I’m Going To Culinary School – Should I Live On Campus?
The question of whether or not to live on a college campus isn’t one that many culinary students face. Because culinary school has become so interwoven into most medium-sized and large cities, you can usually find a good program in your area—no moving or adjusting your home life required.
Additionally, most community college culinary programs and smaller vocational schools don’t have a campus equipped for on-site housing. In these instances, the schools expect you to figure out your own lodgings.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t culinary schools with on campus housing. Many of the larger institutions like the Culinary Institute of America do offer traditional dormitories, and an estimated 1,700 students live at CIA each year. Other four-year universities and colleges that are known as destination schools (including international culinary schools) offer similar housing options.
Benefits of Living on Campus
Some culinary students love living on campus, while for others, it can be a struggle or an impossibility due to family obligations. Ideal for students fresh out of high school or who don’t otherwise have ties to their hometown, on-campus housing means that you can truly immerse yourself in your education. You will find:
Easy access to campus amenities (libraries and study resources)
A strong, education-focused atmosphere
Lifetime friends and colleagues
Short commute times
More time to spend on schoolwork
Like traditional universities, however, don’t expect your culinary school to provide palatial living quarters. You can expect roommates, small rooms, communal bathrooms and living spaces, and all the features that come with dormitory life.
You can also expect to pay for these services—off campus and on campus housing comparisons almost always show that living off campus is a smarter financial move over the long term.
Scholarships and Grants for Housing
Of course, if you do choose to live on campus, you may be able to find financial aid designated solely for that purpose. The complete “college experience” is one that many organizations believe is conducive to better educational outcomes and a more focused approach to learning, and scholarships and grants may be available to cover on-campus housing.
If living on campus for culinary school is something you want, be sure and look at schools that make this a priority. For schools that don’t offer housing, you may also be able to find resources for connecting with other students in the area hoping to find a roommate or get an apartment close to school. The admissions and student life offices should have more information.
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.