Housing?

guthria
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Housing?

Postby guthria » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:52 am

How do internationals usually arrange for housing and stuff?
Most universities have some on-campus grad housing, but often they say its limited and you might not get it even if you apply.

Since I've never lived in the US, I am not even sure what kind of things to look for in looking for an apartment / house that I could rent with other people.

Is it normal practice to come to the University first, and stay with a senior or someone for a week or so, while looking for your own place? Hotels would be too expensive for me, and most internationals, I would imagine.

Anyone who applied last year, and had to deal with this, have any helpful tips?

Thanks!

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Housing?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:39 am

guthria wrote:How do internationals usually arrange for housing and stuff?
Most universities have some on-campus grad housing, but often they say its limited and you might not get it even if you apply.

Since I've never lived in the US, I am not even sure what kind of things to look for in looking for an apartment / house that I could rent with other people.

Is it normal practice to come to the University first, and stay with a senior or someone for a week or so, while looking for your own place? Hotels would be too expensive for me, and most internationals, I would imagine.

Anyone who applied last year, and had to deal with this, have any helpful tips?

Thanks!


To be honest, I think this is the most difficult part in the whole graduate school process. Of course, for someone who has moved multiple times it may not be. However, regardless if one is an international or domestic student, there is a pretty good chance they will have barely seen the area they are moving to. There are a few things I would suggest:

1. On-campus housing is generally more expensive than signing a lease on an apartment, but there are some incentives of living in this housing. You are closer to campus and typically the "lease" terms are more generous than an apartment complex. They are usually not a year long, but instead run with the school schedule, meaning that by next summer you'll be able to move out into an apartment that will probably be cheaper. Also, breaking lease on campus housing is usually cheaper than on an apartment complex (although make sure you check on each school). If this is so, it may be best just to set up on-campus housing for the fall semester until you can find a cheaper apartment for the spring semester. At some places, even with the lease penalty, this may be the better option. However, the problem with on-campus housing is that it fills up fast. So if you've already decided on the school you want to go to, or have limited it down to a few schools, I highly suggest you get in contact with housing RIGHT NOW.

2. Another good option is to contact the department you will be attending and asking if any other incoming students or current graduate students are looking for roommates. You could ask them to email your inquiry to the graduate students in hope that one will have an open bedroom, or possibly be searching for a new apartment themselves. Of course, you'll end up with roommate/s that you don't know very well, but you'll probably be stuck in that situation regardless, and at least these ones will be interested in the same stuff you are!

3. If these two options fail, you're stuck searching for an apartment by yourself. Generally, I do not think it is typical that a senior or another student will let you stay with them for a week while looking for an apartment. Of course, again you could contact the department about this, but I doubt it's general practice at most schools to do this. If you can not stay with another student, it is best for you to stay in a hotel for a night or two to give you time to look at your options for apartments. Trust me, as much as a hotel will cost for a night or two, it won't cost as much as making a bad decision on an apartment where you sign a lease for a year or more.

4. If you're accepted as a research assistant, you can always sleep in the lab.

-Riley

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satyad18
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Re: Housing?

Postby satyad18 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:28 am

guthria wrote:How do internationals usually arrange for housing and stuff?

This is a question thats troubling me too.
Apart from what WhoaNonstop has suggested, is it really possible to get a room using the craigslist? If yes, is it reliable?

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grae313
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Re: Housing?

Postby grae313 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:29 pm

Yup, I and many others have used craigslist. In fact, I don't think I've ever found a rental property with anything other than craigslist and I've been living on my own for over a decade now. The difficulty comes in not being able to see a place first if you are moving far away, so you just have to do your best with pictures and with the vibe you get communicating with the landlord. The old saying, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" should be kept in mind, so find something that makes sense price-wise with the other listings for that area of similar quality and you should be just fine. Your department is also likely to send you a packet that includes advice on finding housing, such as things to ask and be careful of. You can also ask current grad students what the best neighborhoods are.

