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Dorms vs. Apartments: Which Is Right for You?

Housing Tips
5 min
Uploaded on
Nov 22, 2023
Last updated on
Nov 22, 2023
Uploaded on
Nov 22, 2023
Last updated on
Nov 22, 2023
Dorms vs. Apartments: Which Is Right for You?
Dorm Drama or Apartment Goals!

As a student, getting into your dream university and learning your favourite subjects isn't the end of it. Studying overseas comes with a lot more factors, and finding the right accommodation is one of them. Where you live can significantly impact your overall college and university experience, which is why you must make the right decision!

In this blog, we delve into the details of apartments vs dorms, dissecting the pros and cons and the types that students can choose from. So, whether you're a fresher stepping into a new life phase or a seasoned student looking for a change, this blog's got you covered when choosing between dorms vs apartments. 

Dorms vs Apartments: Key Differences

Living in a dorm can be very different from apartment living. The first step in choosing between an apartment vs dorm is to know the differences between the two accommodation types, such as style of living, proximity, and costs. Have a look at some of the key differences between dorms vs apartments, which can help you make your decision with more ease. 

1. The distinction between dorms vs apartments is that a dorm is a single room, with or without an attached bathroom, while apartments are usually more than one room and always have their own bathroom and kitchen area. 

2. Dorms are usually communal, which can build a great sense of community and belonging. Living in an apartment, on the other hand, can teach independence and responsibility. 

3. Dorms are located comparatively closer to the universities/colleges as it is sometimes mandatory, depending on the institution to live on-campus. Apartments are usually built further away from the institutions. 

4. In most cases, dorms are smaller in size compared to apartments. Apartments come in varied sizes but are generally larger than dorms.

5. Staying in a dorm may have a set of rules and regulations given by the institutions. Apartments come with a little more freedom as they are rented from private landlords instead. 

6. In regards to the rent, apartments are less expensive than dorms because the dorm provides all the essential furniture. An apartment may be furnished or unfurnished, which can be an additional cost. 

Living In A Dorm: Pros and Cons

Whether you opt for on-campus housing or off-campus accommodation, there are pros and cons to any type of living. For example, while the proximity to universities that comes with staying in a dorm may be appealing, the lack of privacy may be the downside to this. Let's have a look at some of the pros and cons of this! 


1. Strong sense of security, community, and belonging.

2. Ample opportunities for socialising.

3. Dorms are the ideal way to begin that journey into adulthood. Students will have a supportive network of resident assistants (RAs), counsellors, and other friendly staff to depend on.

4. Exposure to different cultures and people. 

5. The convenient location makes it easier for students to manage their time. 

6. Dorm rooms are equipped with features students need to succeed, and community amenities are tailored to students including quiet study rooms and fast Internet speeds. 


1. With so many people around you, there is always the inconvenience of a lot of noise and distractions surrounding you. 

2. Not having enough privacy is one of the biggest cons of dorm living. 

3. Laundry issues and bathroom accessibility are another massive concern while living in a dorm. The bathrooms are communal and laundry rooms are always occupied. 

4. A lack of personal space is a common issue faced by students living in dorms. You may not get as much alone time as you expect. 

5. Students living in dorms are expected to adhere to the rules and regulations in place strictly. 

6. There are also chances of theft and misplacement of belongings in a dorm environment. 

Apartment Living: Pros and Cons

Apartment living has its charm. Not only does it teach you a great deal of independence and responsibility, but it is also considered the best option for those who need their private space and time. But, just like dorm living, living in an apartment also comes with its own set of disadvantages and advantages. Let's have a look at some of the pros and cons of living in an apartment. Once you make your decision, you can find the various types and a checklist for off-campus student housing with our blog on the Ultimate Guide for International Student Housing.


1. Apartment living offers greater independence and privacy. 

2. There aren't any rules, other than standard rules put forth by landlords. 

3. A sense of responsibility is instilled in students, making them better citizens. 

4. Most apartments offer more flexibility in terms of cost, especially if shared with roommates.

5. There are a variety of options to choose from, depending on your preferences. 

6. Never have to worry about noise, disturbances, or distractions. 


1. Commuting is one of the biggest drawbacks of apartment living. You will have to figure out your mode of transportation. 

2. Selecting a roommate is also a concern. It can take months to find the right roommate!

3. The loneliness of living alone can get to you from time to time. 

4. Learning new responsibilities may be overwhelming for those not accustomed to independent living.

5. The cost of living in an apartment can be higher as compared to a dorm, as you will be responsible for paying your utility bills. 

6. The freedom to customise may depend on the landlord's policies, and in some cases, modifications may be limited.

Ultimately, the choice between apartment vs dorm boils down to personal preferences, lifestyle, and priorities. Each option has its own set of advantages and challenges, and understanding your own needs can help you make an informed decision between dorms vs apartments. 

Dorms vs Apartments: Cost Comparisons 

To solidify your decision between dorms vs apartments, another crucial factor to consider is the costs that are associated with living in a dorm and living in an apartment. The rent of living in a dorm can vary from college to college and the duration of the stay. On the other hand, the locality, type, and size of the apartment determine the rent for apartment living.

When it comes to living in a dorm at a university or college, the overall average cost for room and board in a four-year college or university is between $10,000 to $12,000 in the United States. You can read more about this in our blog on the cost of living in the USA as a student. Remember that the payment only covers the fall and spring semesters, not the summer. 

Living in an apartment, according to some reports, can save as less as approximately $600 per school year or as much as $6,000. But again, it all depends on the average cost of rent near the school, as well as the number of people sharing the apartment. When considering the costs of living in an apartment, remember that the average cost varies by location. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in New York City would cost around $3,780 per month. On the other hand, in Columbus, Ohio, the average rent would fall to $1,020

So, now that you have all the information you need regarding dorms vs apartments, you can make your decision faster and start your academic journey all prepared. While both accommodation options have their own set of pros and cons, we're sure that whichever option you choose to go with, you will surely have the time of your life! Also, we have a more detailed blog highlighting the difference between On-Campus VS Off-Campus Accommodation for more information! So go ahead and start deciding!

Frequently Asked Questions

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Dorms vs. Apartments: Which Is Right for You?
5 min
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