Before You Move
There are many avenues to investigate before selecting an off-campus residence.
Connect with roommates.
Many student apartment communities offer roommate matching or you can visit our message
board to connect with potential roommates. To view the message board, just log in using your network ID. If you need assistance, please contact us at
803-777-7130 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out community safety and walkability.
Once you settle on living in an area of town or a community, check into details such
as the walk score to see if it's close to campus, restaurants and shopping and check into the area's crime map (contact the law enforcement agency with primary jurisdiction to verify crime in a
Consider different housing options.
Looking for four bedrooms? Need to be within walking distance to campus? Prefer a condo or house? Search Garnet Living — the Daily Gamecock's searchable listing of available, student-friendly off campus housing options. Or research student apartment communities that have an established relationship with the university and house mostly USC students.
Search Off-Campus Housing Options
Columbia offers a range of traditional, family-friendly housing options and apartments.
You can widen your search on websites such as ApartmentFinder.com, ApartmentList.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, and Homes.com.
Find a Roommate or Sublet
Connect with hundreds of students on our message board. Just log in using your network ID. If you need assistance, please contact us at 803-777-3366 or email us at email@example.com.
Evaluating Your Choices
Think you've found the perfect place? Be sure it meets the the following criteria before signing on the dotted line.
- Will you be able to afford rent for the duration of your lease?
- What is included in your rent? Are all utilities included, or do you have to pay extra?
- Does your rent include a utilities cap? If so, can you afford to pay for utilities if you exceed your cap?
- How long is your commute to campus? Can you afford to pay for gas and parking?
- Does your off-campus community provide a shuttle to and from campus?
- What will food, school supplies and books cost? How do these factor into your other living costs?
- Will your residence be furnished or will you have to purchase furniture? If the apartment or house is furnished, is there an associated fee for it?
- If the apartment is partially furnished, what furnishings are included? What furnishings will you need to purchase yourself?
Investigate Columbia's variety of communities.
The Columbia area has a wide range of affordable communities and neighborhoods. Downtown Columbia, West Columbia and Cayce are closest to campus, but students, faculty and staff reside all over the Midlands.
Downtown Columbia offers many residential neighborhoods, entertainment districts and apartment communities that are in close proximity to campus.
The city of Cayce is located just over the Blossom Street bridge that runs past the Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center and the Greek Village. Although Cayce is a part of Lexington County, depending on how close to the Congaree River you live, the drive to campus can take only 3-5 minutes. Cayce provides both apartment communities and houses for rent.
The city of West Columbia is located just over the Gervais Street bridge. Depending on how close to the Congaree River you live, the drive to campus can be as short as 5-10 minutes.
Family-friendly Forest Acres is as a city within a city. The drive to campus often takes about 10-15 minutes depending on time and traffic. Forest Acres provides mostly houses and converted apartments for rent.
Irmo is located just past Harbison Boulevard on Interstate 26. Irmo is heavily populated with university faculty and staff as well as some students. The drive to campus could take 25-40 minutes depending on interstate traffic.
Situated northeast of downtown, this fast-growing area includes apartment communities and family friendly neighborhoods. The drive to campus could take anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on the interstate traffic.
Lexington is heavily populated by university faculty and staff as well as a good amount of students. The drive to campus could take 30-40 minutes depending on your location and traffic.