Housing is something you'll need to think about when choosing a college. Many students choose to attend a college near their home, and continue to live with their parents while they attend as commuter students. This is an excellent option and should be given serious consideration where feasible. Not having to pay for college housing can mean tens of thousands of dollars of financial aid you won't have to go in debt for. You'll miss out on some of the college "experience" by living at home, but the financial benefits will more than make up for that, by far. But if that's not an option, you'll need to check with the college you're attending to find out all the details-all the costs and rules and regulations of student housing. Many colleges and universities, if not most, require incoming freshmen who aren't commuting to live in on campus housing. This is done for a variety of reasons, some of which are for your benefit, some are for the community's benefit, and some are for the school's benefit.
Although campus housing can come in a wide variety of forms, including apartments, town homes, duplexes, etc., you'll probably wind up in a dorm, since you're a freshman. Which means you'll probably have a roommate, possibly more than one. Again, this is one of the reasons you'll want to make your housing arrangements as early as possible. Some dorms are more desirable than others. Many colleges, for an extra charge, even offer single dorm rooms. If you happen to want a room to yourself, or you want to make sure you're not stuck right next to the boiler room, you'll want to make arrangements as soon as you can. Once you've done that, they should give you a list of what you should and shouldn't bring, such as sheets, hot plates, microwaves, computers, etc. And you'd be surprised at how many colleges don't have air conditioning in their dorms, especially in the Midwest, which can make for long Indian summers and some sweltering springs. So if you can't stand humidity, try to arrange a room with air conditioning. This is when you'll also make arrangements for your meal plan.
Most colleges have various meal plans available, ranging all the way up to three meals a day, seven days a week. And the food is probably going to be a lot better than you expected-college dining services have gotten much better in the past decade or so, and are often handled by outside vendors, who offer lots of different meal options, from subs to Mexican to vegetarian to all you can eat buffets. Find out as much as you can about your housing and meal options, and make arrangements as soon as possible in order to get the best package you can. You definitely don't want to be trying to deal with all this stuff during orientation week. You'll have enough on your mind already.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013