I know what a daunting thing it is to start looking for off-campus housing. As I mentioned in a previous post, the earlier you look for apartments, the easier it will be for you.
There are many, many factors to consider. How much can I afford? Who will I live with? How far away is this from class? How far away is this from a grocery store, now that I actually need to cook for myself?
My friend recently introduced me to a really neat tool called PadMapper that could really help in finding an apartment amidst all those questions.
After searching UCLA, Westwood in the address bar, I was transported to a map of Westwood with a variety of rental listings. I could filter listings by price, number of bedrooms, and even see a place’s proximity to grocery stores and nightlife. It was also really helpful to compare the apartment listing’s price to the median price of the neighborhood, just to make sure I wasn’t getting ripped off. I could share saved listings with my future apartment mates, and more importantly, could see how close I was going to be to my friends and to my classes on campus. The user-interface made it easy for me to navigate, and I found myself wishing that I had known about this tool when I was looking for apartments.
While I definitely recommend that new first-years or third-year-transfers live on campus to truly experience UCLA’s community, I also know that there are students out there who might be seeking an alternative. Moving to a foreign place can be daunting, so I would definitely encourage that newbies to the area utilize tools like PadMapper. Scouting out the terrain beforehand to make sure your new home is nicely located will be well worth it in the long run. I was lucky enough to have found a great apartment with the help of older friends; I’ve definitely heard horror stories of other students who have been trapped in leases with rent almost twice as much as mine. Ouch.
In short, when you decide that it is time to move off-campus, take a look at tools like PadMapper that make the whole process easier.
*PadMapper is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the University of California Los Angeles.