living – D2$411Apartments
Student Living – 570 Swanston$376Apartments
Student Living – Riversdale$300Studio
Student Living – Villiers$365Bedrooms/Apartments

UniAcco is a reliable platform where students can find appropriate accommodation in one place. Students can compare different properties, such as ensuites, non-ensuites, studios and private apartments, all in one place. UniAcco assists students in finding affordable housing options with all facilities according to their preferences and comfort.


Q1. What does it mean to be an off-campus student? 

Ans: A student who chooses to reside outside of the college campus is called an off-campus student. 

Q2. Is off-campus housing better than on-campus accommodation? 

Ans: Both on-campus and off-campus accommodation have their pros and cons. On-campus housing is usually more convenient and offers more facilities. On the contrary, the latter is considerably cheaper and provides more liberty. 

Q3. Does off-campus accommodation have any disadvantages? 

Ans: Off-campus accommodation involves additional commuting, which often costs more time and money comparatively. It also includes taking up more responsibilities.

Thank you for reading our guide to the top 10 things every off-campus student must know! Let us know your thoughts or queries in the comments section below!

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