The University of Wollongong (UOW) provides students with the opportunity to live in On-Campus residence. Currently, UOW offers nine residential campuses to students: International House, Campus East, Kooloobong Village, Marketview, Weerona College, Keiraview, Gundi, The Manor, and Graduate House. Undergraduates dominate the first five campuses in comparison to the others who are inhabited by Post-Graduates. Many students say one of the best parts of the university experience is living in a residence. Rarely will you have the chance to live in a community that has people from so many walks of life and countries.
Currently, I am continuing my stay for the second year at Campus East as an Undergraduate student. I also obtained one from the twenty Residential Advisor positions at the campus. Being in this position has encouraged me to investigate how first year students feel when moving onto campus and their thoughts about living in this community lifestyle. It was these thoughts that led me to the research question I would like to investigate: The Reasons Why Students’ Choose to Live On-Campus or Off-Campus. This year at Campus East, out of the 616 residents living on-campus, 406 residents are first year on-campus students. This statistic was surprising to me and I would like to investigate the reasons why students chose to live on-campus as well as examine why ex-residents chose to move off-campus.
When considering this research question, I discovered an academic paper looking at the differences between on-campus and off-campus living environments in Malaysia (Hilmy, Karim, Abdullah, 2012). The study proposed that students living off-campus were faced with huge challenges associated with their living environment, especially in terms of continuing their university enrolments. The paper strongly argues that students that have “a positive experience with on-campus living are more likely to see their program through to completion and have increased ratification with their overall university experience” (Hilmy, Karim, Abdullah, 2012). Conversely, an article written for ‘The Wall Street Journal’ by Mattioli emphasises the positives of living off-campus. The arguments proposed were that you have more freedom by not having any rules or restrictions e.g. dry/alcohol free campuses, limited guests etc. Another point made in favour was having a larger living space for less money and the perks of having a backyard and living room provides a “homey feel.” With my research I intend to investigate both positive and negative aspects of on-campus and off-campus living and draw conclusions to the reasons why students chose their living arrangements.
Further research of the topic, led me to discover various articles that covered the debate of on-campus versus off-campus living. However, these articles were mainly written by bloggers or by university websites. This allows for a misrepresentation of information and possible bias in promoting on-campus living as the university publishes it. Harvard University has an online forum titled ‘Off-Campus Housing’ (Harvard University, 2013), this particular website has posted the results from a student poll asking “What is the off-campus selection like near campus and is it worth it?” Reponses were in favour of living on-campus, as 52% of participants voted for “Not worth the hassle or expense. Everyone just lives on campus.” However, this information doesn’t represent the majority of students as it was based off a total of 46 responses. Moreover, these statistics are from an American University, thus researching this topic would be feasible, as I would be conducting surveys from Australian students that may conclude with differing results.
In conducting my research, my methodology would be to use a sampling procedure and survey. The categories I intend to investigate are students’ living condition, students’ social activities, community facilities and services, cost of living, and students’ preference. Within each category would be related questions e.g. “How satisfied are you with?” The survey would be taken by an equal amount of on-campus and off-campus participants. The aim of the survey is to establish the reasons why students chose to live in particular environments and whether it is contributing positively or negatively to their wellbeing in mental, academic, and social aspects.
The accessibility of on-campus and off-campus students allows for this research project to gage a high number of opinions. By producing specified questions targeting the satisfaction of living environments, I will be able to form a conclusion as to the reasons why students choose their accommodation. Previous research has been conducted outside of Australia on the topic, therefore by specifically targeting the area of Wollongong it permits for this research question to be feasible as it is adding onto and comparing to international university’s results.
Hilmy Muslim, H. Abdul Karim, I. Che Abdullah. 2012. Procedia- Social and Behavioural Sciences. Volume 68. Pages 601-614. Satisfaction of Students’ Living Environments between On-Campus and Off-Campus Settings: A Conceptual Overview. Available from: http://ac.els-cdn.com/S1877042812057357/1-s2.0-S1877042812057357-main.pdf?_tid=9c91eae6-ef3d-11e5-93e0-00000aacb35e&acdnat=1458548540_953d4c820efb4176ed3caf8f4037acff [23 March 2016]
Mattioli. 2007. The Wall Street Journal. The Pros and Cons Of Living Off Campus. Available from: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB120898005900739107 [23 March 2016]
Harvard University. 2013. Niche. Harvard University: Off-Campus Housing. Available from: https://colleges.niche.com/harvard-university/off–campus-housing/ [24 March 2016]