Five ways to prepare your college student for apartment life

After their freshman or sophomore years, most students opt to live in apartments rather than dorms. As a parent you’re probably thinking of all that could potentially go wrong, but apartments offer students a great opportunity to learn the ropes of adulthood (cleaning, cooking, washing, paying bills, etc.), and as an added bonus, living in an apartment can be cheaper than paying for University housing. Here are a couple tips to help you assist your college student when looking for a place to live: 

Roommates

Make sure your student is comfortable living with whomever he or she is signing a lease with, as they will be living with them for an entire academic year. If he or she know they could run into problems down the road, it’s better to say no than to have to deal with problems and confrontations between the students later in the school year.

Look at various apartment options

Make sure your college student keeps their options open and looks at various apartments prior to signing. After looking at a couple places, they can then make a better-informed decision as to where they would be most comfortable living. There are many online resources for students to begin their search such as Google, or The Daily Illini’s apartment search.

Look up the landlord’s record online

There are many websites and resources available to students who want to check a landlord’s track record before signing. This should definitely be done before signing or even looking at potential housing because it’s a great way for students to cross off potential living arrangements. Not all landlords have the same records and leases tend to vary from one landlord to the next — so make sure to lookup what other students have said after having signed with a specific company or landlord.

Understanding your lease

Make sure your college student understands the terms of their apartment lease. They cannot be broken and students are liable for paying the full amount by a specified date (usually the first of each month). If students need help understanding the terms of their lease, the University’s Tenant Union in the Illini Union offers free help and is able to explain to students what the specifics of the lease are before they sign.

Dates matter

Let your college student know that rent is always due by a certain date, and if it is not in by then, there will more likely than not be a late fee. Calling to ensure your student has paid monthly rent is a great way to avoid late fees and gives you an excuse to call and check up on them as well.

Bryan can be reached [email protected] or on Twitter @bryanboccelli.