Wellesley College is often called a bubble by its students — and rightly so. According to College Board, 98 percent of students live on campus in some form of College-sponsored housing. Few students bring a car to campus and the typical student can go days without leaving the perimeter of Wellesley’s bucolic, welloutfitted campus. There are those, however, who live off campus and can have entirely different experiences as matriculated students at the College.
There are a variety of reasons why a student may choose to live off campus. Some may live in their family homes in reasonable proximity to Wellesley, while others have chosen to rent apartments in Wellesley and the surrounding towns. Other students choose to live as far away as Cambridge and Boston and commute back to the College using the Exchange Bus.
Those living in the town of Wellesley often take all of their classes at the College and easily travel on and off campus. Catherine Anderson ’17 was originally in the Class of 2016 but took last year off. She now lives in an apartment in the town of Wellesley, as she felt she had outgrown the dorms.
“I decided to live off campus to make it feel more like I was just taking classes instead of going to college,” Anderson said.
She has not had to adjust any of her obligations at Wellesley and commutes with her car, usually driving to campus in the mornings and staying for the day, studying at the College between classes and heading back home after dinner.
Layla Rawji ’19 lives in Cambridge, on MIT’s campus. She participates in a UROP and is cross-registered as a student there. As a sophomore, her decision to live off campus came earlier than most, but she plans to stay in the city for the remainder of her time as a student at Wellesley. She enjoys her schedule and actually finds it easier to manage her classes.
“I’m more focused since I have to manage my time better with the transit from campus to home … I study both at Wellesley and off campus — at my apartment and in [the] MIT, Northeastern and [Boston University] libraries,” Rawji said.
Many of Rawji’s friends attend these schools, and she finds that her social life has been more active since moving off Wellesley’s campus. Living off campus certainly does remove one from the Wellesley bubble, for better or for worse. While it can be refreshing to have the freedom to move to and from Wellesley College, some students who live off campus find that they miss certain positive aspects of the Wellesley experience — namely the tight knit and supportive academic and social communities.
“I miss the student life on campus. It’s a really great thing to have and the community at Wellesley is so amazing, and I miss having that around me all the time,” Rawji said. She added however, “I like the freedom to just be able to walk out of my apartment and be in a city.”
Mathangi Ganesh ’19, lived in Central Square in Cambridge this summer while working in Boston. She enjoyed the convenience and closeness to the city, and considered living off campus this year due to obligations at MIT and Harvard. Ultimately, Ganesh found that she did not want to be so far from Wellesley’s academic resources. Later, though, Ganesh admitted that it may be more convenient to reside in Cambridge.
“I will definitely consider moving off campus my senior year,” she said.