5 Things to Keep in Mind When Renting Off Campus

November, like every other month, is an exciting time at Ohio State. Between the semester starting to wrap up, Beat Michigan Week, and Thanksgiving, there’s plenty to do this month on and off campus. Something else that’s exciting, but can also be incredibly stressful, is figuring out where you want to live next year.

“But Andy!” you say, “I remember move-in day like it was yesterday.  And now you expect me to already think about where I want to live next year?!”

Well anonymous voice, the good news is that if you’re choosing to return to campus and live in a residence hall again, your housing contract isn’t even issued until second semester, so you have plenty of time to decide on specifics. However, if you want to live off campus, now is the time to start looking for housing. Most rental companies are already giving tours and signing leases, so it’s in your best interest to get started now. After all, you want plenty of options when looking for your dream apartment!

Here are five essentials to keep in mind as you begin your off-campus search.

1. Establish a Price Range (and Keep Utilities and Furnishings in Mind)

To many, price is the most important criterion when looking for an apartment or house. After all, college isn’t cheap, and housing is one of the most expensive things you’ll spend your money on besides tuition. Most leasing companies allow you to search properties by cost on their website, so determine the amount you’re willing to spend every month and begin your search from there. Remember, most landlords are going to ask you to sign a lease for a full year going through the summer, so take into account an extra three months rent if you’re going to move back home. Also, don’t forget about the less obvious fees such as monthly utilities and furnishing your apartment.

2. Figure Out Your Ideal Location

There are plenty of options in terms of location depending on what is most convenient for you. If you’re a business major, consider staying north so you don’t have to walk too far to get to your classes. If being close to the Chipotle on High Street is a deal-breaker, think about staying closer to south campus.  There are even rental locations far away from campus that are available if you don’t mind driving in or taking the bus every day! If you decide to go that route, factor in the cost of a parking pass if you plan to drive to campus.

3. Don’t Forget About Laundry!

As a student in a residence hall, all it takes to do laundry is loading up your BuckID and walking down to the laundry room. However, it’s not always that simple when it comes to off-campus housing. When you look at a house, don’t forget to check whether or not there’s a laundry hookup, a common laundry area, or no laundry at all. Chances are you won’t want to have to walk or drive to a laundromat where you’re going to have to pay a higher rate than campus laundry for every load.

4. Take Full Advantage of the USG’s Renter’s Guide

Every year, OSU’s Undergraduate Student Government publishes a Renter’s Guide that provides extensive data and reviews on most rental companies with properties near campus. The guide is based on student responses to questions on topics such as rental cost and how satisfied the student was with the property and landlord. This is undoubtedly the most reliable way to learn about different landlords in the area, and with it you can see a list to compare different realty companies.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Ask OSU Student Legal Services to Look Over Your Lease

A lease is a legal contract, so once you sign it you’re obligated to follow it and are bound to its terms for the stated length. This is probably one of the first, if not the first, legal contract you’ve ever had to sign — so you want to be absolutely sure you understand and agree with everything listed, such as whether or not the landlord can increase your rent during the year you’re leasing and whether or not you have to buy something like renter’s insurance. OSU Student Legal Services staffs trained legal professionals who are here to help you, and chances are you already paid for their services in your yearly tuition.

Don’t end up with a landlord like this!

University Motto: Education for Citizenship

Happy April! Finals are at the end of the month and summer is nearly upon us, and I hope you take a look back at the fond memories you made and the experiences you shared during your first year at Ohio State. Things that come to mind probably include Welcome Week activities, athletic events, spending time with friends, and the occasional trip into the city of Columbus. You’ve learned the words to Carmen Ohio, the quickest way to get to each class, which foods are best used to fill up a meal plan block, and almost everything there is to know about Ohio State. However, I’m willing to bet you won’t recognize the following words:

Disciplina in civitatem

Will Ferrell Gif

Those Latin words are the university motto, which can be found inscribed on the Ohio State seal.

SealSeal 2Seal 3

Seals: Cases A, B, and C

In English, it reads as “Education for Citizenship”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that universities had mottoes. The ones that do range from “Gladly we Learn and Teach” at Illinois State University to “To Persevere and Excel” at New York University.

Maybe I’m biased, but I think that our motto knocks all the other mottoes out of the park. What’s different about Ohio State’s motto is that it calls upon us to be leaders; it calls upon us to use what we have learned here in our four years to change the world. As Ohio State students, and one day graduates, we are bound by duty to use what we learned here to be model citizens, and to make everywhere we go a better place than it was when we first arrived.

Now before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s focus on small achievements, little things that we can do incrementally to live out the university motto, “Education for Citizenship”.


Here’s looking at you, William Oxley Thompson

1. Volunteer

One of the best things about Ohio State is that there are dozens of ways for you to volunteer and give back to the community. In fact, if you take a casual walk through a residence hall, you will probably see posters advertising future events for organizations such as Circle K, Pay it Forward, and Buck-I-Serv. And who can forget Community Commitment and the MLK Day of Service, which happen on the same day EVERY YEAR? Other opportunities can be found easily online through a website dedicated to service such as volunteercentralohio.org.

2. Be a Positive Influence, Be a Mentor

With standards rising for each and every incoming freshman class, the students of Ohio State are now some of the brightest and well-regarded students in the nation. With this success comes responsibility. So whether it’s a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance you barely know, chances are that someone in your life looks up to you and recognizes you as a person they want to model themselves after. If you recognize someone that needs a little help in any aspect of their life, take a minute or two to talk with them. Help them along their path just like someone has probably helped you along yours. The influence we have on our peers is astounding; take advantage of that fact to make a positive impact.

3. Make your voice heard! Vote!

The fact of the matter is that young people tend not to vote, as they usually don’t think that their vote will really matter. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! We are fortunate to experience democracy at all levels at Ohio State, and students are asked to make their voices heard on a number of local, state, and national issues on a regular basis. Voting is one of the easiest ways for you to turn your beliefs into action. Whether it’s the yearly election for Undergraduate Student Government or the presidential election every four, take time out of your schedule to learn about the issues and then go and vote!