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Apartment Hunting Tips for Chicago Graduate Students

Apr 21st, 2014

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As the third largest urban area in the United States, a cultural haven, and a hub for academia and many research-intensive industries, Chicago appeals to many graduate and professional students. With its suburban-calm feel, close proximity to downtown Chicago, and status as the seat of the prestigious Northwestern University, Evanston in particular is a graduate student’s paradise.

When students from out of town arrive for their undergraduate education, they typically have the option of dormitory living for at least the first year or two. While Northwestern and many other Chicago universities offer graduate student housing, space is often limited and almost always apartment-style anyway. If you would prefer to search for an apartment near Northwestern or any other Chicagoland institute of higher education on your own, keep the following tips in mind during the apartment hunting process.

Think About Your Studies

Wherever you end up living, the place should be suitable for your academic needs. Choose an apartment floorplan that offers nooks or other spaces naturally well-suited for studying. Some luxury apartments near Northwestern University are exceptionally amenable on this front. AMLI Evanston, for example, offers residents have 24/7 access to a WiFi-enabled cyber spot with a printer.

Remember Comfort Counts

In order to work productively and manage your time as a graduate student, it’s important to have comfortable and amenable live and work environments. Look for a place where you can work and rest easily. In order to prevent burnout, consider community features that make your downtime enjoyable, such as a social lounge with fireplaces and a community kitchen, or a rooftop deck with firepits and grilling stations.

Consider the Location

Finances may make certain parts of town seem off limits, but do your best to work within your budget to find an apartment near Northwestern University or wherever you may be studying. Consider getting away from undergrad housing on campus and live near public transportation. Living close to where you spend most of your time will limit your commute and make your life in Evanston more convenient.

Seek Other Amenities

When assessing the amenities offered by Evanston rental apartments, consider your priorities and preferences. If you like to get regular exercise and are worried that the time it takes to get to or from a gym will discourage you from working out several times a week, choose an apartment with a state-of-the-art fitness center. If you enjoy Pilates and yoga, look for an apartment with a studio. If you like to commute by bicycle when weather permits, try to find an apartment that offers convenient covered bicycle storage. If you have a pet, look for an apartment that has an on-site paw wash.

Tour the Apartment First

If you can help it, do not sign a lease agreement until you have toured the apartment and its surrounding neighborhood. This will help you get a feel for the sense of the community of which you will be a part of. On the tour, ask any questions you may have such as what utilities are included, if there is a pet deposit, what the neighborhood is like, and any exterior maintenance. A few other things to look at: Test all appliances, lights, and plumbing fixtures, as well as the apartment’s heating and air conditioning systems. If you are locked into a cell phone plan with a provider, bring your mobile to test out the reception. If you can’t make it to the actual apartment, look for online or virtual tours which are a great option for international students and those leasing out of town.

Evanston is an excellent place to study with several great living options, as are many other suburbs and neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area. We wish you the best of luck with your move, the apartment hunting process, and your studies. With a bit of research and patience, you should find a great grad school apartment in which you can Live Life + Love Life as a grad school student to the fullest!

During Day at Kellogg for Northwestern University graduate students, AMLI Evanston is providing shuttles for those apartment hunters interested in touring our community. Click here for more details.

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