You have a few different options when it comes to choosing where to live while you study at university. You can stay with your parents or family in the area, rent on your own apartment nearby, or live on campus. There are many reasons to live on campus, is it worth it? Let’s look at what other students have gained from the experience.
Why live on campus?
You will be part of the campus community and make new friends. When you arrive, you might not know anyone else, but one of the benefits of living in a dorm means you’ll have a roommate. Your roommate (and everyone else in your residence hall) will also be adjusting to living away from home for the first time. This means you'll have someone to share that experience with. Students often form close friendships with their roommates and the other people in their halls.
Create your own social life
Another part of campus life is getting involved in the range of student clubs and organizations, which are usually free to join. This is the perfect opportunity to try new things and find out what interests you outside of your classes. At JMU, student life includes more than 350 clubs, ranging from sports and arts, to cultural organizations and outdoor adventures in nature.
Improve your academic outcomes
Another advantage of living on campus is that it contributes to higher grades. Research has shown that students who live in dorms achieve better academic outcomes during their degree, even if they live on campus for just one year. This has been attributed to being closer to classes, faculty and facilities like the library, enabling you to be more engaged.
University towns are usually safe places but it’s good to know that most campuses have 24-hour surveillance and security. At JMU, the JMU Police Department and the Campus Safety Office are always available should you need them.
Resident Advisors (RAs) live in the halls with students and are available to help anytime. Whether you’ve lost your keys or want some advice about living in the USA, they can guide you or send you to the right person to help. RAs are usually older students so they have already experienced campus life. This makes them perfectly placed to support you when you need it.
Campus accommodation usually includes utilities like electricity, gas, water and internet access in the price. This works out cheaper than paying for these separately and makes it easier to maintain constant service.
Reduce your commute
One of the best perks of living on campus is that you don’t need a car to get around because everything is within walking distance. It’s not just classes that are close by, the university bank, shops, and dining halls are all on campus. JMU has its own public transit system for students so there’s no need for any journey to take longer than 20 minutes. Plus, you’ll save time and energy by not having to find parking spaces, and it’s better for the environment!
If you’re a freshman (first year) arriving at university, there’s a good chance this will be your first time living away from your family. This comes with the responsibility of looking after yourself and organising your time. By living on campus, you get to learn these skills alongside many other people learning the same thing. You'll also be in an environment that doesn’t expect you to have it all figured out yet.
See for yourself
If you want to know more about the benefits of living on campus in college, watch this video. Former ISC student, Eliza, explains what it’s like in her residence, Madison International, which is a selective hall bringing together domestic and international students.