…or is there?

The same process of elimination that occurs when picking your program or school of choice should also apply when deciding where to live and what situation is ideal in order to meet your goals.

Some questions that should be considered before a decision is made:

  • What type of environment will contribute to my academic success?
  • What do I want to gain personally from my experience at McMaster?
  • What kind of encounters do I need in order to grow from my time at school?
  • What type of financial situation do I want to be in while in school?
  • To what extent am I prepared to accept debt in order to accomplish these goals?

When assessing housing options, the following criteria can be used to help make the right choice: finances, time and personal reasons.

Finances

Living at Home Renting off Campus Living on Campus
  • The cheapest option if you reside in the Hamilton area
  • Parents may help support you by allowing you live at home for free
  • Eliminates paying for rent, utilities, renters insurance and food
  • If you decide to drive to school, make sure you’re aware of McMaster’s parking rates
  • Responsible for monthly rent, utilities, renters insurance and parking
  • If not furnished, responsible for buying furniture and renting a truck for move in/out
  • If you decide to drive to school, make sure you’re aware of McMaster’s parking rates
  • Residence costs between $5000-$8000/year
  • Meal plans are required and range from $2000-$3000/year
  • Different housing and meal plan options are available
  • Furniture is provided in residence; decreasing costs associated with moving

Time

Living at Home Renting off Campus Living on Campus
  • Living arrangements are already figured out – no time spent looking for housing
  • How long is the commute? Will this impact extra-circular involvement or study time
  • How long is the commute? Will this impact extra-circular involvement or study time
  • Time spent finding suitable housing and dealing with landlords
  • May need to work part-time to cover additional expenses
  • Living arrangements are already figured out – no time spent looking for housing
  • Closest proximity to classrooms, libraries, sports, entertainment and events
  • May need to work part-time to cover additional expenses

Personal

Living at Home Renting off Campus Living on Campus
  • Communication is needed between student and parent(s) to verify expectations and reach compromise
  • Less stress due to decreased expenses
  • May feel less connected to life on-campus
  • Responsibility for mediating the needs of others if you have roommates and greater self-responsibility (cooking, attending class, etc…)
  • Ability to pick your own roommates
  • Check out the Off Campus Resource Centre for additional resources
  • Residence staff there to provide support
  • Roommates are picked for you
  • Meals are supplied through the meal plan – dietary restrictions need to be considered

All these options have pros and cons. What’s important is that you choose the option that best meets your needs at the time. Remember, decisions that you make in first year about where you choose to live may change as you continue in your academic studies.

Oh the places you’ll go!