Welcome to My Pad! The show where the ultimate goal is to unlock the door to the perfect place for you. So let’s find those keys, set up the building blocks, and start creating your new space today. Before creating your new home, you need to lay the foundation. There are important decisions you need to make. Number one: consider location, location, location. How important is it to you to be close to campus? Will your place be within walking distance? Or is your school accessible by bus, bike, or car? Number two: consider privacy. Do you like the idea of having lots of new people around? Or do you prefer quite spaces? Number three: consider expenses. How much can you afford? Is affordability more important to you than any other issue? Number four: consider sense of community. Do you long for a sense of community? Do you like taking part in planned activities? Or do you like your independence? Okay now that you have set up the building blocks for your new place, you need to figure out if on-campus living or off-campus living is right for you. On-campus living has its pros. For one thing, laundry, food, friends, and social activities are right around the corner. Many schools offer meal plans – an easy way to get three meals a day from on-campus dining. And most dorms also plan social activities several times a week, offering easy ways for wallflowers and social butterflies to mingle. Plus, there’s no lawn to mow or walk to shovel, and most dorms come furnished and even offer up amenities like a microwave making late-night bean burrito binges easy. Now let’s look at the flip side. Dorm rooms can be noisy. With a large number of opportunities for socializing also comes the likelihood of serious people overload. Living in the cramped living quarters of dorms also means there’s little room left over for your shoes, music equipment, toy collection, and hoodies you have in every color of the rainbow. And don’t expect to leave those rules you had at home behind with your high school yearbooks. Visitors might only be permitted during certain hours, quiet hours are often enforced, and some dorms even have curfews. Break these rules and your college career could seriously suffer. If these issues have you fretting about winning at “My Pad!” you might want to consider setting up space off campus instead. Off campus living offers plenty of benefits for college. For one thing, living off campus can be more affordable than on campus. Dorms are usually only open nine months out of the year, so when you’re doing a cost comparison be sure to note what the monthly expenses are versus the annual. Off-campus living also affords you more privacy. You get to live in quieter surroundings and make your own household rules. And as an added bonus, you get to pick your own room mate which helps reduce the stress of living with someone else for the first time. While off-campus living sounds great, there is a flip side to consider. In order to sign a lease, you will likely have to come up with a security deposit which usually is the first and last month’s rent. You’ll also need additional funds for furniture, small appliances, and miscellaneous expenses. If you’re new to the area and don’t know many people on campus, off-campus living can also lead to a sense of isolation. One thing you can do to ensure that doesn’t happen is to get involved in extra-curricular activities. College offers plenty of ways to connect with new friends and explore new ideas. Ultimately, getting your perfect place comes down to laying the right foundation. By creating check lists to help determine your needs and personal preferences, You’ll know if off-campus or on-campus living is right for you.