t’s that time of year again when many people show great interest and concern about their living arrangements for the next academic year. Having a place to stay is definitely important and there are many things that must be taken into account when looking for a place to live.
First of all, you must take note of how many other people are looking for a place as well. You should never underestimate the demand for an apartment. I remember when a few friends and I were looking for an apartment together for the following year in December. We barely got one, and our lease renewal deadline the following year was by Halloween. So if you’re looking for an apartment now, don’t count on being able to secure your first choice spot. Apartments tend be taken faster than one might think.
Of course, another major factor is the cost. First of all, keep in mind that fancier units cost more. For an apartment, you’ll usually be given the choice of having it furnished or unfurnished. While having the unit already furnished saves you the time and money of buying your own furniture, it will add a good amount of money to your monthly rent.
Another thing to consider is how close to campus you’re planning to be. A news article by Drew Howard talks about the cost of living off-campus to rise this upcoming fall. According to this article, housing director Andy Beachnau has reported that living closer to campus will increase the cost of living in that unit. With that being said, a possible alternative for some people might be to consider commuting if they live close enough. With so many people attending Grand Valley and living over an hour away, it might be beneficial to allow them the opportunity to live closer to campus. Think about it: if someone who lives in Grand Rapids also has an apartment in Allendale while someone from Lansing can’t find a place to live, that’s an unnecessary hindrance to their educational career. I’m not necessarily saying we have to conduct surveys about who comes from far away and doesn’t have a place to live. I know it’s first come first serve with finding a unit, but if you are someone who happens to live within about a half hour driving distance, there’s definitely a reason to consider making a sacrifice if your situation allows it.
Another thing you should be aware of when looking for a unit is who you’re signing up to live with. We all want to live with someone we’re friends with and can hang out with, and it’s great if it works out that way. However, things don’t always work out the way you want them to. If you end up living with people you haven’t met, get to know them a bit. They may not be people you’ll grow close to, but if you all at least know and respect each other, it’ll make the your “home” life a lot easier.
Finding a place to live is always a big deal, and there’s often complications like cost and availabilities that don’t make it any easier. Just keep these things in mind if you’re considering living on or off campus for next year.