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It's Just Stuff...and the Memories Don't Live in ItLaTrina Rogers
Do you have a college student who'll move off campus soon?
It’s exciting for students to transition to the independence of off-campus life, in a home they chose on their own.
Once they settle in, they’ll be eager to introduce family and friends to their new space by hosting a house- or apartment-warming party (surely the first of many social events). Here's what they need to know.
While Residential Life staff no longer monitor the hallways, apartment complexes and landlords still have rules and regulations your student needs to follow.
Apartments with shared common areas like a swimming pool or hot tub often have curfews (closing hours) for these spaces. Residents who break the rules about when and how they can use the facilities may face fines or other penalties.
Apartment complexes also have rules about visitors. In addition, it's important during the COVID-19 pandemic for your student to keep up with city, county and/or state restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings. There may be rules about the number of households or individuals that can gather (your student and any roommates constitute a household).
You can clue them in that a good way to stay informed is to check official websites and subscribe to emails and alerts.
An off-campus student ticketed for an illegal social gathering may end up with consequences at their college or university, too, so your student should be sure to know what's allowed before planning any event.
It’s also important to remember that, even though they no longer live in a tiny dorm room, sound does still travel.
Talk to your student about being respectful of their neighbors. Whether they have people over or not, they should keep the noise level reasonable and within decent hours.
While fellow college students may be more forgiving of excessive noise, it’s even more important to be sensitive to neighbors who are older or have small children. People working from home right now don't have the option to leave and find a quieter work environment. With the shift to remote learning for many college students, it’s also good manners to be mindful of stressful or busy times in the semester such as exam weeks.
Depending on the situation, it can be helpful to give neighbors a head's up in advance that they're having friends over or celebrating a special event, and ask the neighbors to let them know if the noise becomes an issue (before complaining to the property manager or the police). It's always preferable to have a friendly relationship with the people next door (or upstairs or down below). And it works both ways — if your student is considerate, the neighbors are likely to be as well.
As a renter, your student has rights. But the move off campus also comes with its own set of responsibilities.
In a nutshell: they can be ticketed or sued if something goes wrong during a party or other social gathering. Accidents happen — another reason that renter's insurance is essential.
All that being said, getting their own place is something to celebrate. Whether they decide on a game night, a celebratory dinner, or just having a few people over for the fun of it, if they practice awareness and consideration they can enjoy sharing their new space with the people they care for the most.
Help them plan, shop and prepare for independence in their new off-campus apartment or home.