Living off campus in your own apartment for the first time is an exciting step in the transition to adult life. With your own space and no R.A. to answer to, apartment living means you’ll have the most freedom you’ve probably ever had – and also the most responsibility. For Arizona State University students who attend ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus, moving into Phoenix apartments in the fall is an exciting new opportunity to branch out. Whether you’re an ASU student or a student at any university moving out for the first time, these tips can help you enjoy your apartment to the fullest without neglecting responsibilities or personal safety.
Find a Roommate
Living with a roommate, or multiple roommates, can significantly decrease your cost of living. Not only can you get more space for your dollar, but you’ll also save money on rent and utilities. You’ll save money on furnishings and moving fees. You can split the cost of household items like paper towels, cleaning supplies, food, toilet paper and other necessities that everyone can take turns purchasing. Be sure to choose roommates that you feel comfortable and safe being around. Consider the people they’d have over, whether or not you trust them and if you’d feel okay sharing a space with everyone. Set up ground rules as soon as you move in about cleaning, dishes, visitors and other responsibilities.
Read your Lease Carefully
Signing the lease seems like the only thing standing between you and your new apartment, so you may be in a rush to sign it – but be sure you read it carefully. Check for clauses about extra fees for utilities, taxes, apartment rules and the fee for breaking your lease early. Keep a copy or two of your lease on file in a safe place for the entire time you live in your apartment. If you have roommates, be sure that you all sit down and read it together so you’re on the same page. Some apartment complexes require renter’s insurance, so you and your belongings are covered in case of an emergency. Even if your apartment doesn’t require it, it’s a wise investment.
Be Safe and Responsible
Having your own place also means not having the safety of a dorm or campus housing. Always keep your doors and windows locked and don’t open the door if there’s a knock until you verify that you know the person on the other side of the door. If your apartment has shared laundry, avoid walking there at night and try to take a friend.
Get a Bike
Living off campus means that you’ll have a longer commute to get to class, especially at a bigger university like ASU. Investing in a good bike can save you money on gas, parking passes and other expenses associated with owning a car. You can also get in a bit of exercise each day and help save the environment. Spring for a good bike lock to keep your bike safe both at home and on campus.
Stay Involved in Campus Activities
Just because you’re living off campus doesn’t mean you should detach yourself from the school and its activities. Stay involved in clubs and committees. Attend guest lectures and be aware of what’s happening on your campus. Staying involved may require a bit more effort once you’re off campus, but it’s an important part of student life and your college experience.
Taking the opportunity to move off campus is a great way to learn life skills like paying bills, caring for your own space, learning to live with roommates and managing a household. Start searching for your downtown Phoenix apartment early, as other ASU students will be interested in moving off campus as well. Inspect your apartment before you sign the lease, make note of any problems and follow these tips for a happy and safe off campus experience.