Dorm to Apartment Transition

Say goodbye to cramped double dorm rooms, communal bathrooms, and not having a kitchen….it’s time to move off campus! Many colleges around the country only guarantee on campus housing for the first year or two, leaving you to find your own place off campus once you become an upperclassman. Leasing an apartment can be intimidating – what with deciding on roommates, finding an actual place, and finally signing the lease. However, once you’ve ticked off these items, you’re ready to being your transition to (semi)real life!

rusts apartment

Gone are the helpful and overly-friendly R.A’s. Gone are the convenient walks from your dorm to class. Gone are the days of sharing a room with your snoring roommate! Say hello to paying rent, cleaning the bathroom, and buying groceries! Here are a few of our top tips and rules to help make this transition as smooth as can be:

Paying Rent: Rule #1 don’t be late.

Rule #2? DON’T BE LATE!

Sure, we know this is pretty basic, but it’s also a rule that’s easily forgotten! Come the first of the month, you and your roommates don’t want be scrambling. Have the discussion early on with your roommates about how you’ll be splitting the rent, and what the process for paying will be.

Getting to Class: If you’re going to school in a city and your new apartment is more than a twenty minute walk from campus, it might be time to look into public transport. Many cities will offer a student deal for a train or bus pass and it’s definitely worth researching. If you live in a college town or just on a large campus, make sure you have easy access to your school’s infrastructure for getting to class on time. Take the days before classes start to make a couple practice runs to campus and really gauge how long it will take you get there on time. 

Key words here: “on time”.


Scout the Neighborhood: Take a walk around your new neighborhood and check out what’s nearby! Look for a convenient grocery store where you can buy your food, a pharmacy for when you need medicine, a public laundromat for your clothes, a branch of the bank you use and, of course, know where the nearest Post Office is….you never know when you may have to send a care package!

Moving in: While some lucky apartments will come furnished, most college apartments will need to be stocked up on furniture so you can live fairly comfortably. You’ll also need to acquire all those ‘real life’ items your mom always had on hand…but you never thought to actually buy. From cooking supplies to cleaning products – and even a first aid kit – you can’t go wrong with investing in these basics!

Roommates: While chances are that you’ve had roommates before, those situations have been controlled, with far fewer responsibilities to divvy up. It’s best to have the hard and (sometimes) awkward discussions early in the semester so you all have a better understanding of how you’ll live together! Set some ground rules with your new roomies – everything from who buys the toilet paper and when, to who checks in with the landlord about any needed maintenance. These are all questions and issues you have to tackle in order to get by successfully through the year.

Written by Guest Blogger, Dan H. of Emerson College


Have you recently made the big move off campus? Tell us about your experience (good OR bad) and share pics with your new roomies and apartments on Instagram and Twitter @BNCollege


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