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How To Have A College Apartment Not Look Like A College Apartment

Off-campus housing tends to be a more budget-friendly living option for students than living on-campus. Not only that, but when you choose to live in an apartment or house off-campus, you’ll have more space and freedom than when you lived in the dorms. The drawback to college apartments and houses is that they can be a little run down – by that, we mean that the walls have seen some things. But hey, living in a beat-up rental is kind of a part of the college experience.

Just because you can’t afford to rent a swanky apartment or house near campus doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to make your rental your own. Without further adieu, here are a few tips on ways you can make your college apartment not look like a college apartment.

Tip #1: Buy a plant (or two)

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Greek Rankings: Top Schools For Fraternities and Sororities – 2021
The Sigma Nu Fraternity house at Ole Miss. (Flickr)
The Sigma Nu Fraternity house at Ole Miss. (Flickr)

We’ve all seen movies like Neighbors or the iconic Animal House that instantly has us thinking that the only things sororities and fraternities do are throw wild house parties for hundreds of students to attend. Visions of drunk college kids chugging beers and kids swimming in pools while the DJ spins music loud enough for neighbors down the block to hear dance in our heads, however, these movies aren’t entirely factual. Duh.

The Greek community is way more than what movies have us picturing in our heads. To some universities, maybe, Greek life isn’t much at all, while on other campuses Greek Life plays an integral role in not just a student’s college years but for their entire life. Going Greek is a part of being something bigger than yourself. Your college years build memories that last a lifetime. Belonging in the Greek community gives undergraduates an unforgettable experience where students can work with their brothers and sisters to form lasting impressions on one another and the community. Not for just now, but for the future.

Here at College Pads, we decided to create a list of our top 20 picks for Best Greek Life On Campus. How’d we do it? We took the top Greek lists from Niche, The Princeton Review, University Primetime, and Best College Reviews and compiled a list of all of the universities mentioned in those articles. From that list, we only used schools that had over 10,000 students where at least 15% of the student body were Greek members; then we averaged those out to create our points system.

Best Greek Life Colleges – 2021 Greek Rankings

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7 Practical College Budgeting Tips

College is already a stressful enough time without having to sweat about every little expense. The biggest thing you can do to make sure you’re not stressed out about money every month is to set up a budget.

Here are 7 tips for setting up a budget in college:

Tip #1: Be Honest With Yourself

Sometimes the hardest part about figuring out your budget is telling yourself the honest truth. Maybe you have the tendency to splurge on something that you probably shouldn’t. Calculate that in because you can tell yourself that you aren’t gonna go for it next time but you can never be certain. It’s best to just know how your budget looks with that expense. If you’re feeling really ambitious, calculate your budget both ways.

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Moving Tips For New Or Experienced Renters

Whether it’s your first time, or you’ve done it like a thousand times before (no judgment), you should know that it’s totally normal to not know what you’re doing. Sure, you may have a general idea of what’s supposed to go where, but if you aren’t careful, everyone involved is going to end up tired, sweaty, and disappointed.

Lucky for you, we have just the tips to help make your next move easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Without further adieu, here are our tips for things you can do to make moving into your place easier (*if you don’t have one yet, check out this post about what to look for in your first apartment).


First Base – Kiss The Mess Goodbye

Whether you consider yourself a “neat freak” or your friends/family members have submitted you to the show Hoarders, you need to clean up your current situation. Until you start trying to deep clean your current place, you won’t realize how much junk you’ve accumulated in the last few months. Do yourself a favor and start your cleaning early. Not only will this help make your move easier, but it’ll also help reduce the chances of losing a chunk of your security deposit for a cleaning fee. For more tips on how to save your security deposit, click here.

Pro tip: If you haven’t worn or used the item in question, donate it, sell it, or toss it.

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First apartment checklist. List includes first apartment essentials you'll need at your apartments by category. Categories include: kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, general cleaning supplies, and uncategorized necessities. First Apartment Checklist For New Renters

When you move into your first apartment, there are so many items to remember that you are bound to forget something small or large, yet essential. A good way to avoid having to head back to the store three or four times that first weekend you move in? Make a new apartment checklist. Or, just use ours! Our first apartment checklist has everything you need, sorted out by the rooms you’ll need to be populating with new stuff.

