Houston is a booming metropolis with a lot to offer its residents in terms of entertainment, job opportunities and overall economic growth in the last several years. The city is also home to a number of higher learning institutions, including the University of Houston—the third-largest college in the state—as well as Texas Southern University and Rice University.
This means, of course, that there are a large number of students living in the greater Houston area, many of whom live off campus in Houston apartments and rental homes. Here are a few tips on being an off-campus college student in the Bayou City.
Find a Roommate
Living alone as a college student can be difficult—both financially and socially—and can result in a feeling of isolation. Although it can be tough to find a roommate when you don’t know anyone at the beginning of the semester, living with a fellow student can make all the difference in helping you to settle in and also to remain focused on your classes. Consider searching for roommate ads online or in the student newspaper, or check with your university’s housing office to see if they offer roommate matching services for off-campus students.
Get from Point A to Point B
Once you’ve secured a place to live, the next thing to figure out is how to get from home to your classes. Houston is a bit notorious for its traffic, so try out a few different routes and forms of transportation to find the fastest, easiest option. Even if you don’t own a car, there are numerous forms of public transportation to help get you where you need to go. The Houston Metro, a bus and trolley service, is a great option; those who do own cars but don’t want to drive all the way into town can even take advantage of the Park and Ride locations throughout the city.
Try Out a Club or Two
At the beginning of the school year, many on-campus clubs and organizations will likely have open meetings that anyone is allowed to attend. Go to as many of these as possible; they’re a great way to meet people and will give you that sense of belonging that can be somewhat difficult for an off-campus student to capture. And if nothing else, you might score some free food!
Check out the Rockets…or the Texans…or the Astros
Houston is home to major-league teams in nearly every sport: football (the Texans), basketball (the Rockets), baseball (the Astros), soccer (the Dynamos) and hockey (the Aeros). If you’re a sports fan, Houston is a great town for you—and if not, sporting events still offer a great opportunity to get out and meet people. The point is, you should take advantage of living in a city so full of entertainment options. Get out there, meet people, step outside your comfort zone a bit—that’s what college is all about.
Houston is an ideal place for off-campus living as a college student. You’ll never be bored, and you’ll likely learn nearly as much in your explorations around town as you do in the classroom. Find a place to call home and make an effort to engage with your fellow students. These small efforts will pay off exponentially in the form of a fantastic, memorable college experience.