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UW Dorms or UW off-campus apartments

UW Dorms or UW off-campus apartments

Cedric Thomas
Jan 25, 2024

Table of contents

  • Pros of UW Dorms
  • Final Thoughts

As a student at the University of Washington, one of the most critical decisions you will make is where you live during your time at college. The two most common options are living in the dorms or finding off-campus housing near UW.

Each choice has its advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately, it depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. As a recent graduate of the University of Washington, I have lived in both the dorms and off-campus housing and will explore the pros and cons of each option in detail.

Pros of UW Dorms 

Convenience

One of the most significant advantages of living in the dorms is convenience. The dorms are located near campus, which makes it easy to get to class and around Seattle. Most dorms are also located near bus lines, which can take you to other parts of the city.

Additionally, the dorms are fully furnished with beds and desks, so you don't need to worry about furniture. You also don't need to worry about paying your own bills or about having to cook your own food, which can be a significant relief for students who are new to living on their own.

Meeting Other Students

The dorms hold events regularly where you can meet other students. This is great if you are a first-year student who may not know many people on campus. There are also Living Learning Communities which are dorms specifically for certain majors where you can meet people with- similar interests.

Living in the dorms provides an opportunity to make friends and socialize with other students.

students walking on the UW campus

Meeting Other UW Students

The dorms hold events regularly where you can meet other students. This is great if you are a first-year student who may not know many people on campus. There are also Living Learning Communities which are dorms specifically for certain majors where you can meet people with- similar interests.

Living in the dorms provides an opportunity to make friends and socialize with other students.

Access to Amenities

If you are living in the dorms, you have access to amenities that are not available to all UW students. For example, there are gyms that are within walking distance and private study rooms that only dorm residents can use.

This is a significant advantage because these amenities are often very expensive or difficult to access off-campus.

women and man talking outside the building

The dorms hold events regularly where you can meet other students. This is great if you are a first-year student who may not know many people on campus. There are also Living Learning Communities which are dorms specifically for certain majors where you can meet people with- similar interests.

Cons of UW Dorms

Dorm Food Gets Repetitive and is Expensive

The UW food is expensive, and although convenient, the food options on campus can get old. There are usually a few options that change daily, but most of the time, they are the same.

You can eat out, but you generally want to use all your meal plan money because it expires at the end of the year. This means that you may end up eating the same meals repeatedly throughout the year.

Lack of Privacy

Living in the dorms means that you will have to share a room with one to three roommates. While living with your friends can be fun, being with them all the time may make it difficult to study or relax.

Additionally, sharing a room means that you have little privacy, which can be challenging for some students.

Pros of Off-Campus Housing Near UW

Location and Space

One of the most significant advantages of living off-campus is the freedom to choose where you live. You can choose to live in a small studio apartment or a house with 9 of your friends.

Also, you are not restricted to one part of the University District and can explore other areas of Seattle like Green Lake. Additionally, living off-campus means that you have more space than living in the dorms.

Independence

Living off-campus is a great opportunity to learn how to cook and how to pay your bills. If you don’t want to cook, you have the flexibility to eat at any of the restaurants located on the Ave (University Way) like Xi’an Noodles or Thai Tom.

This can be a great opportunity to gain independence and learn important life skills.

Cost

Often, you can get a similar or larger space for the same price off-campus. Also, you don’t need to purchase a meal plan, which can cut down on your food costs. Living off-campus can be a more affordable option for students who are trying

Location and Space

When you live off-campus, you have more freedom to choose where you live. You can choose to live in a small studio apartment or a house with a group of your friends.

Also, you are not restricted to one part of the University District and can explore other areas of Seattle like Green Lake.

This can be a significant advantage for students who are looking for a change of scenery or who want to explore new neighborhoods.

brown tree beside white concrete building during daytime

Pros of UW Dorms:

  1. Convenience:

One of the most significant advantages of living in a dorm is the convenience factor. The dorms come furnished with beds and desks, which means that you don't need to worry about furniture.