As for finding roommates, eventually your department should send you a list of all of the other incoming students and their email addresses. This is a great opportunity to organize shared housing with other first-years, so email them. Also, my department sends out housing availability with current physics grad students to the incoming class so if you don't get any emails of that nature, email your admissions secretary and ask.

I know only a few incoming students who stayed in campus housing and all of them invariably left after their lease was up. Everyone else found a place either on craigslist (a studio/one bedroom or shared with other first years that they emailed), or with openings with current grad students.

TheBeast
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Re: Housing?

Postby TheBeast » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:36 pm

satyad18 wrote: is it really possible to get a room using the craigslist? If yes, is it reliable?


Craigslist is an excellent resource. However, I would be cautious to agree to a lease or make a firm commitment to an apartment listed on Craigslist without having visited it first. There are plenty of ways a landlord can photograph an apartment to make it look good or conveniently forget to mention that the apartment smells/has a rat problem/whatever. Craiglist is a great resource to use for your apartment search once you've actually arrived in your university's city and can physically check out the listings. So, in order to use Craigslist, you're probably going to need to stay in a hotel for a few days until you manage to find something suitable.

I would also echo Riley's idea of campus housing. If you can't do any apartment searching on your own, university housing is generally a safe bet, at least for the first few months after one's arrival. It might not be super nice, or super comfortable, but you can be sure that at least it will be up to local health standards and if it isn't, since the university is your landlord, the problem will be addressed. Again though, given the limited university housing available (and sometimes even more limited for grad students) you want to apply for these options as soon as possible.

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satyad18
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Re: Housing?

Postby satyad18 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:38 pm

@grae: Thanks. :) Thats a great piece of a advice. And by no means I intend to go hunting for a place to live after arriving there!

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grae313
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Re: Housing?

Postby grae313 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:43 pm

TheBeast wrote:
satyad18 wrote: is it really possible to get a room using the craigslist? If yes, is it reliable?


Craigslist is an excellent resource. However, I would be cautious to agree to a lease or make a firm commitment to an apartment listed on Craigslist without having visited it first. There are plenty of ways a landlord can photograph an apartment to make it look good or conveniently forget to mention that the apartment smells/has a rat problem/whatever. Craiglist is a great resource to use for your apartment search once you've actually arrived in your university's city and can physically check out the listings. So, in order to use Craigslist, you're probably going to need to stay in a hotel for a few days until you manage to find something suitable.

I would also echo Riley's idea of campus housing. If you can't do any apartment searching on your own, university housing is generally a safe bet, at least for the first few months after one's arrival. It might not be super nice, or super comfortable, but you can be sure that at least it will be up to local health standards and if it isn't, since the university is your landlord, the problem will be addressed. Again though, given the limited university housing available (and sometimes even more limited for grad students) you want to apply for these options as soon as possible.


I just thought of something else. It should be possible to find someone in town to check out a place for you. Now, you don't want to make someone drive all over town looking at tons of apartments, so you'll want to do all your research beforehand and be pretty settled on one place. Some first years arrive early in the summer and you ought to be able to email the group of incoming students and find out if anyone is there and could do you a favor. Take them out to dinner when you do arrive to say thanks. If not other first years, your department may be able to help. I know I would certainly volunteer to check out an apartment for an incoming student that couldn't visit, and if you email your admissions person they may be willing to send out an email to the department asking for people's help.

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satyad18
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Re: Housing?

Postby satyad18 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:48 pm

grae313 wrote:I just thought of something else. It should be possible to find someone in town to check out a place for you. Now, you don't want to make someone drive all over town looking at tons of apartments, so you'll want to do all your research beforehand and be pretty settled on one place. Some first years arrive early in the summer and you ought to be able to email the group of incoming students and find out if anyone is there and could do you a favor. Take them out to dinner when you do arrive to say thanks. If not other first years, your department may be able to help. I know I would certainly volunteer to check out an apartment for an incoming student that couldn't visit, and if you email your admissions person they may be willing to send out an email to the department asking for people's help.

