Category Archives: College Life

How to Survive Your First Off-Campus Living Experience

If you’re coming off your freshman year, chances are you’ve learned how to survive the communal living experience (nightmare) they call the dorms. From loud neighbors, clingy roommates, and overcrowded bathrooms, you’ll have some of your best and worst times in the dorms.

Hopefully you’ve made it past that and you’re ready for your first taste of freedom living off campus. Whatever year you’re in, keep in mind the struggle is still real when you live off campus… it’s just different. You’ll have to learn how to fend for yourself for things like food, laundry, and there’s no longer staff to clean your bathroom. We at College Pads have lived it all, from dorms to dingy houses and even “high class” student apartments, so we put together some tips on how to survive your first year living off campus.

Pick the right place

Typical College ApartmentGranted, the typical college housing charm is inevitable to come with almost every student rental unit in existence, but make sure this is the right place for you. We’ve laid it all out in place, so why not set up showings at multiple places? Pick the area you want to live, whether that’s close to campus or within stumbling distance from your favorite bar. Make sure to get a walkthrough and make your decision after you’ve seen a few places that you like. That being said, remember that no place will be perfect… it’s just got to be perfect for you.  

Document everything before you move in

You’ll thank me when you get your security deposit back. Take photos and write down absolutely everything that you don’t want to get charged for when your lease is up. As long as you’ve taken care of this in the beginning, you won’t have to pay for any damage you didn’t create. Also, try not to burn the place down. This might be your apartment for your entire college career, or only a year, but treat it like it’s your own.

Pre-plan with your upcoming roommates

As cool as it may seem to have 4 TVs in the living room, and 3 couches, and 3 coffee tables… space will be limited. Make a checklist (or just use ours) to ensure you have all the appliances and furnishings you need without duplicates. Moving stuff is a hassle, so you should try to only do it once.
For advice on moving, check out our moving tips post.

A clean home is a happy home

Kitchen for College KidsYour parents will probably buy you a ton of cleaning supplies at the beginning of the year, try to actually use those. Keeping a clean house might not be the most fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon, but it will minimize the amount of time you spend sick in bed. And make sure you always have a clean pair of underwear.

Find a perfect balance for food in the fridge

Refrigerator full of college student foodBuy food in advance so you’re not overdoing it on Chik-Fil-A and McDonalds every night, sure you might love it now but your body will thank you later. Make several meals at once and freeze them, it’s like the fast food you can keep in your home. Of course, you can’t buy too much and hog all the room in the fridge, so work together with your roommates to find a healthy balance.

Pay your rent on time

Late fees are real, and nobody likes paying extra money the didn’t have to. Same goes for utilities, if you let these slide they will come back and haunt you one day.

Don’t be afraid of the maintenance man

That apartment of yours doesn’t come cheap. Don’t be afraid to call the landlord whenever necessary to make sure everything is in working order.

Keep the peace

Whether you end up liking it or not, you’ll have to live with those roommates of yours until at least the end of the year. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to speak up when you have an issue. Passive aggressive notes will only get you so far and an open line of communication will help make sure everyone is on the same page. Don’t be afraid of conflict, but don’t create it just for fun. Be mindful of your roommates and expect them to be mindful of you.

Be responsible

Those all night ragers are fun, I can’t lie to you. But keep in mind why you’re paying so much money to be in school and live in your totally awesome off campus apartment. Go to class, study hard, take care of your mental and physical health, but remember it’s okay to take breaks, sleep in, and have fun safe and responsibly. You won’t have an RA keeping you in check every night, so enjoy your freedom, but enjoy it wisely.

How Off-Campus Housing Is Changing During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Students are scrambling to find off-campus housing for next semester, more than what you’d usually expect to see over summer break. That’s not because they’ve put off finding housing until the very last minute, but because colleges across the United States have slowly started to announce their plans to reopen campus for the fall semester following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While there are still a ton of universities holding off on officially announcing whether classes will be held on-campus or online next semester until mid-July, it’s safe to assume that most college campuses’ plans to reopen will include adjustments to how many students can attend in-person classes at once and other plans to limit large groups. While the possibility of getting out of their on-campus living requirement may be a welcome change for some students, it will also mean that landlords should be ready for a possible flood of inquiries from potential student renters. 

To get a better feel for what that’s like, we spoke with the Chief Operating Officer of DABCO Property Management near Washington State University to figure out exactly what this pandemic has and will mean for them. 

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How to Avoid Rental Scams

From Telemarketing scams, identity theft, to credit and debit card fraud we’ve all heard horror stories about scams, or even worse, fallen victim. Rental scams are prevalent across the nation and first-time student renters looking for off-campus housing are especially vulnerable to fraudsters because they often communicate with landlords and lack experience when it comes to renting.

College Pads surveyed hundreds of students across campuses nationwide and found that many students have encountered an online rental scam when looking for off-campus housing near their university.

