Student-to-Student Advise

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Sometimes the best advice comes from people who can use their own experience, both positive and negative; because of this we asked fellow Lehigh University students what had stood out to them about moving off campus.


General topics from an anonymous survey of Lehigh students living off campus:

-Parking: Is there a driveway? Do you need to get a street/Lehigh permit?

-Considering the time it will take to get to class

- Pro-actively making chore charts and deciding how to manage responsibilities among housemates

-There is no cleaning lady like there was on campus 

-Pick safe locations

-Don’t rush to sign a lease when you’re a sophomore 

-Make sure you understand the cost of utilities such as gas, heat and water and how the process works to set them up and deal with issues

-Be sure to understand the legality of your lease

-Having to cook for yourself

-Make sure you pick roommates you are compatible to live with, not just friends

-Understanding you are in charge of setting up internet and cable

-Be aware you might have to put systems in place for sound control

-Make sure parents approve of the house before signing if they are financially supporting you


 The following responses were taken directly from an anonymous survey of Lehigh students living off campus:

You get extremely disconnected from what's going on on-campus. You need to make an extra effort to stick around before going home after classes”

“You'll see that some roommates change their opinions over time, which means you have to adapt and learn how to deal with situations where there may not be consequences to someone's wrong-doings but you need to make them right.”

“Choose your housemates carefully. On campus it's fairly easy to relocate if there's an issue, but off campus you're stuck in a lease.”

“On top of just utilities there are a lot of things you now have to buy on your own such as toilet paper, groceries, your own cleaning supplies”

“Don't just get any housemates. Just because someone is your friend DOES NOT mean they would make a good housemate.”

“Don't jump into any decision. Ask the current/former residents about their experiences with the house. Find the right people to live with based on your needs.”

“There is a lot more work involved in living off campus - you have to commit time to cleaning, buying food, and cooking, which are things mostly done for you when you live on campus.”

“Start the search EARLY leases are signed as early as two years before the actual start of rent. READ the lease agreement and ask the landlord if its possible to rent only for the time you will be in school. Most landlords only give students the option of leasing for the entire year.”

“I wish I'd been more familiar with how my financial aid might be able to subsidize living expenses (i.e., my refund check from financial aid).”

“Make sure you always walk with someone. I carry around pepper spray because it is so unsafe.”

“Don't expect the sidewalks to be safe to walk on in winter, they're always covered in ice”

“Find someone you know who is older and ask them how they like their landlord, that matters a lot.”

“Tour as many houses as you can and make sure you're getting your money's worth”