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How Old Can You Be and Still Live on Campus?

While most students who go to college are under the age of 21, a huge number of older adults also go back to school, with the figures standing at 46% in the 2018/19 academic year. Those aged 23 and older are more mature and have additional responsibilities like jobs and parenting. Can you still live on campus if you’re older? 

You can still live on campus even if you’re over 25 years old. Some universities have made it mandatory for all freshmen and sophomores under 21 to live in residence halls. It all depends on your finances, goals, and whether you are young at heart. 

Universities and colleges usually offer the board and room for all admitted students, but those over the age of 25 tend to reject this option. This article will go over why you might want to live on campus, or why you might not want to live on campus. So let’s get started, shall we?

How old is "too old" to live on college campus?

Can You Be Too Old To Live In a Dorm?

While you can’t be too old to live in a dorm, you might not want to live in a dorm if you’re over 30 years old. The reason is that there’s going to be a large age gap between you and other students living in the dorm, and it can create more drama.

Most college students over 25 years old tend to already have housing options off-campus and will commute to school. And by that time, you’ll want to be on your own anyway.

Why You Might Want To Live Off-Campus

There are several reasons why you might want to live off-campus, due to your age. One of the biggest reasons is that you have a complete lack of privacy. Most dorms insist that you have a roommate, and there are shared communal bathrooms and showers. If you live on campus, you’ll have to give up some privacy.

Let’s take a look at some other reasons you might want to live off-campus.

Lack of Privacy

University residence halls are usually crowded, forcing you to share a floor with at least 15 to 40 people. 

A bathroom is a place of recovery for some people after a long day at work or school. You just dip yourself in a tub of warm water and momentarily forget all your problems. Therefore, the idea of sharing this place of tranquility with six other people sounds like a nightmare to many mature students. 

Worse still, you can never be too sure whether your belongings are safe with your roommates, who are total strangers at this point, inviting their friends over to your room. And don’t forget that some of the impolite ones will have the audacity to have sex in front of you with only a partitioning curtain at best standing between you and them.

See 15 Creative Ways To Hide Money in a Dorm Room

Excess Noise

Dormitory walls are sometimes pretty thin, and many older people worry that the noise will be too much. This fear is quite rational. Imagine living with a bunch of teenagers in the same room or compound. It’s like attending a rowdy party every day. 

Members of this age are typically outgoing more than any other age and willing to experiment with anything. 

If you’re not worried about the guy who brags all day and night about his wars of conquest, you will be concerned with the volume of loud music streaming from next door. Your roommates will host their newfound friends at inconvenient times. 

You’ll Be the Adviser

Naturally, you may not fit in living with people a couple of years younger than you because there are too many behavioral and ideological differences. However, if you’re young at heart and don’t mind joining some of their activities, the age barrier will not make so much difference. 

As the senior-most member of the house, you must expect that the teens will rely on your opinion on some life matters like cooking and relationships. The unwritten rule is that someone will always control every group, and it might not be a surprise if they choose you. 

Such circumstances can be very uncomfortable to some people and they might not agree with everything you say, labeling it archaic and out of fashion. 


Some of the students aged 30 and older are parents, with some over 40 taking their master’s or Ph.D. studies. Honestly, these are parents to these teenagers. 

Since you don’t have the freedom to choose your roommates, many move out to private apartments

Strict Rules and Regulations

Another reason older students may be too old to live on-campus is due to the strict rules. Every place, including your home, needs rules and regulations to run smoothly, and student dormitories are no different. There are rules about everything, including lights out, cleaning, waste collection, exit, and entry hours. 

Residence Assistants, some as young as 19 years, have the mandate to enforce these rules. This worsens the situation because humans tend not to listen to those younger than them. Authorities must be respected, but imagine a teenager shouting down a 40-year-old because he slept with the lights on.

Why You Should Live in the Dorm

Now that you’ve seen the many reasons why living on-campus is a bad idea, let’s take a look at a few factors why the dorms aren’t so bad at 40.

Adult Student Housing

Universities and colleges have now understood the dynamics of older students and shifted their facilities to accommodate the increasing adult student population. 

Adult student housing is now a thing with universities such as the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which houses faculty members, graduate students, and adult students together. Other universities also offer separate accommodation for married students. 

Another solution involves offering dedicated silent halls for those who choose silence and international students who are definitely older and not inclined to go partying. You can also find smaller flats with less than four people for enhanced privacy. 

Adult Student Services

Institutions of higher learning have made every effort to avail student services to both traditional and adult students, which cater to their unique needs making the on-campus stay as convenient as possible. If you have young children, for example, you can exploit on-campus daycare services so that you have a smooth learning time during the day. 


Room and board, meaning food and shelter, cost $8,887 per annum at public universities and colleges or $10,089 per year for their private counterparts. This is a bit cheaper than renting an off-campus apartment, where you’ll be forced to pay for your electricity, water, and internet bills. 

The price is also food inclusive, which is good news if your responsibilities don’t leave room for home chores (source). 


The bottom line is no age is too old to live in a campus dormitory. As long as you can put up with younger adults, noise, and partying, you are good to go. It is cheaper, and you can easily access adult housing and services.

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