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How To Stay Productive While Taking Online Classes

When you first were told your courses would be moved to an online forum, you were probably thinking it’d be super great to work from home. You’d be simultaneously listening to a lecture while also rewatching an old episode of The Office on Netflix. 

As Admiral Ackbarr from Return of the Jedi once said: “It’s a trap”.  And that’s because working remotely is … or it can be. There are so many different obstacles to working remotely that will get in the way of your productivity. 

This is why we created a list of steps you can take to stay productive while taking online classes.

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10 Campuses With SUPER HIGH Rents for Students

After doing a year or two of hard time in the medium security correctional facility commonly referred to as “on-campus living”, students are itching for the freedom of living off-campus. No rules. No RA’s. No more shuffling down the hall in a towel to your room after a shower. Just freedom. But that freedom comes at a price: Rent.

While living off-campus is traditionally cheaper than living on-campus, that doesn’t mean that by choosing to live off-campus you’ll suddenly be paying thousands less in living expenses and start living like someone from Fancy Living Digest. What it actually means is that you’ll be paying a little less than you would in the dorms, but you’ll have more freedoms (and responsibilities).

Unfortunately for students across the nation, the cost of college is rising 8 times faster than the cost of wages (yikes) which makes paying for rent increasingly more difficult. Sure, there are a ton of ways to make sure you don’t end up having to sell a kidney (or two) to pay for next semester’s rent, like keeping what’s important in mind when you’re looking for your next place – I.e., lazy rivers, 24-hour fitness centers, indoor something-ball courts, and personal masseuses are not necessary amenities to have in your next rental.

However, when you attend any of our 10 campuses with super high rents, you’re going to be stuck.

  1. California State, Long Beach
  2. California State, Fullerton
  3. Rutgers University
  4. University of Michigan
  5. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  6. Cornell University
  7. University of Delaware
  8. Western Washington University
  9. University of Arizona
  10. Penn State University 

While there are hundreds of different factors leading up to why these schools have the most expensive average rent prices for student renters, the main factors that affect the cost of rent include: Enrollment, Luxury Apartments, School Prestige, and Vacancy Rate. So let’s dive into the reasons why each campus is so expensive.

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The Diminishing Value of a Degree

What’s the value of a degree? It’s tough to say exactly, but it certainly isn’t what it once was.

The message of necessity with regard to college is reinforced from the first day of elementary school to high school graduation. You must go to college. Without a college degree, you’ll be in trouble. It still holds true that college graduates typically have more earning power than those who don’t graduate college, but the rate of return on a degree isn’t what it once was.

Nationally, the cost of education is rising far faster than the expected salary of college graduates. Hear recent grads complaining about their loans? The complaints are only going to get louder and extend longer given the current trend.

No one denies that tuition and fees have exploded over the past decade. Every state is fighting the same battle.

We analyzed tuition and fees at four-year public schools nationally against the median salary for college graduates and found a troubling trend. Students are paying far more for their degrees without the same rate of return on salary once they graduate. We found the percentage of tuition and fees against the expected salary after graduation in 2005 and then compared it to 2015. Below is a reflection of the change in the percentage of tuition and fees over that 10-year span.
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Brr, It’s Cold in Here: 5 Hacks to Stay Warm and Lower Your Winter Heating Bill

If your guests have been asking you if you’re hiding the Toros cheer team from Bring it On somewhere in your house or apartment, it’s probably time to start considering winterizing your rental because seriously – BRRR it’s cold in here!

All great awful movie references aside, if you’re tired of spending an arm and a leg on trying to heat your place, you need to try a few of these simple hacks to keep your rental warm while lowering your winter heating bill.

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The College Ramen Diet: How To Your Ramen Less Boring

If your meal prep is assigning 21 different packets of ramen as your weekday and weekend breakfast, lunch, and dinner…. you’re probably a broke college student. Or a recently divorced dad. Either way, you’re definitely looking for a quick bite that won’t break the bank. Unfortunately, having ramen for every meal can get pretty boring pretty fast. But what if we told you that ramen doesn’t have to be boring?

Here are the 5 steps to better ramen:

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5 Simple Ways To Reduce Stress

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

If you’re not stressed out about something, are you even in college? Stress is a natural part of life – a little stress can be helpful when it comes to kicking yourself into high gear to complete a big project or paper. Too much stress can overwhelm though, preventing you from focusing on getting one task done because you’re too worried you won’t get anything done. 

But there’s good news – there’s a lot you can do that will cut down your stress levels! If you integrate a few of the tips below, you’re sure to reduce your stress almost instantly.
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What Majors Would The Stranger Things Cast Choose?

Summer is in full swing, the Fourth of July is on the horizon, and we can practically taste the sweet, sweet nostalgia of a Bomb Pop and Summer Break. But the cast of Stranger Things is growing up fast, and while saving Hawkins from an impending Sci-Fi apocalypse might seem like the only thing on the priority list, it might be time to put some real thought into what the future holds, and what majors they should choose when it’s finally time to leave the nest and forge their own paths in college—that is, if the town hasn’t been completely overrun by the forces at work.

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