If your student has been living on campus, the switch to off-campus life can be challenging, exciting, and scary. As a family member, you have the ability to support your student through this transition and use these tips to avoid problems later down the road.
Stop Roommate Issues Before They Start
One of the most common complaints we get from students is about their roommates; whether it be dirty dishes in the sink, overnight guests, or paying rent late, living off campus brings a new level of responsibility and being able to work through problems independently. It is strongly recommended that students set up a roommate contract and talk through their expectations. Sometimes leases will outline certain expectations of behavior (i.e. how many nights in a row a guest can stay) that students should understand before they sign the lease.
One of the most important parts of students living on their own is understanding how to set up a budget and what happens if you don’t follow through. Budgeting worksheets and apps, such as Mint or Wally, are extremely useful in helping students understand where their money is going each month. Family members can also be sure that students understand the ramifications for failing to pay rent or utilities: eviction, loss of power/lights, and/or a lower credit score. For this reason, we recommend that students get individual leases to make sure that their roommates’ failure to follow through on financial responsibilities doesn’t impact them.
A majority of students will move into their new home in August, and we encourage students to understand how an organized move-in will help them in the long run. As your student moves into their new place, encourage them to take pictures and detailed notes to document the property’s original condition. Your student and their roommate should make sure they set up utilities and take care of other paperwork as soon as possible.
If you or your student has any questions about the transition off campus, reach out and get help from Off-Campus Student Services. Peer Off-Campus Advisors and professional staff members can ask questions and provide guidance. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-993-6563.
Off-Campus Student Services