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5 Reasons to Live Off Campus as a First Year at Georgia Tech

By Jatu

So you’ve decided to attend Georgia Tech this Fall– congratulations! Being a freshman at Georgia Tech is an exciting time, but it can be overwhelming to make sure you’re checking all the boxes before the first day of classes rolls around.

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make is where you want to live your first year. Between on-campus dorms and off-campus apartments, students have countless living options to choose from in Midtown.

Georgia Tech has just under 50 residence halls available to students, however, the school does not require incoming freshmen live on campus their first year. In fact, over half of the total student body opts to live off campus.

Whether you’re interested in the wide variety of amenities available at off-campus apartments, or you’re not particularly excited about adding shower shoes and a caddy to your packing list, there are plenty of off-campus living options that do not include out-dated dorms and community baths.

At Whistler, we know how important it is to have the right living space to start your college experience off on the right foot. To help you make the best decision on where to live, we have created this list of the most popular reasons freshman choose to live off-campus at Georgia Tech.

Can First Year Students at Georgia Tech Live Off Campus?

In short– yes! Freshman at Georgia Tech can absolutely live off campus. Georgia Tech does not require first years to live on campus, however, there are several programs that freshmen can opt into that do require you to live on campus in dorms.

An example of this are the Living Learning Communities (LLC’s) that allow students with shared interest to live with one another and work together on various projects throughout their first year. For more information on LLC’s, visit the Georgia Tech Learning Communities page.

If you are not interested in opting into one of these programs, you have the freedom to choose whether or not you live on campus during your first year.

Where Students Live Off-Campus Near Georgia Tech

To kick off our list of benefits associated with living off campus, let’s dive into a brief overview of the most popular areas to live off-campus. For a more comprehensive break-down of the various housing types and neighborhoods surrounding GT, take a look at our article, Where to Live Near GT If You Don’t Want to Live On Campus.

East Midtown

Georgia Tech students walking together in Tech Square


East Midtown is just steps from campus and Tech Square, where you can find plenty of unique restaurants, coffee shops, and spaces to hang out. Located East of Georgia Tech, this area is home to various new student housing apartments along Spring Street and traditional apartments just a few blocks from Tech Square.

Read Next: Traditional Apartments vs. Student Housing Apartments

While these apartment complexes can be on the higher end of the price spectrum, many students opt to live in this area due to the proximity to campus and the community of over a half dozen student housing properties all in one area.

Home Park

Another common place for Georgia Tech students to live is Home Park, which offers traditional houses to students to rent. Home Park is located north of Georgia Tech between campus and Atlantic Station. Renting a house is more common for upperclassmen and graduate students because the process can be a little more complicated and the properties are not geared towards students. If you don’t mind being further from campus, renting a house in Home Park is a good budget-friendly option for many students.

West Midtown

West of Georgia Tech’s campus on Northside Drive, you can find several student housing properties and traditional apartments. These apartments are closer to buildings on west campus such as the Campus Recreational Center and Stamps, however they are a bit of a hike to other campus buildings such as the Scheller College of Business. Due to the distance from main campus and east campus, pricing for both student housing complexes and traditional apartment complexes are slightly lower than those in East Midtown. It’s important to research where your classes and on campus activities will be located before making a decision on where to live.

5 Benefits of Living in an Off-Campus Apartment Versus an On-Campus Dorm as a Freshman at UF

1. Cook for Yourself

Kitchen at Whistler, a student housing apartment in Midtown Atlanta.

Representative kitchen featuring Whistler’s standard finishes and appliances.

While some residence halls at Georgia Tech have community kitchens, this is not true for every dorm. Even if your dorm has a community kitchen these kitchens will be shared with your whole hall and you may not always have access to the kitchen during meal times.

Most off-campus apartments have full kitchens that you will share with your roommates in your apartment. This setup allows you to cook and bake as you please, host friends and small gatherings, and have the privacy of cooking in your own apartment.

These kitchens typically come with a full-size fridge, pantry, countertop space, and other appliances to cook your own meals and test new recipes. Whether you like elaborate meals or quick and easy recipes, having a full kitchen just outside your door allows you to take more control of your food options.

2. Have Your Own Room

Most of the dorm-style residence halls available to incoming freshmen are double, triple, or even quad occupancy. This means you would share a bedroom with one or more roommates with a communal bathroom that you share with the people living in your hall. Some dorms offer suite-style apartments with private bathrooms to share amongst you and your suite mates, however, these options are limited.

Because of this, having your own space is one of the most popular reasons students elect to live off-campus. Sharing a living, sleeping, eating, studying space with one or more person for an entire year is a huge commitment as a freshman adjusting to college lifestyle.

When you choose to live in a dorm, you are not only choosing to share a room with a person, you’ll also be choosing to give up having a private bath and an apartment-style living and kitchen space. Plus, off-campus apartments typically come with more storage, larger full-sized beds, fully furnished living spaces, and actual closets instead of wardrobes.

3. Stay Over the Summer

Another advantage of staying in off-campus housing is the option to stay in Atlanta in your apartment over summer breaks!

If you stay in a dorm, you’ll have a 9-month lease from August to May. In an off-campus apartment, you’ll have a 12-month lease. Most off-campus student apartment leases are conveniently tied to the academic school year. Your lease would begin early-mid August and end around July 31st.

If you have an internship or job on-campus or in the Atlanta area, or are an international or out-of-state student, having somewhere to stay over breaks can be a huge plus.

4. Amenities Are Right in Your Building


students doing yoga in the Whistler yoga studio, an off campus student apartment in midtown

In the fitness center is Whistler’s yoga studio that offers ample natural light for group classes or individual use.

Most dorms across Georgia Tech’s campus are pretty limited in their amenities. You may have access to a study room or two in your hall, however, you certainly will not have the state-of-the-art amenities available at many student housing properties off-campus.

Student housing properties often include access to on-site amenities such as gyms, spin studios, saunas, study rooms, pool decks, and more.

Read Next: Top 7 Pool Decks Near Georgia Tech

Having the ability to hit the gym, take a detox in the sauna, and grab a pick-me-up from Daydreamer Cafe all in one building can be a serious game-changer for busy students in their first year at Georgia Tech.

5. Bring Your Furry Friend

dog next to Whistler pillow at the Whistler leasing office in Midtown Atlanta

Another plus of staying in an off-campus apartment your first year is being allowed to bring your pet with you.

Moving away from home and transitioning to college lifestyle can be a challenging time for many students, however, having the ability to adopt a new furry friend or bring your pet from home can make this switch a little easier. Pet-friendly apartments like Whistler ensure that you won’t have to leave your furry friend at home when you move to college. (And even if you aren’t a pet owner, you still get to meet all of the sweet animals that live in your building!)

We hope that this article has given you the necessary information needed to decide whether or not to live off-campus your first year at Georgia Tech.

If you have any further questions about living off-campus in your first year at Georgia Tech, check out our Ultimate Guide to Freshman Housing at Georgia Tech or reach out to our leasing team! We are happy to help in your search for housing!


Jatu is a Leasing & Marketing Assistant at Whistler. She is a junior Psychology major with a Mental Health concentration at Spelman College.

May 30, 2023

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