Deciding where to live during college is an important decision. Whether you choose to live on-campus or in off-campus housing, there will be pros and cons to both. Living on-campus can mean you don't have to commute to your college or cook your own dinner. However, schools charge a hefty price for on-campus living. Affordable housing for international students can be found just outside your campus!

Choosing to live in off-campus housing can be a bold move. However, as an international student looking for an apartment in a new country, you may need some assistance to get started. Let's discuss the pros and cons of off-campus housing for international students and everything you need to know about renting a place of your own.

Off-campus housing for international students: pros and cons

The Pros Of Off-Campus Housing

  1. Space: International students renting apartments have the freedom to select the place they live based on the space they require.

  2. Independence: A part of growing up is learning to live by yourself and managing your resources. Off-campus housing allows you to learn to live independently.

  3. Privacy: International students renting apartments have better privacy than those living on-campus as they don't have to share rooms and common areas.

  4. Freedom to move: International students renting apartments have the freedom to move from one home to another.

  5. Save money: Living off-campus can be cheaper than getting a school dorm. You also get to choose the roommate of your choice, split the rent, and save money!

The Cons Of Living Off-Campus

  1. Far from school: your off-campus housing may be far from school, which can be inconvenient if you spend a lot of time on campus.

  2. Commuting troubles: International students renting apartments have to add commuting costs into their budget. If there's a lack of public transportation in your neighborhood, relying on ride share can be costly!

  3. FOMO: Living off-campus can make you feel FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) as you may miss certain experiences that only come with on-campus living.

Different options for international students renting apartments

International students renting apartments have several off-campus housing options. Let's discuss each of them!

Renting your own off-campus housing

This is the most expensive option. The advantages are you get to live alone and have maximum privacy. However, you need to put down a security deposit and have a guarantor to sign your lease. We'll discuss what a guarantor is below!

Renting with roommates

International students renting apartments with roommates can share their rent and utility fees. It's a great option if the rent is hefty; however, you'll have less privacy, and there could be rent issues if the other roommates can't pay.

Work to cover Rent

Off-campus housing for international students can sometimes be paid by working out a deal with your landlord where you do part-time work for them. The landlord deducts rent in exchange for work done. This could mean looking after their pets or maintaining their lawn. However, this is an uncommon arrangement and additional work can burden study schedules.

Off-Campus University Housing

Some schools offer off-campus housing at lower rent and proximity to campus. These apartments abide by school housing rules. They're usually reserved for grad students or students with spouses or children.

Get a guarantor to help you out!

As an international student renting an apartment, you won't have a credit score or the financial requirements needed to fulfill the landlord's requirements. However, a guarantor can help you out!

A guarantor is usually a parent or friend who legally agrees to pay the rent to the landlord when you default. They sign the lease on your behalf and agree to all the terms of the lease. They must also meet specific criteria set by the landlord to sign the lease for you.

If you don't have relatives living in the US, you can get a third-party guarantor like The Guarantors to sign the lease for you!

Documentation required to rent Off-Campus Housing

Be sure to have these documents ready to submit when applying for off-campus housing:

  • Completed rental application

  • Passport or any ID

  • The acceptance letter from your college

  • A letter of employment if you work on-campus or off-campus

  • Scholarships/funding documents from your college or external organizations

  • Previous month's bank statement

  • Letter of recommendation

If living in college dorms is not for you, living off-campus can be a great alternative for international students, with plenty of freedom and privacy.