We are almost finished with spring quarter and I am shocked by how rapidly my first year ended. With its end, so arrives the end of my apartment lease. My roommate and I have decided to move. We get along well, enjoy living together (will for another year), and desire a nicer apartment. After hunting for a few days, we found our new abode, signed our new lease, and will move at the beginning of July.
The Class of 2011 will soon receive their MBAs and many will depart from Columbus, starting new lives beyond b-school and vacating many apartments. The new 2013 class of full-time MBAs is slowly but surely gathering on Facebook and has already entered into a variety of discussions. As I watch passively, I am reminded how clueless they are . . . which is totally normal. To help them out (as well as any of you considering a full-time program), here’s a quick checklist along with several resources to get you started “apartment hunting”.
1. PROXIMITY: “Location. Location. Location!” To live a happy grad school life, do not underestimate this critical decision. Be as close to campus as possible – but not so close that you’re surrounded by undergrads. The closer you live to campus, the easier it is to stop home and grab a bite to eat, change clothes, or take a nap.
Specific to Columbus: This is not Cleveland although it also snows here from November through April. A “normal” commute from one place to the next is 15-20 minutes; a 30 minute drive is a long commute.
Specific to Fisher: It is easy to find housing within three miles of campus so your door-to-door travel time is approx 15 minutes. Arriving late to class is a BAD idea. If you are not a morning person, find a place near Fisher. If you do not have a car, find a place near High Street or one of the main campus bus routes.
2. COST: Keep things reasonable especially if you will assume student loan debt to pay for b-school. If you live like you’re rich now, you’ll have to live like you’re poor later. Want a nicer place? Get a roommate.
Specific to Columbus: If you live alone, plan to spend around $600/month for a decent place to live. Any lower than that means you are sacrificing something (i.e. location, amenities, safety, privacy, peace & quiet). Make sure you know what you are sacrificing. With a roommate or a shared living arrangement (like a boarding house), you can find reasonable living accommodations for $350/person/month.
Specific to Fisher: If you’re not receiving housing assistance . . . or if you’re not independently wealthy, you’re smart to find a roommate to split expenses. Use Facebook, the Graduate Housing Google Group, or OSU’s Off-Campus Student Services Roommate Search.
3. COMMUNITY: Do your research and ensure the type of community you live in matches your lifestyle. You may want a family-friendly community with a yard, an urban landscape, a quiet community, or a communal area crawling with students. The better the match the happier you will be.
Specific to Columbus: There are areas that cater to each lifestyle choice. Some research online will help you determine what’s best for you. One good site to use is www.metro-rentals.com. They explain the various communities here and provide a link to the suburbs in case that may interest you.
Specific to Fisher: You will be busy . . . so, unless you like to study at the Library (which incidentally is very nice), figure you will need an atmosphere at home that allows you to study. Choose wisely and don’t get hung up on a bunch of amenities; there’s no need to pay for a bunch of extras you won’t use. The RPAC and ARC blow away any apartments’ workout facilities.
HOUSING RESOURCES for Fisher MBAs:
Fisher Commons is an option available to Fisher MBAs and is great for camaraderie . . . which means you’ll sacrifice a bit on privacy. Football tailgates are a norm in season and pre-event festivities are common in the courtyard. Residents are primarily MBAs but not exclusively, other grad students (law, med, etc) call it home too. Rent is relatively expensive without housing assistance but moving and commuting are made easy.
OSU Off-Campus Housing Services provides rental information, lease assistance, roommate contracts, roommate search support, and other helpful information to consider when moving to the OSU campus area.
www.metro-rentals.com is a website that lists various independent rentals available in various areas of town. It includes a description of communities around the city as well as a link to suburban rentals.
www.padmapper.com is a handy website that scans Craig’s List and other apartment posting sites and displays the results visually on a map. You can filter the results and easily stay informed of new rental opportunities as they become available. It’s also offered as an app for your smart phone.
www.apartmentratings.com is another handy website to peruse before renting in a local apartment community. Sometimes you don’t always get what you pay for – this site helps advise you. It’s important to realize the audience is self-selected. The massively disgruntled will find the time to post commentary. Some fans post reviews as well . . . it’s up to you to filter through the info available and make an informed decision.
My final advice: the shaded areas on this map will be filled with undergrads because they are in walking distance of campus. As a b-school student, I encourage you to explore the Outside University District areas.
Good luck and see you in the fall!