Pros and cons of living on/off campus

Author: Preety Thakur.

After securing a position in the university one of the questions that pops up in every student mind is whether to live on campus or off campus. I live in greater London, with my family and was considering living on campus as it takes 1 hour 30 mins one-way travel time from my home to university.

I then started weighing the pros and cons of both living on/off campus and finalised living off campus as it suited me the best.  I have listed down a few pros and cons and hope it helps you in making your decision.

  1. Accessibility to LIBRARY

Library is one of the most important, significant and an inseparable part of a student life. University of Surrey library is open 24 hours and you can borrow/return books any time you want. If all the available books are already on loan you can still have access to the reference books which you can use only in library. Staying in campus gives you this privilege. However, University library is available online as well, so off campus students can enjoy reading pdf books at their home.

  1. The commute

Commute is an important factor as it drains out all your energy and is often waste of time. If you live around 2-hour distance from university and do not have good connectivity with transport modes, then travelling will be hectic for you and in such cases, it will be a good option to stay on campus. However, if you live somewhere nearby and can utilise your travelling time effectively then everyday travel won’t bother you much. Early morning lectures are an exception 😊

  1. Missed opportunities

There are many events held in evening post lectures. If you live far from university and reaching home on time is one of the constraints, then likely hood of you attending those events will decrease. If you live on campus, then you can attend any event held in the evening.

  1. Sleeping till late

If you live on campus you need not worry about waking up early to catch a train or booking the parking slots. However, I know people who live in campus and often miss the 9 am lecture 😊 but people traveling to university arrive well before time, have breakfast and relax a bit prior attending the lectures. I myself usually reach by 8.30 for 9 am lecture and if Prof also comes early I get a good opportunity to have a quick chat regarding the module and clear my doubts.

  1. More space and privacy

I am a private person and like to have my own time. I live with my family and have my own space, during exams whole house is my space 😊 I can study wherever I am comfortable. You don’t have to worry about people in your residency hall or passage way or lobby being noisy during exams. You need not worry about switching off the lights early as your roommate have a morning class. You can stay up late and finish your assignments and studies as per your wish.

  1. You decide your lunch menu

Living off campus gives you a good option to decide what you will be having for lunch that day and you get home cooked food. For me it becomes very difficult if I must eat food outside daily as I don’t like to eat similar type of food.  You do have kitchen in dormitories as well, so you can cook your own lunch, but I have rarely seen this happen. I like to cook my own lunch and make food as per my taste. I also don’t have to share kitchen with anyone, some of my friend living on campus find it difficult as at times you might have to wait for others to finish their cooking and then start yours.


Living on/off campus is a decision based on many other factors so decide wisely. If you are new to the country, then it will be a good idea to start with living on campus and after your first semester if you feel confident enough you can move out.

If you have been living in the country for a while and are fine with commuting daily, then other things won’t matter much. Certain programs require you to only attend university for 3/4 days a week, so you can spend the extended weekend with your family. Also, do not worry about travel expenses as you will get student concession and the bus pass in surrey for students is cheap.