When Jalen Marcus opened his inbox one morning, he felt his anxiety spike. Housing applications for on-campus lodging were going to open soon.
“It seemed too early,” Marcus said. “Lots of students would like to move off-campus, such as myself, but many of those decisions can’t really be final until later in the year.”
With around 7,000 students on campus, students must apply and fight to get a dorm, on-campus apartment or search for a rental within the area.
Junior television and broadcast journalism major Julie Brown said the decision to fight for a spot on-campus was her situation last year.
“It was really difficult to get an apartment my sophomore year and I figured it would be even more difficult to get on-campus housing as a junior,” Brown said. “So I decided to not even bother.”
To get on-campus housing after freshman year, students must submit applications and housing will be assigned as space permits, says the Housing and Residence Life website. The current housing options for returning students include Morlan, Glass, Sandhu, Davis, Harris and Panther Village.
As hard as on-campus housing can be to procure, finding a house or apartment off-campus can be equally challenging. The best way to find a rental is to begin looking early, Brown said.
“We started looking casually online around January, but seriously started visiting places in March,” Brown said. “My mom helped a lot because she gave us specific questions to ask at each location. It was super helpful because I don’t have a very good understanding of anything related to finance.”
For students like Brown, Chapman has created “A Guide to Living Off-Campus,” which can be found on the Housing and Residence Life website.
Tips include questions to ask landlords, like “Who pays the utilities?,” “Who controls the heat?” and “Are all locks working?” The guide also lists different housing rental sites to search to aid students in finding places to live.
When beginning the search to move off-campus, junior public relations and advertising major Jessica Nawrocki said she struggled to find something that was both close to campus and affordable.
“I had trouble finding something in me and my roommates price range,” Nawrocki said. “We ended up having to start to pay rent in March of last year just to secure a spot in a place even though neither of us were going to move in until May.”
Donna Garrett, realtor at Seven Gables Real Estate, said that students should start looking early, but may not be able to find rentals easily.
“Towards the end of the semester is when things start to become more available,” Garrett said.
With the struggling relationship between Chapman students and neighbors of Orange, some students may be concerned about housing becoming limited, but Garrett said they shouldn’t worry.
“I don’t think landlords would stop renting to college students,” Garrett said. “That’s their bread and butter.”
As for Marcus, he can’t wait to get off campus.
“I’m 21 now and I would like to feel like I’m living like my age,” Marcus said. “Having my own kitchen or having more freedom to move furniture, or even just have groups of people over would be awesome.”