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Off Campus Housing 101

Campus | November 23, 2009

Finding off campus housing is often more stressful than picking a roommate- after all, you want to live someplace in which you feel comfortable and at home.  While many Tufts upperclassmen choose to live in the same house for their Junior and Senior years, many elect to change in between.  We hope the tidbits we’ve gathered here help to clarify the nebulous and muddled process.

Tesla, Upland, Sunset, Hillsdale, Chetwynd, Curtis

PROS

This cluster of streets spans the blocks between Winthrop Street and Hillsdale Avenue, between Capen Street and Professor’s Row. Houses here are close to the Residential Quad and the Academic Quad and residents need only take a quick walk down Winthrop to get to Boston Avenue and its many amenities. The area tends to be populated mostly by students.

CONS

Rent in this area tends to be slightly more expensive, although well-priced apartments are available. A cluster of break-ins in recent months has prompted some concern among residents, but TUPD and local police officers patrol the area regularly to make sure things stay safe.

The bottom line: Good if you are an Arts & Sciences student; bad if you’re an engineer or Drama & Music student.

Emery, Capen, Fairmount, University, Bellevue

PROS

Occupying the series of streets between Boston Avenue and Capen Street, this neighborhood is about as close to Boston Avenue as you can get. The walk to Gantcher and Cousens is very doable and rent tends to be slightly less expensive than the area’s more uphill counterpart.

CONS
The houses in this area tend to be slightly older. Don’t forget; living here means you live at the bottom of a giant hill. If you’re not down with daily hikes this might not be the place for you.  Getting to Davis from here can also be a bit of an ordeal.

The bottom line: good for pizza lovers and hikers; bad for those who enjoy a sedentary lifestyle and the convenience of Dewick.

Hillsdale, Osgood, West Adams, Bailey, West Quincy, Adams, North Street

PROS

This neighborhood between Hillsdale Avenue and North Street is relatively quiet, boasting more recently renovated houses for less rent. Those who frequent Boston Avenue’s restaurants and convenience stores will enjoy the proximity of this neighborhood.

CONS

This area is considerably farther from campus than many other neighborhoods and many of the houses tend to be occupied by families and non-Tufts residents which makes for a less collegiate vibe and more low-key parties.

The bottom line: Good for bookworms and those who love to make free meals out of Whole Foods samples; bad for engineers and those who relish the downhill life.

Raymond, Whitfield, Conwell, Teele

PROS

A relatively small area between Powderhouse Boulevard and Professor’s Row, these streets offer a surprising wealth of roomy houses that tend to be on the newer side.

CONS

Because many of the houses are more newly renovated, rent tends to err on the pricier side. Raymond and Conwell Avenues also abut government-subsidized housing which may be uncomfortable for some prospective residents given the area’s less-than-stellar safety reputation.

The bottom line: Good for those with weak immune systems (close to Health Services) and those who want to be downhill without living on College Ave; bad for those who relish Boston Avenue’s extensive pizza selection (yup, we’ll keep sayin’ it).

Ossipee, Ware, Electric, Packard, Leonard, Mason, Whitman, Burnham

PROS

This enclave of dwellings sits on the other side of Powderhouse Boulevard, which makes for convenient access to Teele and Davis Squares. Houses on the whole are just a tad larger here than uphill or on College Avenue.  With all the walking you’ll do uphill, you’re bound to end your tenure in this neighborhood with some killer calves.

CONS

Like some of the Hillsdale Avenue neighborhood houses, many of these abodes are family-inhabited. The area tends to be a bit busier and prone to traffic-especially around Powderhouse.

The bottom line: good for off-campus browsers; bad for those who feel a burning urge to go to the gym every day.  Just walk up the hill, walk down, rinse, and repeat.

“It’s really beautiful in the fall but there are lots of Somerville residents and not just students which cuts down on the late-night vibe. It’s also hard to come back to your house during the day.”

Dearborn, Warner, College, Bromfield, Pearson

PROS

“To live on Dearborn Road is to live in the cradle of God. You get all the amenities of

off-campus housing (laundry machines that don’t have  piss in them, no RAs, the ability to light your entire house with  candles and octopus lamps), but the location is as close to campus as  possible. 10:30 class in Anderson? Look forward to waking up at 10:27, because that walk takes 15 seconds. Also, some houses on the block get Tufts wireless signals, meaning no need to pay for internet. The walk to Davis is super quick, and Bromfield is one of the greatest streets in the world to ride your bike on. (It’s downhill both ways. Don’t believe me? Try it.). The only bummer is having an early class in Olin, which entails a lengthy walk and an approximately 6,000-foot elevation increase. Also, lots of cars use Dearborn to get to College Ave, so if you’re sensitive to street noise, buy some earplugs. Then prepare yourself for the best semester of your life.” – Micah Hauser

Upper College, Frederick, Stanley “Alumni Field” area

“I like that our house on Frederick is fairly nice (it was newly remodeled right before we moved in) and has a relatively cheap rent based on what some of our friends are paying. It is also a great place to be a computer science major since Halligan is right there, and if you like going to the gym it’s right there also. Other than that, I’d say the location isn’t very good. It’s far away from everything on campus, and I usually have to rush to make it to class on time. Also, the neighborhood only has a few houses with college kids in them. The rest are the Medford townies. Some of the people on our block are crazy and others are drug addicts. When you move off campus, to a neighborhood like Frederick, you can get to feeling a little isolated and lonely at times. You spend a lot of time in the house since everything else is so far away.” –Anthony Sgueglia

Be wary of:

Live-in landlord

Broken or missing appliances (fridge is a must)

Windowless rooms

Major bonuses:

Free laundry

Big closets

Dishwasher

Porch

Big, empty basement

Lots of windows

New bathrooms

Gas heat

Beyond the train tracks: you’re on your own.  Good luck to you and your car.