Talk of moving off-campus?
– Anonymous BU Parent, CGS’17, BU’19
Have you heard talk of moving off-campus—living in Allston or Brighton? It is helpful to know how off-campus living impacts your student. The pros we know—a house full of friends, autonomy, and independence. But what about the practicalities?
Our son called and told us he was heading off-campus sophomore year. We set our sights on finding out what questions to ask.
A great resource is Kim Santo and Off-Campus Services. Our thanks to Christy Loring at the Parents Program for pointing us in her direction.
A great way to have your student ‘test the waters’ is to suggest that he or she travels to the apartment or house—particularly on a miserable day. Our son found he was between T stops and his stop was exposed with nowhere to retreat in rain or snow. He also discovered that his route was slow with numerous stops. Getting to and from campus might be a bit of a hike. Have your student think about how to manage the extra commute time and whether it will require staying on campus all day rather than having the option to return home.
Of course you want them to think about food preparation, grocery shopping, parking, paying bills, and the location of the nearest laundromat.
The press has stories about security problems off campus. Break-ins are an issue. For on-campus housing, the BU police respond. For off-campus housing, the Boston police department is involved and can lead to formal police reports and investigations.
There is also the issue of safety. Are fire alarms and smoke detectors installed? Are there sprinklers and fire escapes? How quickly will the landlord respond to maintenance issues? Will plumbing problems be fixed or will broken appliances be replaced promptly?
For us the clincher was that once a student leaves BU housing, they are out of the system with no guarantee of being able to secure BU on-campus housing in the future. Advice we got was that it was nearly impossible to re-enter BU housing in the fall and very difficult in the spring.
But for our son not being able to roll out of bed and be in class with little effort made the decision.
We were pleased that our son made the decision he did but your student may have different priorities. Off-campus housing may be perfect for yours but it makes sense for them to consider all the issues before they decide.