Living After College: Studio or Apartment?

Finding The Best Place To Start Your Life

By: Josia Akhtab

Finding a place after college can be a very difficult task for recent graduate students.

Jobs paying just above the poverty line, along with yearly rent increases, don’t make for the best combination when you’re just starting out.

Apartment hunting is often time consuming and tedious work, finding the right neighborhood, environment and price are only a few factors when it comes to finding the right place for you.

Most people only want the essentials, such as a washer/dryer, a dishwasher, central air, or if you have pets, a pet friendly environment as well.

These essentials do exist along with access to public transit, airports and commuter rails—the price however, may be a little steep.

A studio apartment consisting of three units, range from anywhere between $1,500-4,100/month—sometimes more. These apartments are typically under 1000 sqft with a twelve-month lease.

If you’re looking for something in NY that resides in a residential neighborhood with all the amenities mentioned (public transit, airports, shops/restaurants, etc), your average rent as of Sept 2017, would be $2,497 which is the result of a 5.5% increase over the last year.

A one-bedroom/one-bathroom in New York averages to $3,047/month, a two-bedroom at $3,393/month, and a three-bedroom at $4,213.

Not many college students are living lovely enough to afford these prices, is there anything more affordable for someone just starting out? Actually, there is.

Take a two-bedroom/one bathroom apartment in Jersey City for example, the rent in this location could be as low as $1,250/month. Also, one would have access to public transit, airports and commuter rails, while being near many neighborhoods and cultures.

An additional benefit is the place is only 1.5mi from the heart of the city.

Sounds affordable, doesn’t it? There’s more; the average rent for a studio apartment in Jersey City is $1,371, a one-bedroom sits at $881, a two-bedroom at $1,253 and a three bedroom at $1,473.

What do these prices have in common? They’re all less than the cost to rent a studio apartment in NY—the only difference is a washer/dryer, a dishwasher, and central air.

It’s safe to say that most college students are just fine with going to the laundry and washing their own dishes.

Also, industrial fans and air conditioners are entirely affordable no matter your income.

However, apartments like those in Jersey City may come with requirements. You must provide a proof of income, a monthly income 2.5x that of rent with no evictions/convictions.

In other words, follow the law and have a job that pays ethically, or above poverty line, and the place is yours!

Finding an apartment is the first big step to gaining true independence and starting life as an adult. Decisions likes these should be made with the utmost scrutiny, responsibility and common sense where it applies.

The worst thing is to find a place that looks good on the outside but hurts your pockets and ruins your life on the inside. As a graduate student, comfortability shouldn’t be looked at as unattainable—even if you have no idea what you’re doing.

The place you go for should be based on your decision making and research. The worst feeling is having to move back in with your parents after just a couple months in the real world.

Your first place doesn’t have to be the most extravagant—it should just have the essentials. Nothing more, nothing less—home.

You can find more information and apartments available at

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