Wow! Didn't know such a thing was possible. Your comments really encourage me to think of all possibilities! :)

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WhoaNonstop
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Re: Housing?

Postby WhoaNonstop » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:16 pm

You can also use Craigslist to search for roommates as well.

Here is how I would go about it:

Make a post on craigslist mentioning your interest in finding roommates or a place to live for the upcoming year. Next, state your reasons for moving to the area: "I will be pursuing a Doctorate from __Name of School__." Do not mention that the doctorate is in physics (this will work in your favor for the intended affect). Next, state your preference in a female roommate or even better yet, female roommates. Finally attach this picture:


Image


You're all set!

-Riley

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grae313
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Re: Housing?

Postby grae313 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:24 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:You can also use Craigslist to search for roommates as well.

Here is how I would go about it:

Make a post on craigslist mentioning your interest in finding roommates or a place to live for the upcoming year. Next, state your reasons for moving to the area: "I will be pursuing a Doctorate from __Name of School__." Do not mention that the doctorate is in physics (this will work in your favor for the intended affect). Next, state your preference in a female roommate or even better yet, female roommates. Finally attach this picture:


Image


You're all set!

-Riley


Don't forget to mention that certain "arrangements" could be made where their rent would be greatly reduced (but not free, cuz bitches ain't worth that much...).

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satyad18
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Re: Housing?

Postby satyad18 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:30 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:You can also use Craigslist to search for roommates as well.

Here is how I would go about it:

Make a post on craigslist mentioning your interest in finding roommates or a place to live for the upcoming year. Next, state your reasons for moving to the area: "I will be pursuing a Doctorate from __Name of School__." Do not mention that the doctorate is in physics (this will work in your favor for the intended affect). Next, state your preference in a female roommate or even better yet, female roommates. Finally attach this picture:


Image


You're all set!

-Riley

I'll then be needing one hell of a will power to keep my nose into books! :wink:

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HappyQuark
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Re: Housing?

Postby HappyQuark » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:46 pm

grae313 wrote:
WhoaNonstop wrote:You can also use Craigslist to search for roommates as well.

Here is how I would go about it:

Make a post on craigslist mentioning your interest in finding roommates or a place to live for the upcoming year. Next, state your reasons for moving to the area: "I will be pursuing a Doctorate from __Name of School__." Do not mention that the doctorate is in physics (this will work in your favor for the intended affect). Next, state your preference in a female roommate or even better yet, female roommates. Finally attach this picture:


Image


You're all set!

-Riley


Don't forget to mention that certain "arrangements" could be made where their rent would be greatly reduced (but not free, cuz bitches ain't worth that much...).


That ain't right! Bitches been makin' 75 cents on the dollar for too long. Break through that glass ceiling bitches, and don't let anyone tell you that you're "not worth that much".

guthria
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Re: Housing?

Postby guthria » Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:38 am

Thanks for all the replies!!

I would certainly like to stay on campus for a while, but was just wondering what to do if the on-campus housing wasn't available. Your replies are really helpful!

Hopefully once I am sure of where I am going, I can get a move on this housing thing.

@Satyad- would you need willpower if a female answered your roommate ad, or if you were Riley-looking-like-that's roommate?? :shock:

pqortic
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Re: Housing?

Postby pqortic » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:45 pm

even if you came here without a housing plan that is not end of the world. I found my place in a week before the classes start. there are always more openings than demands but you may have to pay a few more tens of dollars for your apartment each month. and they are more expensive because the apartment is usually in a better shape than cheap apartments. and in my opinion it's very important that you visit the place and make sure that's what you want. sometimes you see the pictures of the place and ask someone to check it out, everything looks fine but finally you find out your room window opens to a concrete wall or the creepy landlord leaves in the next door.

and a good thing about on-campus housing is that the apartments are so neat and convenient but the cost of living is high. you are away from shopping centers and commuting to buy groceries might be a problem.




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