Ditch the Dorm After First Year

Beth Sattur

The dorm experience is vital for first-year students to make friends and generally learn how to live with other people who aren’t family. At NYU, first-years enjoy some of the best dorming options on campus. For example, the first-year dorms Lipton Residence Hall, Goddard Residence Hall, Rubin Residence Hall and Weinstein Residence Hall are all within a five-minute walk of the general campus area. There are also three dining halls in first-year dorms all less than a 15-minute walk from Washington Square Park. There are many alluring benefits to living in first-year housing, but by sophomore year, it’s time to start looking off campus for housing.

After the first year, the number of dorming options drops significantly. First-years have nine options, while there are 13 for upperclassmen and two for graduate students, not counting the Brooklyn housing options. There are more upperclassmen dorms, but first-years are only one class of students; upperclassmen dorms are supposed to house sophomores, juniors and seniors. These options are also far less desirable than the first-year ones. The upperclassmen dorms are at least a 15-minute walk from campus, and in the cases of Lafayette Street Residence Hall and Gramercy Green Residence Hall, the farthest from campus in either direction, the walk can be approximately 25-30 minutes. The University Transportation Services bus is an option, but it is somewhat erratic and changes its route on the weekends, making it difficult for students living in Gramercy or Lafayette to travel to other NYU buildings.

The biggest problem for upperclassmen housing, however, is the price. At Broome Street Residence Hall, one of the cheaper options for upperclassman housing, the price is roughly $13,000 for a nine-month tenure for a “low-cost housing” room. At NYU, low-cost housing is usually code for room with a ventilation gap or forced triple, so it is not by any means a comfortable living arrangement. By contrast, low-cost housing at Goddard or Rubin is about $11,000 for nine months — $2,000 makes a huge difference.

Instead of settling for dorms that are far from campus and lack accommodations, NYU students should seek off-campus housing after their first year. Manhattan real estate prices might be a little intimidating, but living with roommates and looking in the right places can make the options much more affordable. I myself live in a four-bedroom apartment in the East Village, about a 20-minute walk from campus, and it costs $1050 a month plus utilities. I have my own bedroom, a luxury that can cost over $20,000 a year in some NYU residence halls.. By moving off-campus after their first year, NYU students can save a lot of money and experience more freedom than they can in the dorms. Don’t be afraid of the rental world of Manhattan — embrace it.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this appeared in the Monday, March 5 print edition. Email Beth Sattur at [email protected]

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