Starting college usually means moving to a new place. For those going to be college students in New York City, it will be one of the most exciting moments of your life. But for new arrivals, it can take some time to adjust to living here.
Despite its somewhat deserved reputation for being a costly place to live, the Big Apple remains one of the most popular cities where college students would like to move. And for a good reason, if there’s ever a perfect time to move to New York City, it’s in your early 20s. So to help you adjust and make the most of life In New York, we’re here to help you score a good spot and, once moved in, how to make the city home.
Start Your Apartment Search EarlyStart Your Apartment Search Early
NYC is known for (among other things) its fast-paced real estate market and low vacancy rates. To give you the best chance of finding your first apartment, you should start your search 60-90 days before making your move. At the very least, you should do some research to get an idea of what you want ahead of time. Ensure you communicate your needs and wants to your real estate agent and keep track of all the apartments you’re looking at if you prefer to try to find a no-fee apartment.
Choose the Right Neighborhood for College StudentChoose the Right Neighborhood for College Student
New York comprises five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island), each of which can be broken into smaller neighborhoods. Each one has its particular vibe, so choosing the right one for you will be vital if you’re to make New York your home. For an artsy feel and great nightlife, look to Williamsburg. For something a little more residential and relaxed, Central Brooklyn/Brooklyn Heights are the places to be. Do a little research and consider what you’re looking for before you sign a lease.
College Student-friendly neighborhoodsCollege Student-friendly neighborhoods
New York City might be the land of opportunity, but it is far from affordable, especially when you’re a college student. But while it might not be easy to find affordable housing, it is not impossible. If you’re getting sick of dorm life, then you’re not alone. Many students want a place to call their own, but it can be complicated knowing where to look if you’re fresh out of the nest and new to the city. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of student-friendly neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Each one has been chosen based on low crime rates, accessible transportation, and affordability.
Morningside HeightsMorningside Heights
Being the largest student neighborhood in NYC, it is not surprising that Morningside heights made a list. If you’re attending Colombia, you’re effectively on campus as the university owns many buildings in the area. Located north of the Upper West Side and south of Harlem, Morningside Heights is the largest student neighborhood in NYC. Although it might not be the safest neighborhood in the city, living here won’t cause much worry to your parents. It has a relatively low crime rate of 1.3735 crimes per 1,000 residents. Pros include lots of student-friendly services and easy transport to all the local universities. The only cons are that you won’t meet many New Yorkers as other students like yourself mostly populate the neighborhood. The average price for a shared 3-bedroom apartment is $1,433.
Washington HeightsWashington Heights
This culturally diverse neighborhood can be found just above 179th Street. It’s’s quickly becoming popular with millennials, with 10% of the population (50,103 residents) aged 20 to 34. And no wonder rents are affordable, and apartment sizes tend to be generous. Here it is possible to rent a 3-bedroom apartment with three bedrooms, meaning there’s enough space to fit a bed, closet, and other furniture without feeling too cramped. In addition, students here will enjoy more open spaces and a great college vibe with many new cafes and restaurants. The average price for a 3-bedroom shared apartment is $1,002.
If you’re looking for affordability in Manhattan, then you can’t do better than Inwood. A close northern neighbor to Washington Heights, where you’ll get the same generously sized apartments and Latin-American restaurants. But what you’ll get also is slightly lower prices, which average $983 for a shared 3-bedroom apartment. In addition, you’ll find far fewer millennials here than in its southern neighbor, which lends it a quitter and sleeper vibe.
The neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant has something of a marred reputation from its historically high crime. But these days, that’s old news, with the area seeing a drop in violent crime of 44% between 2000 and 2016. A period of time which also saw the number of local businesses increase by 73%. If you choose to live here, you’ll have your pick of beautiful brownstones to choose from. Many of them with original features and fireplaces installed. Prices are also affordable, with the average 3-bedroom shared apartment costing $1,090. However, the downsides will be a long commute if you attend Colombia (over 1 hour).
Crown HeightsCrown Heights
If you’re looking for diversity, then Crown Heights has it in spades. Up until the 1960s, the neighborhood was predominantly Jewish until demographics began to change. Many old-time residents moved out to the suburbs, and many West Indian immigrants began to move in. Staying here means you’ll get to enjoy some of the best Indian food in the city, so it makes sense to get to know the neighbors. Many affordable rental units can be found in the neighborhoods of many brownstones and pre-war buildings. It’s been pretty common to see locals setting up barbecues and sound systems for spontaneous sidewalk parties on summer days. The average prices are $1,099 for a room in a 3-bedroom apartment.
Be Ready for College Student RoommatesBe Ready for College Student Roommates
Unless your lucky college student has your parents’ help with buying your apartment, you’ll need to be ready for roommates. If that makes you nervous, then don’t let it be. It can be very comforting to know there’s someone back home, keeping the place warm at the end of each day. Having a roommate means you can split the rent, and sites like Roomster make it easier than ever to find a roomie. To ensure things go smoothly, interview each potential roommate and ask them the right questions. Even besties can get on each other’s nerves once they start living together.
Have a Budget and Stick to ItHave a Budget and Stick to It
This can be a crazy expensive city to live in. As a new arrival, you won’t make it without a budget to keep your spending in check. Even if you’ve been lucky enough to find an affordable apartment, you’ll still need to consider all the other costs of living. Utilities, unlimited MetroCards, Uber rides, or just a trip to the grocery store can quickly add up. So keep all your receipts and track your daily, weekly, and monthly spending. Fortunately, NYC has plenty of freebies on offer, so you don’t need to live above your means to enjoy life here.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Every so OftenStep Out of Your Comfort Zone Every so Often
You’ll no doubt have your schedule pretty full with classes, studying, and catching up with friends, but you should also make time to try something new. After all, that’s one of the biggest reasons for moving to NYC. The diversity in what’s on offer and how you can spend your free time. Try to do random things every so often, like attending art galleries, if that’s usually not your thing, volunteering with St. Joe’s soup kitchen, or just exploring a neighborhood you’ve never been to before. Take full advantage of what the city offers.
Get Out of the City OccasionallyGet Out of the City Occasionally
NYC may have more than enough to keep you busy, but one thing it lacks is nature. Sure there’s a central park, but sometimes that doesn’t cut it, and you need fresh air, mountains, and wildlife that isn’t just pidgins. You can find some great weekend getaways from the city when you feel the need to escape and recharge your batteries. Trust me; you’ll need it now and then.