Higher Education

How to Find an Apartment as a Student

How To Find An Apartment As A Student

Enrolling in higher education is an incredibly important milestone in anyone’s life. Opening a new chapter of your life, earning your professional credentials, meeting a bunch of new people, and setting foundations for your future career… There are a lot of things to be excited about.

However, one of the most disruptive changes you are going to face comes in the fact that, for the first time, you are leaving your parents’ home and starting something akin to an independent life. As you can probably guess, the choice of your future dwelling will have a great impact on how well you are going to deal with this tradition, and how much kick you’re going to get out of your studies.

Let us take a look then at a couple of tips that will help you find the ideal apartment as a student.

Start the search as soon as possible

Cities hosting large colleges and universities are very hot real estate markets, plagued by high demand and spiking interest near the end of the summer break. Your goal should be to offset these hurdles by starting your search as soon as you have an idea about the school you are going to attend. If possible and if you are dead-certain about your future education options, you can start the hunt as soon as December or even November prior to the start of the following academic year. This will give you enough time to take it slowly, consider all the available options, and avoid making knee-jerk calls.

Set your priorities straight

To do that, you will have to have a crystal-clear idea about your habits, daily routines, things that keep you motivated, and similar. These broad ideas can be easily reworked into a couple of must-haves you will use to narrow down your search. Of course, you should do the same things about the criteria you consider unacceptable. So, double-check the things like commute time, neighborhood type, local amenities, and so on. Somewhere between these two red lines, there might just exist the ideal apartment that will allow you to reach your full potential without making too many compromises.

Work out your finances

In other words, you need to be 100% sure how much you can spend on a monthly basis over a longer period of time. Speaking in broad strokes, fixed monthly expenses like rent and utilities should not eat up more than 30% of your regular income. Of course, there are always ways to tick the odds in your favor here and there. For instance, cities like Houston are known for low living expenses and good job opportunities. Being flexible with neighborhood choices and looking for a side gig will allow you to discover comfortable student apartments in Houston that allow you to get a couple of extra amenities.

How about a roommate?

Yeah, we know – if movies taught us one thing that would be that roommates can be a tremendous liability. But this thing only applies if you and your roommate are not really compatible. If you find someone who clicks with you, you will not only trim down the costs of living but also be a good friend and learning companion. So, you should look for someone you already know or, if that’s not possible, people from the circles sharing your worldview. Travels, gyms, classes, activist groups, and charities seem like the perfect places to find these academic soul mates and spend some time with them.

Explore how the area feels

No matter how many reviews you read online you can’t really tell how you are going to feel when you move to some city until you spend some time there. And, there are a lot of things you may find dissatisfying ranging from prices to safety levels, traffic, local customs, and countless other factors. So, it is highly advisable that, before you commit to any idea, you first dip your toes and rent an apartment in the general area you are interested in and see how it works out. You don’t have to stay too long – even a week or so can give you a very good idea if some neighborhood feels homely or not.

Double-check the lease agreement

Considering you are just starting higher education, this is probably your first real estate rodeo. Some people may try to exploit this fact by offering lease agreements that are purposefully sloppy, vague, or covered with fine print. Well, unless you are going to bring some experienced third-party help, your only way out of this maze is to spend some time learning the basic terminology and usual rental practices and double-check every subject outlined in the agreement. Don’t be hasty and sign anything immediately. Even the most competitive markets can tolerate a couple of hours of consideration.


Well, there you have it – the top six tips that should help you find the ideal student apartment if only a bit easier. And you will need all the help you can get. Enrolling in higher education and moving to another city is a big step toward an independent life and you need to make sure you make that step count. Choosing an appropriate apartment as a student is an incredibly important part of this process. We tried to nudge you in the right direction – the rest is up to you.

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Danuta Smoluk is a teacher with over three decades of experience teaching both children and adults. She specializes in teaching the Polish language to English-speakers. She has a master's degree in primary and early childhood education from WSP Słupsk (currently Pomeranian University in Słupsk) and had her degree validated by University of Toronto. Aside from education, she also has an interest in real estate and home improvement. She has planned and supervised many house renovations. She loves interior design, cooking, and gardening.

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