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On-campus housing is essential for freshman

Living on-campus is expensive, but it benefits freshmen enough to outweigh the cost.

The District on Apache pictured on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.
The District on Apache pictured on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.

High school graduation ushers in several important life questions, starting with whether or not you choose to go to college, and if you do, where you will live. Most four-year universities have on-campus housing and in turn enforce some sort of housing expectation for students. ASU encourages its students live on campus for at least one year unless they can prove extenuating circumstances to receive an exemption.

State Press Columnists Discuss On-Campus Living from The State Press on Vimeo.

Some ASU students will choose not to follow this suggestion, and many do so for financial reasons. I get it, living on campus isn’t cheap. However, living in general is not really ever “cheap.”

While you may be able to find less expensive housing, many students forget the cost of things like public laundry, personal Wi-Fi, cable, utilities, housing association fees, parking, transportation and lots of other expenses.

Counterpoint: ASU shouldn't force underclassmen to live in student housing

An exemption process is necessary for some students, and should be honored when financial situations or health circumstances cannot allow a student to practically live on campus.

Many students make off-campus housing work. Some live with their parents at home and others opt for roommates to save money.

However, there is still validity to ASU's housing policy, especially as a brand new college student.

First and foremost, “community” is absolutely unavoidable when living on campus. I cannot speak on behalf of other universities, but ASU is overwhelming in its effort to bring students together.

Not only do you likely have a roommate that you’re forced to (at least) be cordial with, but you are surrounded by hundreds of other new students in your building. There is value in “all being in the same boat” and certainly safety in numbers.

ASU also offers residential housing, which groups students with other people pursuing similar tracks. Different clubs, groups and general innovative ideas can be the product of living amongst people with like minds.

Statistically speaking, a study done at Brigham Young University showed that freshmen who live on campus tend to have higher first-year GPAs than those who don’t. Additionally, students who live elsewhere are twice as likely to have failing (below a 1.0) GPAs than those living on campus.

The GPA statistics allude to the idea that living on campus at first truly allows a student to focus on their college experience. Being fully immersed in the culture and community can lead to academic success and sufficient adaption to “adulthood.”

The general inclination of freshmen to avoid new and “scary” situations is opposed by the constant sense of community within the dorms, which may be annoying, but most of the time — it works.

Whether or not we like to admit it, with new friends comes great responsibility. Living on campus provides a good middle ground between being a full-blown adult and a high school student. Your resident assistant is not nearly as strict as your mom, but there is someone making sure you are following the rules and aren’t abusing your newfound freedoms. It’s not like students never break laws in the dorms, but the looming fear of getting caught can keep dangerous behaviors to a minimum.

Community and control combined creates an environment for new students that can be helpful in adjusting to life outside of your parents’ home.

Living on-campus encourages time management because while studies are most important, the social scene is always poppin’. As a student and as a member of a community, you will learn to balance social, work and educational lives whether you intend to or not.

Correction: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this article incorrectly explained ASU's housing policy.

Related Links:

After a long wait, Palo Verde Main dorm gets an upgrade

Lake Havasu campus acts as example of new ASU campus model

Reach the columnist at or follow @KPenningroth on Twitter.

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Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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