It’s a tough question everyone faces. Now that you’ve been accepted into a college, what next? Where will you be living during the next several years, as you prepare to enter the workforce but live on a tighter budget?

Here are a few quick tips!

Consider All Your Options

Sure, lots of people choose the “traditional” college life. Go straight to a 4-year university, live on-campus, and fully break away from your parents’ nest. But make sure to review all your options so you can make the most informed decision:

1. Community College – What if you spent the first two years of adulthood at a community college? You could save over $5K per year (or more!) on tuition alone.

2. Living with Family – Who says you have to move out of your parents’ house right away? If you want to potentially save thousands of dollars on rent, consider staying at your parents’ house for awhile, especially if it’s close to campus. (Just make sure they agree to it and figure out a fair rent situation.) Even if you have to commute 30-40 minutes a few days per week, you still could save a lot of money!

3. Live with Friends – Do you have any friends that are going to the same college? Consider the pros and cons of rooming together – it could save you from having to live with a total stranger.

4. Consider Your Network – Do you happen to be connected with any groups or social organizations (such as a school club or a church) that might have housing options for you while you’re in college? If so, look into it! Oftentimes if you have the right connection, you can get a good deal on rent.

5. Living Off Campus – The closer you live to campus, the more your rent will likely cost. So, consider finding an apartment off-campus. It might be a bummer to have to drive, but it could save you a lot in the long run.

What Qualities Do You Want in a Roommate?

“Familiarity breeds contempt,” as the old saying goes. There’s so much you don’t know about a person until you live with them (even if you’ve known them for years). So, it’s impossible to be completely sure that a roommate situation will work out until you’re in it.

Still, you should think in advance about what types of qualities you want in a roommate. Do you want to be close friends with those you live with, or do you want to lead separate lives? Do you want someone who goes to bed at certain times, so the noise won’t keep you up? How much does cleanliness matter to you? Do you mind living in a co-ed housing arrangement? Are you open to a roommate who brings lots of friends over, or do you prefer the house to be quiet?

Make sure to consider all these things before you start looking for a housing situation, so that you can ask the right questions when you meet prospective roommates.

Use Social Networks

The Internet is a powerful tool, so make sure to use it! There are lots of places online where you can find roommates. You can try posting on Facebook or Instagram, asking if anyone you know is looking for a roommate at the college you’re going to. You can even search for a Facebook group for people looking for housing.

A couple more options include Craigslist (look for housing listings in the city of your college), or roommate matching apps. Here’s a list of great apps to help you in your search!

On-Campus or Greek Life

If nothing else, you can always choose to live on-campus! In fact, some colleges even require this if you’re a Freshman. One upside of this arrangement is that the university will often match you with a roommate if you can’t find anyone.

Or, consider Greek Life! (Fraternities or sororities). Often, these can be a great place to make connections with lots of your peers, and to better your college experience. Consider checking out your school’s website to see what Greek Life options are available.

It might take a little time to find the best housing situation, so start early! Compare your options so that you can find the best balance of pricing and distance to campus.

Check out this article on how to set up your apartment!