Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

February 22, 2008 1:20 PM

Housing, housing, housing...

To be really upfront and honest, I've been in university housing for pretty much my entire time at Cal. Which, for me, has not been a bad thing. Of course, I had been doing some housing searches before I settled in university-owned apartments, so here's my lowdown on what's available around campus:

A) The dorms: this is often an unappealing option for freshman who've been through a year of loud hall-mates and bad food, but the downsides are balanced by the fact that it's the easiest option to apply for. Since housing's now guaranteed for two years, you can use Cal Housing as a safety cushion in case you can't find off-campus housing.

B) University-owned apartments: they're a great option in my book, because the application process is simple, there are no landlords to deal with, there's a weekly cleaning service, they are close to campus, and all the apartments are really new. Moreover, meal plans are not required, making them much cheaper than dorm rooms. The main downside is that they are more expensive than some of the off campus options and do not offer parking. Wada apartments also close during the summer, while Channing Bowditch Apartments offer year-round contracts.

C) Off-campus apartments: the benefits of your own apartment come in the form of freedom. You can finally get your own room, seek lower rent and find, and get that house pet you've always wanted. But you also have to deal with utility bills, old facilities, landlords, and the fact that you'll have to actually take care of your own apartment. Looking for an apartment can become a huge hassle, especially if you're seeking one that will please both you and your prospective apartment-mates.

D) Greek system: frat and sorority houses are relatively self-explanatory. Keep in mind that during the summer (and also during the school year), they often have rooms for rent at really low rates.

E) Co-ops: it's the quintessential Berkeley residence: cooperative living where everyone performs chores to lower the cost of living. Different co-ops carry different lifestyless, from extremely wild to calm and quiet. As mentioned before, they are often the most affordable option.

Happy hunting! Be sure to drop by our office hours with any questions.


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