I’m starting at UF in January. How do Gainesville apartments compare to UF’s dorms?

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Hub 3rd Ave.
Hub 3rd Ave is a short distance away from UF's Levin College of Law.

The four years I lived in Gainesville while I attended the University of Florida for undergrad were some of my favorites. While there, I had the chance to live both on- and off-campus, so I know the importance of evaluating the options based on what works best for you specifically. The apartments in Gainesville and the residence halls on campus (they prefer not to use the term "dorm") each have their own advantages. Before choosing one for the next semester or year, you'll want to evaluate… 

Distance from UF Campus

No apartment is going to be closer to the center of UF's campus than one of the residence halls. However, it's quite possible that your classes will favor one side of campus; take a look at your class schedule to see where they're located. If you'll be spending most of your time closer to the edges of campus, or you have a job/internship lined up off-campus, it may make more sense for you to look into Gainesville apartments near UF or near your work. Think about how easily you're able to get to campus if you're not living there, and evaluate the RTS bus routes. Consider where you'll want to be located at the end of the day so you can easily go home (or go out).

Room Layout

There are several styles of residence hall on campus, ranging from traditional to suites. Many of these involve sharing a room and/or a bathroom. The apartments in Gainesville sometimes offer a shared bathroom, though many provide each resident with their own room and bathroom. For both the residence halls and apartments, you will likely have someone else (or a few people) sharing the space. Take a moment to evaluate what makes the most sense based on your preferred lifestyle. Do you love being around others, or are you someone who needs their own space?

Side note: if the thought of having a random roommate freaks you out, you can always look at Gainesville apartments with roommate matching.

Cost and Amenities

Figure out what you expect your costs to be over the course of the semester. Each residence hall has a different price for the semester (inclusive of all utilities), factoring in the style of room, any living learning communities, etc. If cost is a concern, you can definitely find cheap apartments in GainesvilleApartments in Gainesville start under $500 per month, but the costs can build from there. You'll find that some apartments include utilities, while others do not, and your budget will be impacted by the layout you would like. You also want to consider whether you want to purchase a whole new furniture set. Some apartments are furnished to varying degrees, while some aren't at all. Residence halls will provide basic furnishing - bed, mattress, desk, desk chair and dresser. 

With all these things in mind, what you'll ultimately need to determine is what is going to be most convenient and cost-effective for you, based on your wants and needs. There is no right answer for everyone, but you'll find the right answer for you. Good luck, and go Gators!

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of SwampRentals.com or any of our advertising partners.