The dorm experience was one of my favorite parts of freshman year, but eventually bruins feel the need to spread their wings and venture into the intimidating world of apartments. UCLA freshman are guaranteed three years of on campus housing, but many chose to move after their second or third year to apartments off campus. While leaving the community and convenience of “the hill” (what bruins call the area where student housing is located) seems overwhelming, the fact is apartment life is equally exciting.
First off, the vast majority of people living in the apartments right off campus are UCLA students. This makes the sense of bruin community strong and keeps friends close to friends. Another great component is being able to learn extremely valuable life skills (budgeting, paying bills, cooking, cleaning). It gives students the chance to transition into more “real world” living but still surrounded with the support of roommates and other UCLA students.
The most exciting part of moving to the apartments is definitely finding the place and figuring out your living situation. Unlike the dorms, which offer singles, doubles, or triples, apartments offer an endless amount of options. You can live in a studio space by yourself, a multiple room apartment, or even rent a house with a lot of friends. I have loved living off campus because it’s given me the chance to explore more of Westwood and become more self-reliant. Living in an apartment for the first time is definitely an independence landmark for many college students. The key to apartment shopping is start looking early (mid-winter quarter), know your budget, and pick reliable friends to live with. Once you find the perfect place you have the freedom to decorate and design your place. Let’s be honest the best part is definitely being able to have more than just a bedroom where you live!