By Lianne Chu
Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula
[3.5 minute read]
Finding off campus housing around USC is a common struggle amongst many students. With so many different options and factors to take into consideration, the whole process can be overwhelming, especially for students who aren’t familiar with the area. Here, I detail some resources that can help with this search!
When should you start looking for next school year’s housing?
Some students start looking for off campus housing as early as October/November and have their lease signed by December. This is usually necessary for popular places around campus, especially houses on the North side of campus where a lot of people want to live. However, there will still be many vacancies at the start of the calendar year, so do not worry if you start the housing search process late. A good place to look for housing in the spring is apartments near campus who are looking to fill their buildings and may be running special deals in the springtime.
Where to look for housing?
1. Walk around the neighborhood. Many apartments/houses will have their phone numbers posted in front of the residence. Note the name of the property management and phone number to do further research!
2. This Reddit link features links to many different popular housing management companies around campus and the websites for various apartments. I found it to be especially helpful in checking out the different types of apartments around campus, and determining the different locations of all of the housing options.
3. Facebook Groups: There are a few Facebook groups where students post available listings, usually subleases. If you search for USC housing groups, you will find people looking for potential roommates or looking for people to take over their subleases. This is a good place to turn to if you are looking for a semester lease or a summer lease, as opposed to a year long lease. However, sometimes scams are posted on these groups so use your best judgement when contacting those writing the posts.
Where is it safe to live?
Many students live within a one-mile radius of USC. This ensures that the house/apartment will be within the Fryft (free Lyft) Zone. Around this area will also have DPS Yellow Jackets patrolling around the blocks at night. North side of campus near Frat Row is a popular option for students. West side of campus is also popular for engineering students who have classes near that side of campus.
Living in DTLA or commuting to campus?
Some students may choose to live farther away from campus and commute to classes by car or public transportation. Living farther away gives you more housing options, but USC does not provide transportation from DTLA to campus, so having a car will be beneficial if living far away. However, if you do choose to live a little further away, you can take advantage of LA’s public transportation system to get to campus. The Metro and F dash bus are both options to get from Downtown LA to USC fairly quickly.
The price range of housing varies depending on the type of room (single, double, etc.) and location (proximity to campus). Houses and apartments on the North side of campus are typically pricier as they are closer to the Village and it is a livelier area of the neighborhood. Prices can range from $800 for a shared room on the West side to $1400 and up for a single on the North side.
On Campus Housing
USC offers on-campus housing for both undergraduate and graduate students. Check out the USC housing to look at the different options offered! The most popular USC housing option for undergraduates is in the USC Village, but there are off campus options as well. Many of these housing options come with some sort of dining plan and close proximity to campus, which is always a plus, but some of them can be quite pricey.
Most college students live in an apartment or house with roommates. Some people share a room with others, while others have their own rooms and share a living space. Usually shared rooms have lower rent than private rooms. When finding roommates, the first step should be to see if any of your friends are also looking for housing since living with friends is usually easier to adapt to than living with random roommates. However, living with randomly paired roommates can be a great option as well. Many people search for roommates on housing Facebook pages and express what they want in a potential roommate, and end up finding someone who is very compatible with their living style and turns out to be a great friend!
Regardless of if you future roommate is an old friend or a new friend, there are a few things you should talk about with them regarding lifestyles when moving in together for the first time:
Everyone has different cleanliness standards, so it is best to discuss this beforehand to avoid any awkward situations in the future. Are dishes okay to be left in the sink overnight? How clean should public spaces be?
What is the optimal temperature for everyone to be comfortable? Energy bills can be high if the AC is always turned on so this is an important topic to discuss.
What noise level is appropriate at what time? After what time should be considered quite time for sleeping, studying, etc.? This can vary greatly across different roommates, especially if their majors require them to have very different schedules, so best to discuss this early on to avoid any issues.
Dividing the chores amongst roommates early on is typically a good way to approach this topic so there is no confusion on who should be doing what. Perhaps even having a calendar to keep track of tasks can be a good way to organize this for you and your roommates!
Division of expenses
How are expenses being split? Is everything 50/50, or is everyone taking turns buying shared items? Every person will have a different idea on how to split up expenses, so make sure to have an open conversation about this and take everyone’s views into consideration.
As you can see, the housing search can be a lot of work, and that work doesn’t just end once you choose where you are going to live. However, living with other people your age can be one of the most fun and exciting parts of college, and helps you learn a bit more about yourself and your living style. Best of luck on your housing search process!
Lianne is a senior majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Applied Analytics. She is from the Bay Area and loves exploring good food places and cafes all the way from NorCal to SoCal. She is the past President of the Asian American Tutorial Project, a volunteer organization on campus that focuses its efforts on giving back to the LA Chinatown community and beyond, and has also served as a bilingual teaching assistant in China. Lianne can speak Cantonese and Mandarin, and enjoys meeting people from all different backgrounds and cultures.