So you’ve decided to make the move and attend fashion school in California. You have numerous housing options available to you, but which is the best option?
It’s generally known that the larger state colleges and universities have on-campus dorms and university-sponsored apartments. The problem with some of the smaller art and fashion schools is that, due to size and enrollment constraints, they either do not have campus dormitories or only have limited availability. So what do you do? Where will you live while you attend school?
Off-Campus Apartment Living vs Dorm Life
If you will be attending a fashion school in California, chances are the you will be looking into off-campus housing options. Living off-campus has its benefits and downsides, but is an excellent experience overall.
Apartment living differs greatly from the dorm life. You have more freedom and certainly less rules to follow. You probably won’t have to share a bathroom with twenty other people. You won’t have to contend with a resident assistant who will keep tabs on your every move (as those who live in dorms can attest to). You won’t have to adhere to a schedule of quiet hours, dining, and study rooms. There are definitely many pluses to living off-campus while studying to be the next fashion design sensation. Just keep in mind, some of these very same benefits to living off-campus can be downsides as well.
Living in a dorm gives you some guidelines and schedules to follow. If you are not a very disciplines person, you may find it difficult, or have to really push yourself to do what you need to do. You will also have to make your own meals on a daily basis. Not only will you be doing more of the cooking when you live off-campus, but you will also be the one who will need to go out and buy the food you cook. You’ll also be the one who will have to clean your private bath – a big downside in my book.
The other problem with off-campus housing is that it is off campus; you may have a more difficult time getting to and from school. Transportation costs can really add up if you have to pay for a car (gas, insurance, parking, etc). Luckily, most of the fashion schools in California are very near major metropolitan areas, so public transportation is most-likely a viable option. If the idea of living in a dorm seems totally beneath you, think twice, because there are often times more benefits to living in an on-campus dorm while attending school.
If you are moving to California to attend fashion school and don’t know very many people, living in a school dorm will provide you with a source of built in acquaintances that may very well become friendships. Living on your own, off-campus when you are new to the area can be lonely. You will certainly have less peer-interaction outside of classes that you would if you lived in a dormitory. Don’t underestimate the value of having people around when you are in a new place; it may be just what you need to help you adjust to your new surroundings.
My Fashion School Doesn’t Have Dorms
So you are dead-set on which fashion school in California you wish to attend and they do not have any dorm options or availability; you are probably going to be looking at a couple of available options such as apartments or rental rooms. You can still get some of the same benefits that those living in dorms have, but you will need to find a roommate or roommates to live with.
It’s commonly known that housing and real estate in California is expensive to say the least. Housing in major California cities (especially housing near the locations of colleges and fashion schools) is even more expensive. So what can you do? College students are already on pretty tight budgets these day… Where will you get the added cash to pay for an expensive apartment within a reasonable distance of school? Here’s where the need to have roommates comes into play… Do what you can to find a roommate or two (or more) to help share the expense of an apartment.
I have regularly heard stories of multiple people sharing small apartments or studios just to make it work. For example, one student recently told me that she was living in a two-bedroom apartment with three other students. Each bedroom was shared (dorm-style) by two people just to make the apartment somewhat affordable for all of them. You may find that an experience such as this isn’t as bad as it sounds. With varied school and work schedules, it is very likely that you won’t always be living right on top of each other in such as small space. This type of arrangement may also be a great way to meet new people and keep any feelings of loneliness away in a new place.
California Fashion Schools Do Have Housing Options
The options available while attending a smaller-sized fashion school may be limited, but they are there. You may have to make some creative arrangements just to make it work out. It may not seem like it, but after all, housing is a secondary part of your fashion school experience. You are there to learn what it takes to succeed in the fashion industry, not just for social experience!
Be sure to plan ahead. The more time you have to find acceptable housing, roommates, or rental rooms, the better. If you wait too long, your options will only get fewer and fewer. Don’t take a trip to California with the expectation that you will simply find the right housing option in a weekend; it may take some time.
Get copies of local newspapers and check out the resources that the school administration may have to share. These are the best ways to find housing that is geared for students. Talk to people you know… They may know someone in the area or have relatives who would be willing to take you in. You do have options, but you have to plan ahead.