4 Things to Know Before Moving Off Campus at THE Ohio State University

By Sonya Afanasyeva | January 31, 2018

So you're one year into your college experience, you've made lots of great friends, you're no longer a freshman, and you have pretty much figured out your way around campus. Now the next big step - leaving the dorm life and looking for your very first off-campus apartment. What should you consider during your search? While there are the obvious things to think about – price, safety, amenities – there are some other important factors. Here are four things to know that will get you into an off-campus apartment at you'll love.


Morning traffic headed to campus from Old North Columbus

1. Getting Around

Think about all of the activities and events that you have been walking to on a regular basis while living on campus at Oho State University: class, the Union for food, the RPAC to exercise. How are you going to get to your favorite places? If you’re getting a car, make sure you think about all of the expenses involved with that - car payment, insurance, gas, repairs, city parking permit, on-campus parking passes, etc. Car expenses add up quickly, so make sure you plan your budget well.

Most off-campus students at OSU try to stay close to High Street, and there’s a reason for that. High Street is the artery of Columbus and the home of Central Ohio Transit Authority's (COTA) bus route #2. As a student with a BuckID, you can ride the city bus for free, so if your place is close to High Street you’re always just a ride away from campus, the Short North, and downtown.

Recently, Columbus has also developed quite a few new transportation options like Car2Go, designated bike lanes, and plenty of Ubers and Lyfts, so there are options in addition to the COTA bus. If you plan to rely on public transportation, make sure you look into the details first and figure out how they will affect your budget and commute time.

2. Walkability

Cars and buses are great, but sometimes you're just better off relying on your own two feet. Many neighborhoods in Columbus, especially those located close to campus, are becoming more walkable. It’s important to consider this when choosing the location of your new place. What is it that you like to do in the evenings? Or on the weekends?

If you're a gastronomic enthusiast, you might want to be close to the Short North, where restaurants are constantly opening up and coming up with the next exotic dish. If you enjoy venturing into local music, you might enjoy the Old North, where many bars and music halls feature local artists on a regular basis. If you love the outdoors and room to run, rollerblade, or walk your dog, you better get a place with access to the Olentangy Trail, a paved multipurpose path that stretches along the picturesque Olentangy River through the whole city. Think about your interests and hobbies and do a little research. Chances are Columbus has what you crave, and you could live right next to it.


The Olentangy Trail near West Weber Road

3. OSU’s Off-Campus Living Resources

You might be moving off campus, but that doesn't mean you’re no longer a Buckeye! On the contrary - you are now ready to make a difference both on campus and off, and Ohio State is ready to help you. The Office of Student Life provides incredible resources to help you find your first place, move in with ease, and feel happy and safe the whole year. Whether you’re hoping to find guidance throughout the whole process, or you just have a few questions, make sure you check out OSU’s Off-Campus Living resources. There you'll find a Renter’s Guide with the ABC’s of finding, choosing, and enjoying your first place. You will also see a handy Off-Campus Living Guide with tips on everything from finding a roommate, to budgeting, to getting to know fun facts about the university district neighborhoods. The Office of Student Life will even come to your new place and do a free safety inspection if you ask!

4. Don’t Isolate Yourself

As a college student, I had a few friends move way out into the suburbs of Columbus. They had good reasons like the apartment was bigger, or the apartment complex had a pool and a gym. Nevertheless, a couple months into the academic year these same people were complaining about the distance. They couldn’t stay out with friends late because it took them a while to get home, or they couldn’t go home for lunch in between classes.

While it’s important to consider all the factors that go into choosing an apartment, remember that one thing most people never regret is making the most of their college experience. Always consider the importance of being close to campus as an Ohio State student. You will meet people from different walks of life, learn from the experiences of folks from all parts of the world, get the opportunity to participate in student clubs, and enjoy campus talks, art exhibits, and music events. That pool can wait, getting the most out of your college life is what matters now.

Get started!

Investigate these Off-Campus apartments and make sure to choose “closest to campus” in the “sort by” field.


Do you live off campus, or have you in the past? Share your experiences, opinions, and things to know with others in the comment section!

About Sonya Afanasyeva: Sonya is a freelance writer based in Columbus, OH. She lives in the Clintonville neighborhood and is very familiar with renting in Columbus. Sonya has a passion for interior design and budget DIY projects. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog and figure skating.
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