Campus residence halls
Campus residence halls are all about convenience. Their full cleaning staff, close proximity to campus and included meal plans mean reduced obligations that will give you that much more time to worry about your upcoming midterm. But all this convenience comes at a cost. With rent ranging from about $1,300 to $1,800 per month, they’re one of the pricier options for housing — especially considering that you’re likely paying for a single room that probably contains one or two other people. For those who value their wallet or their personal space, residence halls are often not the best option. Nevertheless, communal bathrooms, lounges and laundry rooms make living in the residence halls an inherently social experience. For many students, close quarters mean that residence hall floors become their community at UC Berkeley. You won’t even have to put effort into finding new friends because you’ll probably run into them just walking out of the shower.
If you’re looking to integrate into not only a community but also a thriving social life, you should consider living in Greek housing. The majority of sororities and fraternities are situated near Piedmont Avenue, which students walk up and down to various exchanges, invites and game day parties. . Living on “Frat Row” gives you access to not only a great party scene, but also a prime location for walking to Dwinelle, Pimentel and all your other favorite lecture halls. Additionally, the houses are all very large and beautiful, much more spacious than Berkeley’s typical, overpriced apartment. The overall costs often range anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 annually— including housing, food, cleaning services and more. Living in helps incorporate you further into your house and bring you closer to your fellow brothers and sisters. Sororities and fraternities can truly become your home away from home.
Ah, finally, the sweet taste of independence! With your own apartment, there is no one planning your meals for you, but you can actually have your own kitchen. There is no one who will sweep the floors, but you can decide exactly when to do the chores — just don’t let those dishes pile up. Where does the sofa go? How are you going to decorate the walls? When can guests stay over? These are just a few of the dozens of decisions you get to make on your own.
But remember, you will have to work hard and prove that you are ready for this independence. Even at the heightened stress of midterm season, you’ll be responsible for cleaning the kitchen after a meal. And you’ll be responsible for maintaining good relationships with your roommates and neighbors — there won’t be any RAs to mediate your conflicts this time. If you are up to the challenge, you can have all of this for approximately $600 to $1,400 a month.
There’s nothing like coming home after a long day of school to a home-cooked meal shared by up to 100 of your housemates from the Berkeley Student Cooperative. With the BSC, you can move into a variety of different housing options, such as Oscar Wilde House, a 38-person LGBTQIA and queer-themed house on Southside, or Cloyne Court, a 140-person substance-free house and former hotel on Northside. Each week, members are required to contribute five hours of work to maintain their houses, which often takes the form of cooking dinner, washing dishes or cleaning the house. Living in the co-ops will cost you up to $7,000 per year — one of the cheapest housing options on campus. But the appeal of the co-ops is in more than just the cost: In living, socializing and sharing work duties with your fellow co-opers, you’ll become part of a community.