Moving off campus – Column A and Column B

I am in an event for most of today and tomorrow, so this is a pre-post.

This is a message mostly for parents and families of juniors, but if you have a first-year or a sophomore, this can be a preview of coming attractions for you.

I have a series of things I preach from semester to semester and year to year. One of my favorites is that in life, we often want to have everything we want at once. I refer to this a wanting to choose something from Column A and Column B – and in reality, most often you get to pick one or the other, but not both.

Wake Forest has a three year residency requirement. The decision to move off campus as a senior represents a great Column A-Column B moment. There are benefits and tradeoffs, and students/families just have to decide what is most important to them.

Some rising seniors want to get a house or an apartment because it seems more fun to have their own place, fewer rules and regulations, etc. But they need to consider that one of the realities of moving off campus is that you are not guaranteed on-campus parking; that is something that only on-campus junior and senior resident students have. So if your Deac wants to move off campus, they can log on when parking permits are being sold in August and see if they can get a commuter parking pass for on campus. Those permits are limited – so maybe they get lucky and get one, and maybe they don’t and have to park in a satellite lot just off campus and walk. They (or you) may not mind them walking in the morning, but may very much mind late at night, in the rain, etc.

There are other realities/amenities of on-campus life that are not replicated off campus. During times of snow and ice storms, historically the buildings on campus (which are on their own power grid), have kept power when some of the houses and apartment complexes contiguous to campus have not. Wake has superior snow plowing on campus compared to the city snow plowing. And the University cannot make the power come on faster or have the streets get plowed faster on non-campus properties, as we do not control city property.

There are other services that are different: if you move off campus and call 911, it goes to Winston-Salem city police, not University Police. If you move off campus, there are not dumpsters and recycle stations right outside your building (as they are with the residence halls). You are taking out your own trash and recyclables, etc.

Students who live in single family houses in areas of high concentration of Wake students have historically been more likely to have break-ins or other incidents than those in apartment complexes. So that is a consideration too – if I move off, am I better off in a house or apartment? We have many Greek organizations who have houses they pass from class to class, and your Deac might want to live in the house. Parents and families may prefer an apartment.

The list of considerations goes on.

I say all this not to sway your seniors to stay on campus or move off. There is not a right or wrong here – just what is right for each individual. But they (and you) should think about what the pros and cons are of moving off campus, and determine which tradeoffs are important to you, and which are not, so you make an informed decision. Definitely something to mull over before it is time for room selection later this spring.

Also, rising seniors need to indicate their intent to live off campus. That is due the first couple days of March – there is a form in the Housing Portal on WIN rising seniors would complete.

— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

Categories: the daily deac