The ‘Who’ and ‘Where’ of Graduate Living

This post is for Alice – and for all you other AU ’12 MAccers out there who were too shy to ask about finding a roomie!

Finding a roomie can be a tough task, especially when you’re new to campus.  You’re so excited to start the MAcc program and there are a lot of other things to think about, so finding that perfect roommate that you’ll be living with for an entire year and finding that perfect apartment can just add to the rush of it all.  Well, take comfort in knowing that the whole purpose of this post is to help you figure allllll of that out!

Let’s start with location:  Alice asked where most Fisher grad students live, and I’m not sure there’s really a great “here” answer.  What I can do though, is provide some insight on popular areas and why they are popular!  To begin, Fisher grad students have access to Fisher Commons, which are some really nice university-affiliated apartments on the corner of Lane Ave and Kenny Rd (this will make perfect sense once you’re familiar with the area).  These apartments are close to campus, but not necessarily walking distance.

Anything that’s on “North Campus” is very convenient for Fisher students.  This area is what is north of Lane Avenue, and includes streets such as Norwich, Northwood, and Oakland.  You’ll find a combination of apartments and houses for rent in these areas, all of which are close enough to Fisher that you can walk to and from class every day.  There are fun restaurants north of campus, too, which makes going out with friends easy and convenient.  Check out the Blue Danube, for instance.

South Campus is less convenient, but offers a totally different experience than North Campus.  On South Campus, you’ll have a good 15+ minute walk to class everyday, but I’ve been doing it for the past three years and have never had any trouble with it.  I wouldn’t recommend living further south than 8th Avenue, unless you skip a few streets and go into what is considered Victorian Village.  I’ve found that a lot of the apartments and houses on South Campus tend to be nicer in terms of upkeep, but sometimes are more expensive for this reason.  I’ve always felt incredibly safe on South Campus, too.  A huge bonus of South Campus is that you’re right by the South Campus Gateway, which has restaurants, bars, and a movie theater, as well as the campus Barnes and Noble.  You’re also pretty darn close to the Short North and downtown Columbus, so a night out is easy access.

For both North and South campus, you’ll want to check out what some of the area landlords have to offer.  I’d recommend Inn Town Homes and Apartments, and some others that I’ve heard of are Buckeye Real Estate and Pella.

Be sure to check out a few prior posts on housing to get other perspectives too!  Here are a few…

The Key to Graduate Housing

Fisher Commons – No Left Turn!

The Pros and Cons of South Campus Living

Village, District, Whatever the Name, They’re All Great!

Now – on to roomies.  Alice specifically mentioned finding roomies that are also prospective MAcc students, but note that you don’t have to live with someone from your program.  There’s a chance you’ll take MBA classes, so living with MBAs might not be a bad idea!  Just something to consider.

One of the best ways to find a roommate is to join and/or create a group for MAcc 2012-2013 students on Facebook.  In the admitted student gateway you can see the names and profiles of admitted students – go ahead and creep to find them on Facebook, then invite them to the group!  (And if you haven’t already uploaded your profile to the “Admitted MAcc Profiles” section of the gateway website, be sure you do so!) You’ll all be looking for roommates, so this will give you a place to talk and figure out if you’re roomie-material.

Speaking of the admitted student gateway, there is always a bulletin board in the gateway that is dedicated to helping students find roommates.  Be sure to take advantage of this!  Some MAccers won’t have a Facebook, or might join the group a little late.  Every MAcc student should be looking at the bulletin boards immediately though, so this might be a faster and more reliable method to find your roomie.  There will also be a Google Group that is dedicated to housing available through the gateway – take advantage of this resource too!

My biggest piece of advice is to simply not be shy.  Get on the gateway, find some other AU ’12 MAcc students and send them an email.  Go grab lunch to get to know each other – if things go well, you’ve found a roommate.  If things aren’t great, you’ve at least met a classmate which will still be extremely helpful in the very near future!  Don’t be hesitant to look at multiple apartments or houses when you call a leasing office – the first one you find probably won’t be your favorite.  There are a lot of great living spaces in the area, but there are some nasty ones too.  Take your time to make a good decision, because you’ll be there for a year.

Good luck!

Renters Be Warned

This post is a follow-up to “The Key to Graduate Housing” post I wrote last year.  As turns out, when you live in a college town, beware before renting.  I beg you: learn from my mistakes.

1. If your sixth sense tells you there is something wrong, LISTEN and go somewhere else.

I should have known better.  From the moment I met my last landlord, I knew he was shady.  There was just something a tad slippery about his general nature.  Unfortunately, I was wooed by the prospect of living in a rather large apartment in a good location for a decent price – with my washer & dryer.  I was located near the Giant Eagle in Grandview in a 1000 square foot apartment with rent of $695/month.  Living with a roommate took my rent cost to approx $350/month.  It was a good deal… or so it seemed.

2. If your landlord does not have a rental office, THINK TWICE before renting.

Without a rental office, you’re basically left at the mercy of the landlord.  You have to drop rent off or mail it and you have no way to prove that you paid it on time.  It’s your word against his.  There is also no guarantee how fast your concerns will be addressed, if at all.  If something is broken, that might not get fixed quickly either.  No office means no staff… and probably skimping on all expenses.

3. Read the fine print.

Check out the lease document in detail.  If there is an attachment containing a laundry-list of items with a cost of replacement, be prepared to have to pay for any or all of them.  Even if the apartment is dirty when you move in, you will be penalized for any dirt you leave behind.  Why do you think they require a full month’s rent as a deposit?  Don’t plan to ever see it again; the landlord may do all he can to keep it.  In my case, I was sent the lovely letter attached here for your reading pleasure.  (two words: spelling, grammar)  As you can see, there is an itemized list of things that I could not prove were fine/not broken/in good condition when I vacated the apartment.  I’m an idiot and did not walk through the apartment when turning in keys.

4. Make sure you walk through the apartment with the landlord when vacating and turning in your keys.

I should have listened more closely to the Moving Out directions given to students by the Office of Student Life.  They specifically mentioned doing a walk through when vacating.  I thought they were probably over-reacting.  They are not.  Do it… especially if item #1 (listed above) applies in your situation.

5. If it seems to good to be true, there is a good chance it is.

See if you can get references on the landlord before renting.  Also check online to see if there are any comments listed about them.  If you are renting from an individual without references, you might be taking your chances.  In my case, this individual plays the system.  He knows the amount he charges for move out expenses is small enough to fall into small claims court which is probably not worth your trouble.  He also knows that it is difficult to share reviews on an individual landlord without a rental office.  He takes advantage of college kids and probably has done so for years.  As I mentioned to him in a follow up “thank you” note, I believe in karma.

So, there you have it.  There are plenty of good landlords out there I’m sure.  If this helps anyone avoid a bad situation, I’m happy to help.  It’s certainly not the end of the world but $500 is a lot of money when living on student loans.  Hopefully you fare better than I did.

The Key to Graduate Housing

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  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.


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. 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. 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. 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!

University Area Map