Housing for college students: a contrast/comparison essay

Housing for college students: a contrast/comparison essay

Being a college student opens up many opportunities for the individual. In the same manner, an assortment of decisions have to made, particularly where to live while studying. This paper will talk about three of the most common options available: living at home, renting a single apartment or renting a house with a group of friends. It is vital to discuss such topic because the environment where the student chooses to live will significantly affect his/her ability to succeed in college. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and an attempt to compare and contrast the three will be made as it would be very useful if each choice’s benefits as well as its drawbacks be weighed against each other.

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On a financial perspective, the best choice would obviously be living at home with one’s parents, as it does not require additional budget for renting out. The only expense that would be added to the finances would be the commuting expense, which would be comparably lower than renting out either alone or with friends. Staying at home would also be a source of stability for the student, having to face the new challenges of college life, it is best that the parents are always around for emotional support. Staying at home would also have the advantage of not being away from old neighborhood friends all the time. It helps the student cope with college life if there are friends who have been around for long. On the flip side, students who stay at home with their parents has been observed to have less exposure on campus extra-curricular activities, because of certain restrictions that has to be followed at home. Likewise, living with the parents can be somehow smothering at times, seeing that the parents are almost always around to monitor the student’s movements.

As for choosing to rent a house with a group of friends, this alternative will be financially viable for the finances of the college student, since only a small amount will have to be contributed to the group in order to rent a house outside the campus and away from the parents. This would mean independence without the costs entailed by renting an apartment on one’s own. Additionally, the fun of being in the company of friends adds to the desirability of this alternative. This would be an excellent way to find one’s way in college life through the support of friends that live with the student. Chores would be minimal, since everyone would have his/her fair share of work. However, a very obvious drawback is the lack of adult supervision, which could be potentially detrimental to one’s studies, since no one in authority will push the student to do his/her homework when it needs to be done. Understandably, this option would require a very huge amount of discipline on the student’s part, primarily the strength to say no to peer pressure. Also, conflicts between the friends may arise, and the house would not be a pleasant place to live in if that happens, which might affect the student’s studies as well.

Lastly, the option of live alone and rent a single apartment, the cost would obviously be high, unlike in the “living with parents” alternative. Extra expenses have to be shouldered by the parents on a semestral basis, unless the student has part time job and can provide partially or fully for him or herself. There would also be higher chances of feeling isolated since the student would be left to one’s own devices most of the time, and the sudden independence might be overwhelming, especially for freshmen. Everything has to be done by the student alone, including household chores that the student may not be used to doing on a daily basis. On the other hand, living alone means having the freedom to do what one pleases. Independence is a valued possession for some (Hendry and Kloep 96), and this case of renting a single apartment would be most appropriate. It would also mean the chance to learn how to budget for oneself.

Overall, the aforementioned choices laid down in this paper just prove that there are always two sides of the coin. One cannot choose a perfect alternative, as there is no such thing. It is thus up to the individual to choose an option to which disadvantages he/she could live with. Ultimately, it depends on the personality of the student who makes the choice.


Hendry, Leo and Marion Kloep. Lifespan Development. Bedford Row, London: Thomson Learning, 2002.

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