Student Accommodation in the US

Learn the different types of accommodation available for international students in the US.

In this article:

University dormitories (dorms): 

This is one of the most popular accommodation options for international students. Dormitories are generally located on the university’s campus and provide all the basic amenities. 

Most universities offer different accommodation plans for students. This usually includes single or shared rooms on a catered or non-catered basis. You can visit your university’s website and choose the one that works for you.

Typical amenities & facilities: 

  • Single/shared rooms

  • Basic furnishing ( beds, study tables, chairs, lights. etc.) 

  • Wi-Fi 

  • Catered meals (this varies depending on the university and the accommodation plan)

By choosing dorms for the first year of your studies, you will have time to get used to the place before staying on your own outside the campus. You will also have the opportunity to mingle and make more friends on campus.

Fraternities and sororities:

Fraternities and sororities are more than just accommodation options. They offer much more and require strict commitment and time from your side. 

Most universities’ panhellenic council (body in charge of fraternities and sororities houses) will host a rush week at the beginning of the semester. You can check the different houses and their principles. You can then put in your bids (apply) after you shortlist the houses you like. The fraternity/sorority members will go through your profile and give you an offer if they like you. 

This process is strenuous, and it might take the entire first semester to receive an offer from the houses. You will also have to pay membership fees, and you will have to pitch in for organising social events hosted by the house.

Typical amenities and facilities:

  • Single/shared rooms
  • Common areas (living room, kitchen, etc.)
  • Support of fellow members
  • Connections of senior house members
  • Opportunities to volunteer in the charities the house hosts

For more on this, read “Go Greek - Your guide to Greek life in the USA.”

Rented/leased apartments:

If you prefer to be more independent, you can rent or lease an apartment near your campus. There are many free real estate websites and mobile applications that assist international students looking for an apartment. 

The cost of living can vary dramatically based on location, apartment size and available amenities. Many students choose this type of accommodation after completing the first year of their education as they can share the apartment with friends. 

Typical amenities & facilities:

  • Bedrooms
  • Fully furnished with essentials
  • Kitchens and communal areas

You will have to sign a rental/lease agreement before occupying the apartment. Make sure to read the agreement carefully before signing. You can also get someone who is familiar with legal jargon to read it. 

Note: Don’t forget to take the additional costs of food and transportation while planning your living expenses.

Homestay:

This type of accommodation is apt for those worried about feeling homesick. If you choose this option, you will be set up with an American family near your university. You can stay with them at their house. You will have your own room, and food will generally be provided. 

Some universities will assist international students in finding homestay options. If your university doesn’t, you will have to research and look for external assistance.

Typical amenities & facilities:

  • Single rooms
  • Meals 
  • Guidance of an American family