Does living off campus take away from the college experience?

Omar Aftab, Reporter

College is known for being all about the “experience.” It gives young adults a chance to live on their own in a relatively stable environment and prepare to become increasingly responsible before gaining complete independence. At the same time, it gives students a chance to meet new people, evolve their perspectives, and find their identity. 

However, the majority of students at UNF live at home while attending college. According to, 24% of students live on-campus, and 76% live off-campus as of 2021. This is no surprise considering the size of Jacksonville and the fact that many UNF students lived in the city before attending.

During the pandemic, students were forced to live off-campus. Things are now slowly returning to normal, but amidst spikes in cases and new variants of coronavirus being discovered, to many it still makes sense to live off-campus. Expenses are far lower when living with parents and, when living in an apartment, one has more freedom to choose things such as size, location, and other variables that can affect the college experience. 

Photo by Justin Nedrow.

UNF student Daniyal Asad says that due to the nature of UNF in particular, he doesn’t feel as though he’s missing out on much of the college experience by choosing to live off-campus.

“If UNF was like a party school then yeah, maybe I’d feel like I wasn’t getting the whole experience, but as far as I know it’s not really like that,” says Asad. That being said, he does feel like not being surrounded by the college culture may have negatively impacted his connection to the school and his overall focus.

“I live alone, so I don’t have anyone telling me what to do,” says Asad. “I might study for a bit and then get distracted by this video, but living on campus could increase your focus because you’re surrounded by other students.” 

It may be that by next year the number of students living on campus will increase as more people are vaccinated and the pandemic loses its hold. College is, to many, the best time of their lives, so it’s important to make sure to enjoy that time before it’s over. For some, that may mean living on-campus to get that experience. Others, however, don’t need to live on-campus to enjoy the rich experiences that UNF offers.


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