Live, Laugh, Love on Campus

Don’t miss out on one of the best parts of the college experience! Here are five reasons why living on campus is the best.

By Katie Johnson '19, content specialist

January 09, 2023 | 10:30 a.m.

Hands down one of the best parts of living on campus is the friends students make in their dorms.

Hands down one of the best parts of living on campus is the friends students make in their residence halls.

Living on campus is a hallmark of the Bethel experience. The memories made during roommate study sessions or floor movie nights are rather priceless, especially since college represents a distinct time of life—one that lasts only for a season. As students figure out who they are, who they’re meant to be, and how to live on their own—it’s helpful to embark on that journey with a community of roommates, friends, and resident assistants invested in one another’s personal growth and safety. Living on campus is one of the best ways for students to form those meaningful relationships, to grow in their faith, and to be part of a community unlike any other. 

After all, how else will students stumble across a pickup game of basketball, bond over their favorite Dining Center meals, or nap between classes? 

In all seriousness, here are five solid reasons why living on campus is the best.

#1 Living on campus saves money.

We see your side-eye and skepticism. But it’s true! Living on campus does, in fact, save money. According to a comparative assessment the Bethel Residence Life team conducted last fall, total cost for living on campus is $9,800 per academic year, which includes housing costs and a meal plan. Comparatively, living with four housemates off campus averages $11,000 per person per academic year, which includes the cost of gas, furniture, groceries, utilities, security deposits, etc. While there are always exceptions, it’s helpful to note that the assumption that living off-campus is cheaper is just that—an assumption, one that is not necessarily true and should not be taken for granted.

Additionally, living on campus saves time, and some people say time is money. The commute time adds up over the months—especially in the winter—and that’s time students can spend doing homework, studying for exams, exercising, connecting with pals, and even sleeping. Meal prepping, cooking, and buying groceries also consumes time, money, and mental energy as students care for themselves and their bodies. It can also be challenging to account for the time between classes depending on a student’s schedule. Living on campus makes it easier to manage one’s time between classes, practices, work shifts, rehearsals, student activities, club meetings, and all the other big and small things that happen during a typical day at college.

Students who lived in Nelson Hall showed their dorm pride during Bethel's Homecoming 2022 Cheer Night.

Students who lived in Nelson Hall showed their dorm pride during Bethel's Homecoming 2022 Cheer Night.

#2 Living on campus is simpler.

There are a number of things that students have to keep track of when living off campus, on top of their normal coursework, commitments, and scheduling. Students have to manage rent payments; meal planning and cooking; setting up and paying for trash services, WiFi, water, electric; house maintenance including yard work, snow removal, and unexpected damages; and depending on a landlord who may or may not be attentive. The responsibilities can be overwhelming, especially if this is the student’s first renting experience.

Additionally, the lease might be 12-months compared to the 9-month academic year, which adds pressure to summer living plans. If a roommate leaves before the lease ends, students might have to pay more than they had anticipated or budgeted. And residents typically have to completely furnish their house, rather than just bringing an extra mini fridge or futon. It can also be a challenge to move into an unknown community, where the neighbors might be as unpredictable as a winter storm warning.

#3 Living on campus can foster independence.

Of all the residence halls on Bethel’s campus, one of them is apartment-style. These North Village suites host three to five students and include one to two bedrooms; one bathroom; a full kitchen including an oven, stove, and fridge; a dining area with table and chairs; a living room with a couch; a pantry; and air conditioning. No meal plan is required for these students, who can plan and cook their own meals if they so desire. A beautiful nine-minute walk along Lake Valentine separates these apartments from the academic buildings, so there is some distance between school and home. North Village provides the perks of independent living without navigating a relationship with a landlord or maintaining the property.

#4 Living on campus creates community.

Perhaps the best part of living on campus is the community students find with their roommates, resident assistants, teammates, classmates, coworkers, or entire residence halls on Homecoming Cheer Night. Students who live off campus miss out on floor Bible studies, Shack events, dorm game nights, tailgates, and the little moments residents share walking to class, eating dinner, or passing each other in the halls. 

“Students that decide to live off campus miss out on the richness of community in close proximity—in which students care deeply, hold one another accountable, and get to do the silly, fun college things we all dream of when we think about college.”

— Zach LaValla, Heritage Hall resident director

Living off campus makes it harder for students to participate in extracurricular activities—like intramurals, clubs and organizations, athletics, rehearsals, student activities and events, and faith groups like Pray First and Prism. The Bethel community also provides a number of priceless resources. Professors, staff members, and coaches are eager to support and invest in students academically, professionally, spiritually, and personally. An on-call system of residence directors, resident assistants, and deans are available all hours of the day in case anyone needs immediate support. On top of it all, Bethel also offers career counseling, mental health counseling, health services, and academic tutoring that are all easier to access when one lives on campus.

#5 Living on campus is smarter.

What we’re ultimately trying to say is that living on campus is the smart thing to do. Not only do students save money, but they’re able to use financial aid—scholarships, grants, and loans—to pay for housing. And while a meal plan is more expensive than buying groceries on paper, the net cost of living on campus with a meal plan is cheaper than living off-campus. Students who want the best of both worlds can choose to live in North Village, where a meal plan is not required—this is the most affordable option of all.

Living on campus is also safer and more flexible. Students live in a gated community with on-call security and shuttle services to and from local shopping centers and grocery stores. The summer housing plans are flexible for students with jobs, internships, or on-campus research opportunities between academic years. These plans are also affordable for $100/week for rent.

Find your home on campus.

At Bethel, living on campus is not only convenient, but an important part of making Bethel feel like home. Living on campus is about sporting your residence hall pride at the Homecoming Cheer. It’s about painting “the rock” in the middle of the night. It’s about living steps away from a lake, a disc golf course, and a nature trail. And it’s about hanging with your friends and doing life together.

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