Accommodation In-campus vs Off-campus Hostels, which is better?

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Written By El Gwaro

The first thought that that comes into people’s mind when you mention college life, is housing. Some people consider off-campus leaving since they want to lay a foundation for their future independent adult life. Others may think it’s not yet time to move out but rather concentrate on studies; independence later.

Well, it all depends on your priorities and to a greater extent, personality. On-campus and off-campus housing offer different experiences though they have similarities too. The good news is that you can choose to taste both experiences.

However, from my research, I believe it is rather easier shifting from on-campus housing to off-campus housing than vice versa. Nevertheless, today I would like to compare the two housings if that’s a word.



You only need to walk to attend lessons. When classes are done and you feel exhausted, you can easily stroll to your hostel and have meals with all the comfort.

Your books are always close, you don’t have to carry 4 encyclopedias for the 4 lessons in a day. You have access to the school facilities at any time.

Housing Conditions

Well, this is very relative. Private institutions offer better housing than public. However, most campus halls are not well maintained, are congested and sometimes very untidy.

Some institutions accommodate more than enough student in hostels since they make substantial money and save on costs while they sacrifice your comfort for their merriment.


It is usually very rare for institutions to experience the lack of basic requirements such as electricity and water unless the entire town or surrounding is also affected.

Academic institutions are given almost always given the priority access to these resources. You are almost guaranteed to have access to these needs on a daily basis.


It is very obvious that on-campus housing is very cheap, in fact, a research by KampusVille revealed that students in JKUAT hostels pay almost three quarters on average of what off-campus students pay in a semester.

In campuses like UoN and KU on-campus housing is much cheaper than off-campus. You can also have your meals in the school cafeteria where the prices are standardized.

Less fun

Living on campus might be so comfortable and convenient but it might not expose you to the struggles of life which are very important in molding you into a grown up. It is like elementary school where you were given notes to write and you never learned your best method of study until you joined high school.

Also, on-campus housing is specifically designed for sleeping and a reading. You don’t have space to maximize your life. A limited number of friends can fit in case you are hosting parties and there is limited or privacy.


Relatively Inconvenient

Some hostels might be a bit far from the campus and this comes with some demerits. To mention but a few, carrying all required materials for study so as not to go back in the middle of a tedious day and lack of access to facilities especially at night since students fear walking home in the dark.

Better Conditions

Off-campus residence halls have an obligation to be tidy and homely, or else they lose customers. It is not a surprise that off-campus hostels are much more comfortable and homely.

Nonetheless, with the current influx of college students, commercial residence owners are maximizing on quantity rather than quality. It is hence advisable to start looking for off-campus rooms, months before reporting in order to get quality housing.


High quality hostels are always prepared for shortage of resources. They have backup generators and underground water tanks to cater for emergencies.

On the other hand, cheap residential hostels are usually never prepared for resources shortages. You might have a very hard time coping with such situations.


When you are searching for quality housing off campus, you have to dig deeper into your pockets. The land lady will always be at the gate ready to greet you good morning and ask you how you will live in her house for the next 4 weeks.

What you pay at the end of the year is significantly much more than with on-campus housing and mind you, you go home during holidays. Also, the costs of eating in restaurants might overburden you. If you want to survive, cook.

More fun and adventure

Off-campus housing is amazing when it comes to adventure. It is an opportunity lay a foundation for your approaching adult life. First, you will have to organize yourself in order to attend lessons in time and participate in all campus activities.

Privacy is guaranteed. You can hold endless parties without restrictions and have the 84 inches curved Samsung TV and nobody will mind you. Technically it gives you the taste of life. It is like the training ground for adult life.

Personally, I think both housings are important in molding students. Best strategy is spending your first two years in on-campus housing and the rest off-campus; you will lay great foundations for your college degree academics and adult life respectively. This tip will make the best out of college life; you can be guaranteed.


  1. After living in the dorm and in the apartments, I came to the conclusion that it was worth trying both in your college years. The first two years I lived in a dorm room, made lots of friends, and was just surrounded by all that college culture. But now I’m both working and studying, and I’m more comfortable living in an apartment and have a closer commute to work (but a longer commute to campus). There are pros and cons to both options, and it’s also mentioned in more detail in this infographic. I understand that it may not be financially affordable for everyone, but I recommend living in a dorm in the start and renting your own place in your final years.

  2. What I did in my college years was to stay on campus dorms in my freshman and part of sophomore years when the exams were easy to ace and life can be a lot more carefree and be less responsible … Hahaha …. Not irresponsible though.
    When entering junior n senior years the courses got more difficult as its now very specialised … Still fun coz I was pursuing something that I like. But needed more peace and quiet to focus on studies. Moving off campus would be best then … It’s brings you closer to real life and better focus.
    What’s more seniors don’t mix with kids hunh … Har har har

    • Ha ha, yeah seniors usually want to be SENIORS, that’s why most move out. They also seek to find independence and have a taste of life as you have shared. Your insights are really appreciated Apeng

  3. Hi Cheek,
    Nice article on the pros and cons of college living. We put two kids through college and it’s expensive, no matter what the living arrangements. One lived at home for part of the time and think that was the biggest learning experience, believe it or not. Becoming a grown up with rsponsibilites living under your parents roof. It’s interesting!

    • Wow, amazing insights, i didn’t think of that, thanks for enlightening me. I will research on day scholars in university and will be glad to share what i think.Happy that it worked for them. Thanks for your view.

  4. Hi Cheek,
    Great article! Any youngsters out there getting ready to start college would appreciate this post. I think it depends on the individual like you mentioned. You have to be ready for the extra responsibilities that comes with less support from family. Are you currently in college? If you are what is your major?


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