4 Things to Know Before Moving Off Campus at the University of Florida

By Samantha Tetrault | January 31, 2018

Over half of the students at the University of Florida in Gainesville choose to live off-campus. With so many different apartment communities to choose from, there is something for all budgets and lifestyles. Whether this is your first semester or your last, there are some things to know before you go ahead and sign a lease for off-campus living at the University of Florida.

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GRTS buses transport and drop students off around campus

1. Finding the right transportation

A lot of students choose to live off campus at UF for the freedom, but with that freedom comes some challenges. It’s no secret that the parking situation in Gainesville is more than a little bit frustrating. While off-campus students can purchase a parking decal, there is still no guarantee of actually being able to find a spot on campus in time for your classes. There is street and garage parking available in Midtown, but that usually means walking 15+ minutes in the Florida heat.

Luckily, most off-campus housing is located near the Gainesville Regional Transportation System (GRTS) bus line which can take the stress out of commuting to campus. Most routes on the GRTS run every 15 to 30 minutes and all you need is your Gator1 ID card. Before moving off campus, check the GRTS schedule and routes to see if your off-campus housing is near a stop.

2. Location is everything

Gainesville is bigger than you might think, and there are a lot of different apartment communities located throughout the area that cater to college students. It’s important to choose the right location for your individual needs. If you don’t plan on having a car, you’ll want to live near campus. Midtown and Sorority Row, for instance, are located within walking and biking distance of campus. However, other popular choices like Archer Road or West Gainsville would be hard to navigate without a car.

It’s also worth noting whether you prefer to live in a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood like the tree-lined streets of Northwest Gainesville, or if you are excited by the nightlife of places like Downtown Gainesville. If you know you need your Volta coffee fix before class each day, make sure you’re within walking distance! Always read the reviews for off-campus listings to see if the community is a good fit for your needs.

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The Hub at UF offers several options for on-campus dining

3. Meal plan

The biggest adjustment for most students when moving off campus is having to prepare their own meals! Luckily, UF has a variety of meal plan options, many of which are perfect for students moving off campus for the first time. If you know you won’t be eating all your meals on campus, but you’re still not ready to commit to cooking your own meals full-time, you have options as a UF student.

A popular choice for off-campus students is to set up a declining balance plan on campus. The declining balance plan allows you to set your own limits, and it can be used at all 45 campus food locations including Starbucks, Einstein Bagels, and Chick-Fil-A. Though you might plan to cook all your own meals at home, the declining balance plan is great even just for grabbing a sandwich between classes or treating yourself to coffee before a big study session.

4. Furnishing your new place

One of the most exciting parts of moving off campus is getting to decorate your new place however you wish! Long gone are the days of dorm putty tape and strict restrictions. Nevertheless, purchasing all new furniture can get pricey quickly, and what are you supposed to do with the furniture after the semester is over or when you graduate?

One option is to look for apartments that come fully or partially furnished. A lot of communities around UF know college students don’t usually have the time or budget to furnish their own places from scratch, and furniture can often be included or rented for an extra cost. If you’re a budding interior designer and you want more freedom in your furnishings, there are some other ways to snag bargain furniture and appliances. For instance, the UF class Facebook page is a great place to find used furniture, and the best time to shop is when graduating seniors are moving out at the end of each semester.

Off-Campus Living at UF

Living off campus is a great way to explore Gainesville. There is a reason so many students choose to live out of the dorms, and the Gainesville community is a welcoming place to call home while studying at UF. Discover the best off-campus apartment communities for your off-campus transition with the ForRentUniversity guide to choosing a pad at the University of Florida.

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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 Samantha Tetrault: Samantha is a full-time writer in Orlando, FL. When not exploring her home state, she blogs about college and post-grad life.
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