Dear Ivy

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

Ivy helps a student figure out off-campus housing


Dear Ivy,

So my problem isn’t relationship-related and there isn’t any drama within my friend group, but I wanted to write to you to ask for your advice on how to find off-campus housing. I am currently a sophomore and I was rejected on-campus housing for next year, while all of my friends were accepted, which was really upsetting as I was hoping to receive housing for another year. I know you have to find listings and I’ve been recommended sites like Zillow, but I’m concerned about finding housing by myself. I’m currently on the waitlist for housing but I know that isn’t guaranteed, so what do I do?


-Off-campus Junior


Dear Off-Campus Junior,

You’re in luck! Mason has many outlets for students who are searching for off-campus housing and hoping to not live out of their car for the upcoming semester. You can make use of those Mason websites or housing websites unaffiliated with Mason. Any of those can help you find the perfect space to spend your junior year, and in the off chance you get off the waitlist for housing, you will be even more prepared for the next year.

One of the most prominent Mason off-campus housing sites is It has a list of apartments off-campus that shouldn’t be too far to travel from, while also providing all the information you need to know about the living space, such as the price, the number of beds and bathrooms and pictures of the apartments in that area. It has a message board where you can search for furniture and connect with international students, and it helps you plan to study abroad. You can also create a profile of yourself to make it easier to find a roommate that fits your personality, as well as make it easier for them to find you. Their resources page also provides information on transportation to and from the apartments, sites like Zimride, which is the Mason student carpool service, the metrobus and the bus system operated by Fairfax county.

While not a part of Mason’s off-campus housing network, Zillow is a great choice to find a good apartment. The main difference from the Mason site is that it does not have a list of students so you can coordinate living with them. They also do not have a system to create your profile for others to find you. The best thing you could do if you decide to go on Zillow is to plan with some of your other friends from Mason who don’t have housing to get an apartment together and split the cost.

Not getting accepted into housing while your friends were isn’t a fun time at all, but you can make the most out of a bad situation. One great outcome is that you have way more options than the cookie-cutter buildings here on campus. You can also choose from much more varied prices and maybe even get a better price than on campus. You can also coordinate with your roommate on who brings what furniture to get the most out of your living experience. Depending on how close it is as well as how nice you furnish it, you can create a great hangout spot off-campus for all your friends to come visit. You can make your next year your best for possibly an even lower price.