This can be a major relief for students who are moving away from home for the first time and may not have the resources or time to purchase or move furniture. The students may also look for tips on finding UW apartments. Additionally, you don't need to worry about paying your own bills or about having to cook your own food.

All of these are taken care of for you, which allows you to focus on your studies and other activities.

  1. Meeting Other Students:

Living in a dorm gives you an opportunity to meet other students who are in the same situation as you. The dorms hold events regularly where you can meet other students.

This is great if you are a first-year student who may not know many people on campus. You'll get to meet people from all walks of life and develop friendships that can last a lifetime.

There are also Living Learning Communities, which are dorms specifically for certain majors where you can meet people with similar interests.

  1. Access to Amenities:

If you are living in the dorms, you have access to amenities that are not available to all UW students. For example, there are gyms that are within walking distance and private study rooms that only dorm residents can use. This means that you don't have to worry about finding a gym or a quiet place to study. Everything is available to you within your dorm building.

john-schnobrich-2FPjlAyMQTA-unsplash.jpg

Cons of The Dorms:

Dorm Food Gets Repetitive and is Expensive:

One of the biggest complaints about living in a dorm is the food. The UW food is expensive, and although convenient, the food options on campus can get old.

There are usually a few options that change daily, but most of the time, they are the same. You can eat out, but you generally want to use all your meal plan money because it expires at the end of the year. This can be frustrating for students who are looking for variety in their diet.

Lack of Privacy:

UW offers some studios, but in most cases, you'll be sharing a room with one to three roommates. Living with your friends can be fun, but being with them all the time may make it difficult to study or relax.

Additionally, living in a dorm means that you'll have to deal with noise and other distractions, which can be challenging if you need a quiet space to study or work.

Living Off-Campus Housing Near UW:

three women walking on brown wooden dock near high rise building during daytime

If you do decide to live off-campus, there are some additional things to consider when searching for an apartment. Here are some tips to help you find the right place:

  • Start your search early: As mentioned earlier, most apartments near UW start pre-leasing for the upcoming school year beginning in Winter Quarter. This means that you should start your search at least six months in advance to ensure you have enough time to find a suitable place.

 

  • Determine your budget: Figure out how much you can afford to spend on rent, utilities, and other expenses. Make sure to factor in transportation costs if you plan on commuting to campus.

 

  • Check out different neighborhoods: There are many neighborhoods in Seattle that are popular among students, including the University District, Wallingford, Green Lake, and Capitol Hill. Take some time to explore different areas and find one that suits your preferences and budget.

 

  • Consider transportation options: If you plan on commuting to campus, make sure to consider transportation options like bus routes, bike lanes, and walking paths. Living close to a bus stop or light rail station can make your commute much easier.

  • Think about roommates: If you're looking to save on rent and utilities, consider looking for roommates to split the cost with. Make sure to talk to potential roommates about their expectations and preferences and make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • Research safety: Safety is an important factor when deciding where to live. Research the different neighborhoods you are considering and make sure they are safe and secure. Check online reviews and talk to other students to get an idea of what the area is like.

 

Overall, whether you choose to live in the University of Washington dorms or off-campus housing near the University of Washington, there are pros and cons to each option. It's important to carefully consider your personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle when making your decision. By doing your research and starting your search early, you can find the right place to call home during your time at UW.

mimi-thian-vdXMSiX-n6M-unsplash.jpg

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, deciding whether to live in the dorms or off-campus housing near the University of Washington is a personal choice that depends on your priorities and preferences. The dorms offer convenience, a sense of community, and access to amenities, but can be expensive and lack privacy.

Off-campus housing provides more freedom, independence, and potentially lower costs, but requires more responsibility and can be farther from campus. By considering the pros and cons of each option and following the tips for finding an apartment, you can make an informed decision that will make your college experience enjoyable and fulfilling.

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