Not all students suited for dorms
While the majority of students at the College reside on Mayflower Hill, off-campus housing represents an attractive alternative for some upperclassmen. According to data provided by the college, "more than 96 percent of students live on campus," with the remaining four percent or so living in houses and apartments in the surrounding area.
Off-campus houses offer many advantages to the students living in them. For one, their full kitchens enable students to cook for themselves.
Students living off campus have access to 100 meals per semester in the college dining halls, but the rest of the time they must fend for themselves.
"[Living off campus] feels more like home," Mickey Bronstein '11 said, who lives with five friends a short drive from campus in downtown Waterville. "There's also a lot more space," she said, citing a definite advantage over the comparatively small dorm rooms.
Space is usually a deciding factor for students choosing to live off campus, since large houses can be rented for reasonable amounts in Waterville. Tom Barnico '11 took full advantage of this fact when arranging his housing this year. He and his housemates are living at Camp Manitou, a summer camp in Oakland, ME.
Affectionately dubbed "The Man Camp" by its housemates, it is more accurately described as a complex than it is as a house. Sprawling over dozens of acres, the Camp features a replica Green Monster baseball diamond, basketball courts and a shoreline on the Belgrade Lakes. It is a college student's dream house.
Although "The Man Camp" is located 20 minutes from Colby, "the commute isn"t that bad. You just have to plan your day out," Barnico said. "Next year I'll be working, and my commute could be 40 minutes. It's a good transition to the real world," he said.
In the meantime, Barnico and his housemates live in a veritable paradise. The camp is a welcome retreat from the daily pressures of campus life.
Living off campus does have its drawbacks, though. Students must worry about rent, pay utilities, buy groceries, cook their own meals, clean and maintain the house and commute to and from school.
"The commute can definitely be a pain, particularly without your own car," Bronstein said.
Students also have more liability when hosting parties, particularly if underage students are present.
The financial benefit is perhaps the biggest advantage of off-campus living. According to the College, "students enrolled on campus who are approved to live off campus will receive a room and board rebate of $3,105 per semester." This money goes a long way toward the cost of rent payments, utility bills and the cost of groceries, particularly when divided among several students. "Even with groceries, rent and utilities, we come out ahead over room and board," said Bronstein.
Living off campus is not for everyone. The prospect of real-world responsibilities and daily commutes are daunting for many students.
However, living off-campus is a great opportunity for those students willing to accept said responsibilities.
Students can save money, have more space, be part of the surrounding community and get away from the pressures of life on Colby's campus. "I totally recommend it," Bronstein said, and she is certainly not alone.