By Emily Wells
There are many perks to living on campus. After all, studies have shown that those who live on campus for at least one year are more likely to graduate (UCF Lives Here). But once you’ve decided to live on campus, how do you decide where to live? What type of floor plan is best for you? Will you share a room or bathroom with another person or do you need more privacy?
As a freshman, you are able to live in all of the housing options UCF offers. And with nine on-campus housing communities — Apollo, Libra, Hercules, Nike, Neptune, Lake Claire, Rosen College, Towers, and Northview – you have plenty of choices. Each has its own pros and cons. But how can you figure out which is the best for you? You can do virtual tours of the apartments on the UCF Housing website and take tours of several of the housing options, but how do you get a real feel for the types of housing? That’s where your intrepid, currently living on-campus reporter comes in handy to give you the inside scoop on living in these communities. Here is my student guide to UCF on-campus housing. For more information beyond what is provided here, I recommend checking out the UCF Lives Here housing booklet.
What Kind of Housing is Right For You?
Before getting into the different housing options, the first thing you need to decide is what type of housing agreement is the best fit for you: academic-year or year-round? The biggest difference between these two types of housing are the length of the contracts. Academic-year housing is for the fall/spring semesters while year-round housing is for fall/spring/summer. The academic-year communities are: Apollo, Libra, Nike, Hercules, Neptune, and Rosen. The year-round communities are: Towers and Northview. However, there are a few other differences beyond just the length of your stay.
Academic-year housing is aimed towards freshmen. This means you will be surrounded by students at your level with hosted events in these communities aimed towards learning more about UCF and getting involved. Year-round housing, on the other hand, will still have community building events, but they might not be as freshmen-oriented as those in academic-year housing. In addition, academic-year housing comes with a weekly cleaning service, while year-round housing does not.
However, there is a big perk to living in a year-round community that this reporter has taken advantage of: same room sign-up. This means that if you like your room, you can sign-up to stay in the same room for the following year. What does that mean for you and your parents? No one having to move out at the end of the summer semester, or move in again at the beginning of the next fall. I personally have not moved in or out of my housing for over two years now, because I like living there so much and love not having to move. In addition, you can stay in your room during all breaks between semesters, which you cannot do in academic-year housing. This can be very beneficial, especially if you live far away and don’t want to have to fly home between semesters.
Choosing Your Housing Community
After you decide which type of housing agreement would be the best fit for you, it’s time to look at your housing community options. There are three main factors to consider when comparing the housing communities to each other: floor plans, location, and cost.
- The oldest community and the smallest first-year community with only 418 residents.
- Two types of floor plans: a 4-person and a 5-person. Residents share a bathroom and common area with 3 or 4 suitemates and share a bedroom with one roommate. For the 5-person floor plan, the only difference is that one of the 5 residents has a private their bedroom.
- Located close to the heart of campus, Apollo is the closest community to the library, Reflection Pond, and Student Union and is also close to one of the dining halls (63 South) and Health Center.
- This is the cheapest on-campus option.
- The largest first-year community with 1019 residents.
- Two floor plans: L-shaped and square-shaped. Both are 4-person suites, with residents sharing a Jack-and-Jill style bathroom between the two bedrooms. The main difference between these two plans is the L-shaped can offer more privacy, while the square shaped has both beds across the room from each other.
- Libra is near Apollo, so it is also near the heart of campus, close to the Health Center and Ferrell Commons.
- Libra is more expensive than Apollo, but cheaper than the other housing communities.
Nike and Hercules
- Part of the “Academic Village” and identical to each other.
- Only one floor plan that freshmen can apply for: the standard suite. Similar to Apollo’s 4-person suite except instead of a common area, the room has a shared hallway.
- Located down Libra drive. While these are the furthest academic-year communities from the heart of campus, they are close to the Recreation and Wellness Center and have a Black/Gold shuttle stop nearby.
- These two communities are the third and fourth cheapest on-campus housing options.
- Great if you’re looking for a community that will give you opportunities to be healthier (or force you to be due to the amount of walking and close access to the RWC).
- The third housing community making up the Academic Village.
- Neptune’s floorplan is a 4/2: four bedrooms, two baths. In addition, it has a pantry area built next to the bathrooms, providing more storage.
- Located next to Nike and Hercules.
- More expensive than Nike and Hercules, but cheaper than Lake Claire.
- Great for freshmen who still want the traditional on-campus housing experience, but don’t want to share a room.
- Apartment style (comes with a kitchen and living room) with a 4 bed/2 bath floorplan.
- Closest housing to several classrooms buildings, including CAHSA, VAB, NSC, CB1, CB2, and PSY.
- Cheapest apartment style on-campus housing, but more expensive than the shared suite options listed above.
- Great for those who want an apartment.
- Apartment style, 4 bed/2 bath and 2 bed/1 bath floorplans.
- Located on the Rosen campus, 30-45 minutes away from main Orlando campus.
- Great if you are a Hospitality major and attending classes on Rosen campus.
- The largest of the housing communities.
- Freshmen-heavy, but upperclassmen also live here.
- Two apartment style floorplans: limited amount of 4 bed/4 baths, mainly 4/2s. Bigger than Lake Claire apartments.
- Towers are split into four buildings spread over Knights Plaza, two to each side of the CFE Arena. Close to plenty of food options, including a dining hall (Knightro’s), and near all athletic areas and Memory Mall.
- More expensive than other housing options except Northview. However, several of the businesses in Knights Plaza offer deals and discounts to Tower residents.
- Towers has the most availability. So if you’re signing up a bit late for housing and you really want to live on-campus (like I did), Towers is a good choice.
- Newest housing, considered the luxury option.
- Has 7 floorplans: 4 bed/4 bath, a 4 bed/4 bath Loft, and 5 different 2 bed/2 bath options.
- While considered on-campus housing, Northview is located off-campus across from the Spectrum Stadium. There is a shuttle that runs between Northview and campus for residents to use, so students do not have to walk to class.
- The most expensive housing option. However, residents do not need to pay to park in Northview’s garage or for laundry. In addition, residents get a free 60’ TV to use and very comfortable furniture, so many residents feel it is worth the cost.
- Great for those who want the luxury on-campus experience and do not want to share a bedroom or bathroom with someone else. However, you should always leave early as the shuttle can get delayed. And don’t count on driving to campus if you’re running late as you would need to pay for a parking permit and deal with the extreme difficulty of parking on-campus, which requires leaving early anyways. So if you are not an early riser or run late often, you might want to choose a different community.
Photos supplied by UCF Lives Here: 2017-18. UCF Housing and Residence Life, 2017.