Saturday, June 29, 2013

Living Off of Campus while at UT Tyler

After your freshman year, you will be faced with a very important choice; a choice that will affect the entirety of the rest of your college career.  The question? Should you continue to live on campus in dorms or should you move out on your own into an apartment or maybe even a house.  I hope that with this post I will be able to advise you a little bit and provide some firsthand experience with living on and off campus. 

 At the University of Texas at Tyler, all freshman are required to live on campus, so the only choice I had to make was whether or not I wanted to live at University Pines, Patriot Village, or in Ornelas Hall.  However, now that I am a sophomore, I no longer had to live on campus.  Thus, I decided to move out into the real world and I got myself an apartment.  

For those of you who will wish to follow in my footsteps, I warn you that there are many things that you may not think about while looking to live off campus.  For one, there are many things that will cost you a lot of money that you need to be prepared for.  For your benefit, here is a list of costs that you might have to pick up during your move:

1. Apartment Security Deposit - This can range from a small 50 dollar payment all the way to a whopping 400 dollar investment.  While you will definitely save money living off-campus, you will have to eat a couple more expensive payments in order to enjoy the full privilege of living off campus.

2. Electricity deposit - This is a similar principle as with the apartment security deposit.  Electricity companies want a way to know that you are good for a monthly payment.  This also will depend largely on what company you choose.  I had a friend who also happens to be a fellow blogger, Dallas, who had to pay 300 dollars just to get his electricity turned on.  However, it only cost me 150 dollars.  This will require much research, as you want to make sure you make the right decision. I know that this was definitely something that took me by surprise.

3. Electricity Bills - If you live at University Pines, then you will be somewhat used to paying for electricity each month.  Those who choose Patriot Village or Ornelas Hall, then you should begin budgeting money each month for electricity, as this will now eat up a lot of your monthly income.  These are also highly dependent upon which company you choose to use, but even more dependent upon your personal lifestyle.  If you are one to constantly leave lights on, then you will likely be paying more than someone who is careful to save every watt of electricity.

4. Water payments - This is the same as electricity.  No housing on campus makes you pay for water, so this will definitely be a new experience for anyone who moves from on-campus living to off-campus.  However, not all housing will charge you for water each month.  The apartment complex I live in does not force its residents to pay for water.  In the event that you do have to pay for water, the bill will also depend mostly on how you live.  If you leave the water running after you are through with it, then expect to have a high water bill.

5. Internet - If you lived at University Pines, then you will also be used to paying for your internet.  For those who lived at Patriot Village or Ornelas, then this will be a new experience for you as well.  Internet prices are largely dependent upon who you choose as your provider.  In Tyler, there aren’t a whole lot of options for internet.  I used Suddenlink, purchasing one of the higher levels of internet connectivity (30 mbps).  This alone cost 60 dollars a month.  In addition to this, I had to pay a $49.95 deposit just to turn the services on.  I almost had to pay another $49.95 installation fee, but I was fortunate to have someone point me in the direction of a coupon for free installation, so my first bill for internet only came out to about 120 dollars, as opposed to 169 dollars. 

As a disclaimer, remember that this is not everything that you need to be looking out for as you move out on your own, but this list is a good start.  I thoroughly enjoy living off campus.  For one, I feel more independent.  It is kind of cool to come home to my own apartment.  Additionally, I no longer have to purchase things like a meal plan that I was required to buy while living on campus. 

However, there certainly are a couple of things that I will miss.  First of all, I will definitely miss the close proximity to campus.  I had a bad habit of sleeping until 2 or 3 minutes before my first class, but that was ok because my buildings were literally 2 or 3 minutes away from where I lived.

In addition to that, I will also kind of miss the dining dollars that I was required to purchase at the beginning of the year, as I will no longer have an easy way to buy things from the on-campus dining facilities, but that is the least of my worries. 

All things considered, I don’t regret moving off campus, in fact, I love the community that I moved into.  However, I definitely still have some adjusting to do.  My advice to anyone considering a move into an off-campus apartment, consider heavily costs that you will incur during and even after you finish up moving, and if finances are a problem, then you might consider waiting a little bit before you make a decision.

For any additional advice, check this out.

Also, if you want some tips on how to stay cool during the summer check out one of our previous blogs by Patrick Saikin!


jonny manson said...

Well worded, Extremely helpful article
Thanks a lot for posting such great information.

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