Skip to main content

Refine Results


Which Type of Off-Campus Housing is Right for Me? Student Housing vs. Traditional Apartments near Georgia Tech

By Brana

Midtown is full of student housing options within walking distance of Georgia Tech, which is both exciting and overwhelming. With so many apartments to choose from, it’s hard to know what option is best for you, or even know how to compare the benefits of one apartment to another.

At Whistler, we know how complicated finding housing can be. To help you better understand your options, we have written this article to compare purpose-built student housing apartments and traditional apartments in Midtown to help you decide which of the two is a better fit for you.

Student Housing Apartments vs. Traditional Apartments near Georgia Tech

In Atlanta near Georgia Tech, you will find both traditional apartments as well as purpose-built student housing apartments. Traditional apartments are basically what they sound like. They’re built to house a wide variety of tenants and are what you probably typically think of when picturing apartment living. Student apartments are specifically designed to house college students. They’re designed and built with the student lifestyle in mind. This means they’re typically furnished, offer larger floorplans to accommodate multiple roommates, feature student-focused amenities, and more.


Whistler’s fitness center takes up the entire 25th floor of the building and is equipped with cardio machines and weight equipment in Midtown Atlanta.

Whistler’s fitness center takes up the entire 25th floor of the building and is equipped with cardio machines and weight equipment.

The amenities your apartment offers makes a difference in your off-campus living experience. For example, having a gym located in your apartment building versus having to walk 30 minutes to the Campus Recreational Center makes a significant impact on your day to day life.

Student housing apartments understand this and tailor their amenities to target the wants and needs of an off-campus college student. Amenities often include fully furnished apartments, individual and community study spaces, pool decks, and as above stated, gyms and fitness centers.

Traditional apartments on the other hand, can greatly vary in their amenity offerings. Most traditional apartments will only offer the basics like wifi, cable, trash, washer/dryer, etc. In some cases, the apartment may also include a gym and/or pool deck, so it’s important to ask what specific amenities are offered at each apartment you visit.

Lease Type

There are two main types of leases, an individual lease (“by the bed” lease) and a joint lease (“by the apartment” lease).

Student housing apartments typically offer individual leases. Individual leases are signed by each individual tenant instead of by an apartment as a whole. This form of leasing allows for each individual to only be held responsible for paying their own rent, and maintaining their own bedroom/bathroom and any communal spaces.

For example, if you live in a 3×3 (three bedrooms, three bathrooms) with two other roommates, each roommate will sign their own lease with the landlord for a specific bedroom and bathroom. Three total leases will be signed and each roommate is held responsible for paying their own rent and their own rent only.

Read Next: 5 Benefits of Signing an Individual Lease as a Student in Midtown

Traditional apartments offer joint leases. In a joint lease, only one lease is signed between the landlord and all of the tenants. Rent is quoted for the entire apartment, and it is up to you and your roommates to split the rent accordingly.

Each roommate is held equally responsible for the entire apartment. This includes paying rent, utilities, damages, and any other fees. It will be up to you and your roommates to pay rent and utilities together each month.

Lease Term

Even though your lease term for both student apartments and traditional apartments will likely be 12 months, start dates vary.

For student apartment leases, most are conveniently tied to the academic school year. Your lease would begin early-mid August and end around July 31st.

For traditional apartments, lease terms and start dates can vary. Landlords will typically push for a 12-month lease and start dates can be at any point during the year.

Additional Features

Georgia Tech students at Ponce City Market in Midtown Atlanta.

Another factor to consider is the additional features purpose-built student housing provides that traditional housing will not.

From roommate-matching systems to community events and activities, these features directed toward students have the ability to meaningfully impact your college experience.


Rental rates near Georgia Tech typically run anywhere from $1,200 to upwards of $2,200 per month.

Purpose-built student housing apartments in the Midtown area are all relatively new and include a variety of luxury amenities. The price points for these locations generally fit into the above stated range or more depending on what apartment complex, floorplan, and specific room you chose.

Traditional apartments greatly vary in their price point. An older apartment with less amenities will fall into a lower price category, whereas a newer and nicer apartment with an abundance of amenities could cost even more than purpose-built student housing. Pricing for off-campus traditional apartments all depends on what properties you’re viewing.

Culture and Environment

Georgia Tech students laughing on grass on Georgia Tech's campus in midtown atlanta.

Another important thing to consider is what culture you want your apartment to have. The other individuals living in your apartment complex can greatly affect the overall feel of the complex and your living experience as a whole.

In a purpose-built student housing property, you will be surrounded by college students like yourself from various universities in Midtown. Lounge and study areas would be filled with your fellow peers and the overall atmosphere is specifically designed for college-aged students to interact and meet.

In a traditional apartment, the environment of your apartment complex can vary greatly. Your neighbors may be young professionals, older adults, or even families. The culture in a traditional apartment can have a much more diverse age group of individuals and there is no guarantee of the college-community feel that exists in purpose-built student housing.

We hope this article gives you a better understanding of the differences between purpose-built student housing and traditional apartments. If you have any additional questions or would like to learn more about Whistler, contact our leasing staff. We are more than happy to help you along in your housing search!

Brana, Community Manager at Whistler


Brana is the Community Manager for Whistler. She's going into her 3rd year in Property Management.

July 13, 2022

Get email updates

We invite you to sign up for our monthly newsletter featuring exclusive events, promos and more.