Moving off campus – Column A and Column B

Editor’s note: we had a technical glitch yesterday, which resulted in the Daily Deac not being sent. We are trying again today.

In this Issue:

  • Today we will examine some of the considerations and trade offs associated with the decision to live on or off campus for senior year and deadlines upcoming on February 6

This is a message I run every year, so our seasoned Daily Deac-ers might recognize it. This is about housing and the decision to live on or off campus during a student’s junior or senior year. Now that there has been a message about the 23-24 housing selection process for current students, it seems like the right time to talk about this.

I have a theory that in life, we want to have everything we want at once – sort of like an a la carte cafeteria menu where you can choose all you can eat. I refer to this phenomenon as 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. 

Some students want to get a house or an apartment off campus because it seems more fun to have their own place, fewer rules and regulations, etc. But the decision to move off campus as a senior – or enter the off-campus lottery to move off as a junior – 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.

Benefits and tradeoffs for seniors moving off campus 

  • Campus parking – 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. That walk to campus in the morning might be less fun when it is raining or snowing. (Note that students with off campus permits can park on campus after 5 pm, so they can move their cars if they are working late in the library or whatever).
  • Winter weather issues – 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 just off campus have not. Wake has superior snow plowing on campus compared to the city snow plowing. Wake Forest unfortunately can’t make the power come on faster or have the streets get plowed faster at non-campus properties; that is all city-controlled.
  • Trash/recycling – 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.
  • Police and safety – if you move off campus and call 911, it goes to Winston-Salem city police, not University Police. 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? Students may want to live in a house; parents and families may prefer that their student live in an apartment. 
  • Scholarship requirements – some students may have scholarships or other requirements that specify they must live on campus all four years. So know the fine print of your Deac’s situation before you make firm plans.

These are all issues you and your Deac will have to navigate.

Important deadlines – due February 6

  • Rising seniors (who have fulfilled the residency requirement) need to register their intent to live on or off campus – Rising seniors are required to indicate their intent to live off campus and register their address/roommates with the Office of Residence Life and Housing. They do this on their Housing Application in the Housing Portal. 
    • Students who fail to indicate their intent by February 6 will be coded as off-campus. 
  • Off campus lottery for rising juniors (i.e., students who are sophomores this spring) – Wake Forest has a three year residency requirement. Rising juniors can enter an off-campus lottery and see if they can be released to live off campus as juniors in 2023-24. But unless/until they are released in writing by the Office of Residence Life and Housing, they should not secure any off-campus housing. If it turns out they don’t get a lottery slot, they will be required to live on campus as a junior. No one wants the costly mistake of being held to an off campus lease and an on campus housing requirement. 

Additional considerations

  • The Housing and Dining Agreement is a binding contract – in other words, if your rising senior decides to live on campus and selects housing, that is a binding commitment to live here, same as if they had signed a lease at an apartment off campus. So they need to be very clear that if they choose campus housing, they cannot change their mind later. 

Final thoughts

I say all this not to sway your student 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.