TOEFL essay example: Live in an apartment or house off campus

Some students prefer to live on campus in a dormitory. Others prefer to live in an apartment or house off campus. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

Nowadays, more and more students go to study far from home. Among a lot of things to concern, housing is likely the most important matter for students. Some of them choose to live in a dormitory while others prefer to live off campus. In my opinion, I think it is more beneficial for students to live in an apartment off campus.

The first reason is that a student who lives in a apartment can choose his roommates . In fact, it is very necessary to have an appropriate roommate because that person can affect our study as well as the private life very much. When a student lives on campus, he usually does not have the right to choose his roommate. In most cases, if one’s characteristics are so different from another, it can lead to disputes or even affect the studying of the two.

Furthermore, living off campus means that students do not need to follow all of the strict rules and policies so they will feel more independent and comfortable. For example, they can go home late at night or come to their friends’ houses overnight. In fact, some dormitories have so many policies that are difficult to follow. Besides, students can do everything they like in their room in the apartment such as turn on music loudly, cooking or invite many friends to their houses.

Finally, if students live off campus, they have more opportunities to contact with other people outside school thus they can accumulate valuable experience in the real life. Actually, there are so problems that one will encounter with when living in an apartment. This means that they must try to solve those problems and it is a good way to develop their social skills for a successful life later.

In conclusion, although there are a lot of advantages of living on campus, we also can not deny that the life off campus can bring students many benefits for their future later. By that way, they will be more independent and active.

I appreciate any comments from all you.:slight_smile:

TOEFL listening lectures: What is the main difference between a fad and a trend?

You can have mine :wink:
Besides the essay I want to comment some things. First of all I live on a campus in a single room and honestly it is quite comfortable in terms of utilities,transport and problem solvings.It is safer,quieter and cleaner.
Secondly, when student lives off campus, there are a lot of problems-landlords,room conditions and mates (it is impossible for an average student to afford a private house in order to live independently,so there are always room mates that make your life a disaster) and if you have any problem you do not have anyone to ask for help.
However,this is only information for all of you who are going to study abroad.
Secondly,living on campus, gives you the opportunity to be in an appropriate circumstances of academic staff and students and to exchange useful information and experience rather than living off, because you will probably live with or around a middle (or even under) class workers with poor english and education. SO good experience may be gained throughout your job.It is much more important what kind of job you are to start than where you will live.
Finally,you have good ideas and much better essay style.But I need to highlight some points of it in order to see your next essay even better than this :slight_smile:
When you have an essay with two options to choose you subsequently need to compare them and show the advantages and disadvantages of the both sides.You gave the advantages of your prefered choice and disadvantages of the other option.Try to mention not only in you conclusion what are the positives of the other point,I promise this will give you point on the real TOEFL exam.Because it is a matter of a writing structure and rules.2 choices-point what you prefer-give examples of advantages,briefly mention disadvantages-then say something for the other side( disadvantages first,then admit some positives,but briefly again)-conclude-your essay should help your reader to come up with the same conclusion following the order of your statements. And thats all :slight_smile:
And remember never never never mention new idea in your conclusion even like this- “by the way”.It is better to go back and try to find a space for it in the body and even more to extend it, or if you cant or if you are in the exam it will be better not to write it than to put it in your conclusion because no matter how nice and good is your essay the conclusion may mess up the whole work.Try to order your ideas.
Thats all
keep on improving :slight_smile:
See you again
All the best,

Hi Silviya,
Thank for your advice a lot. :slight_smile:
However, I feel a bit confused about your suggestion:“When you have an essay with two options to choose you subsequently need to compare them and show the advantages and disadvantages of the both sides.You gave the advantages of your prefered choice and disadvantages of the other option” because my friends and my english teacher advise that I should sipmly answer the question: which do you prefer?, and mainly talk about the option I choose.
And if I follow your suggestion, my writing will have a structure of 4 paragraphs,right?
I mean one introduction, one conclusion, one mainly about advantages of my prefered choice and one mainly about disadvantages of the other.
Can you give me an example of that style?

It’s not strictly necessary to turn these ‘prefer’ topics into full-on compare/contrast style essays.

Pointing out the disadvantages of the other option can be integrated into your main body paragraphs as a contrasting device to support your own arguments. I wouldn’t, for example, dedicate a whole body paragraph to attacking the other option. I would stick to explaining the main ideas in support of your preference, and WHERE APPROPRIATE, include negative aspects of the other option where they can be seen to be directly relevant to the idea you are explaining and supporting.

Here’s an example outline:

Preference: Living off-campus

Body 1: Can choose a more convenient neighborhood
Details: Close to supermarkets and entertainment, bigger range of bookshops etc
Example: My university campus has limited access to good supermarkets and entertainment other than the traditional “uni pubs”. There is also only one bookshop - the University bookshop - and it is quite expensive. By contrast, living off campus in a different neighborhood gives me access to a large supermarket, a shopping mall with a movie theater, and several bookshops including some second-hand ones…

Using the negative example is also a GREAT WAY TO SHOW OFF SOME IMPORTANT LANGUAGE SKILLS, namely use of conditionals and particularly the 3rd conditional. For example: “If I had chosen to live on campus instead of off campus, I wouldn’t have been able to …”

However, before you try to use this sort of tactic, make sure you can argue one preference clearly first using the basic essay model. Moving up to detailed comparison and contrast inside your essay is only recommended once you have the basic essay approach comfortably in your grasp.

I hope that makes sense…


  • Jason

All of your advice is really helpful.
In fact, I began to write the first complete essay 3 months ago (when I intended to take a toefl test) although I have learned English for several years.
Therefore, I know that my writing needs improving much more to get a high score in the real test. All of you in this forums help and encourage me a lot.
Every time I see a comment or advice from one of you, I feel very glad and encouraged.:slight_smile:
By the way, which level do you think I am on now? Can I get a good score if I take the test 2 or 3 months after ( ofcourse, I will work hard :))?

All the best,