Download our first apartment checklist image above and print it out when you head to the store this August.

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Walking Home At Night On Campus? Here’s A Few Safety Tips To Do It Safer.

Whether you just pulled an allnighter at the library or a bar downtown with your new fake ID (no judgment – we’ve all done it), getting yourself home safely is a must. One of the best ways to get yourself home safely at night is to get someone you trust to escort you home. You can ask a close friend, or get a university escort (most universities offer free safe walk programs to students).

If you can’t find a friend to walk you home and don’t have time to wait for a university escort, follow the tips below to stay safe!

Safety Tips For Walking Home Alone:

Tip #1: Stay Focused

Don’t get distracted or off track. Your goal is to get home safely. If you hear a group nearby, don’t head off-track or see what’s going on. If you think you see something suspicious going on, make a note of what’s happening and where it is and call the police as soon as you get home.

Tip #2: Take Well Lit Routes

Don’t take shortcuts through dark alleys or parks because they’ll get you home quicker. Stay in well-lit areas where you can be more aware of your surroundings.

Tip #3: Don’t Talk On The Phone At Night

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Talking on the phone gives us a sense of comfort because it feels like we’re not alone anymore, but it also limits our ability to be aware of what’s going on around us.

Tip #4: Use A Safety App

If you’re going to be walking home from a party or a bar at the end of the night, even if it’s just a short walk, you should use one of the many apps invented to keep you safe in this scenario. These apps allow your friends or family to track your whereabouts until you arrive home safely or they sound alarms if there’s been a change in your walking patterns. They make calling for help easy and give you a little more reason to feel secure. Here are a few safety app suggestions:

Do you have any safety tips or apps that you think should be added to the list? Comment below!

UT- Austin Apartments & Neighborhoods Guide

The University of Texas at Austin is home to more than 50,000 students which often can feel like a city in itself. If you’re in need of off-campus housing near UT-Austin, becoming familiar with the different neighborhoods in Austin will help to determine which neighborhood will be the best fit for you, along with knowing how far your commute to the UT-Austin campus will be.

To help make your search for UT-Austin off-campus housing and apartments in Austin a little easier, we at College Pads put together a list of neighborhoods that are near the University of Texas at Austin campus. While these aren’t all of the neighborhoods in Austin, they are the most popular amongst students. Each of these neighborhoods is within walking distance to campus, or just a short bike, car, or bus ride (free to all UT students) away.

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We’ll Tell You What Your Tenants Want, What They Really, Really Want.

Whether you own a condominium, duplex, single-family home, or a huge purpose-built apartment complex, all landlords share the same goal: to keep your units full and maximize profits. But finding the right mix of cost minimization while increasing resale value and growing rents isn’t easy. One of the more obvious ways to achieve this goal is to make a few rental property updates. 

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College Students and the COVID Thanksgiving Break Dilemma
College Pads surveyed students at campuses nationwide to see what will happen after Thanksgiving break.

Prior to popup testing centers, business closures, and mask mandates – one of the most pivotal changes to occur in response to the coronavirus pandemic was universities transitioning to remote learning late in the Spring 2020 semester. Many students held out hope that the coronavirus would be gone by the following semester and things would go back to normal. 

Things did not go back to normal.

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5 Reasons Thanksgiving Is The Actual Worst

For some students, Thanksgiving break is thought to be a time to enjoy family, catch up with old friends, and enjoy some free food. While the idea of going home to celebrate the holiday with family sounds like a good idea at first, with the way everything is nowadays, it may be a good idea to skip traveling and have a small Thanksgiving feast with your roommates.

If you need another reason to stay home this year other than the pandemic, here are 5 reasons that Thanksgiving break is the actual worst.

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Why Pictures Of Your Listings Are So Important

When you think about it, getting a prospective student tenant’s attention comes down to just a few seconds. Today’s world is a quite hectic one, and in the world of smartphones and the internet, students are scrolling and sifting through rental listings in just a matter of moments. Just as quickly as someone can stumble upon your listing, they can stop looking at an even quicker pace. When students have the power to search through hundreds of listings with the swipe of one finger, it’s important to make a good first impression. As the old adage goes, pictures really do say a thousand words, and whether or not you realize it, including quality photos of your rental property can really make or break your odds of leasing it out. 

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