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2 hours ago, krystasonrisa said:

About safety- You're going to see/hear people identify East Urbana and North Champaign as "dangerous," but they're not dangerous, just poor and mostly Black/Latinx. Statistically, the most dangerous place in CU is the Champaign side of campus. I don't have exact numbers, but every time there's an incident, it seems to be around W Green St. 

That said, East Urbana and North Champaign are the least accessible areas by public transportation. (Who could have guessed.) So for that reason only, I would not recommend an apartment in those areas.

There is an abundance of apartments, so I wouldn't be worried. Subleasers are everywhere, too. I have a great 1BR on a bus line (15 min to campus) I'll be subleasing around that time. ;) Feel free to message me if you have any other questions! 

Good ol' Midwestern code. 

Edited by Entangled Phantoms

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On 2/15/2017 at 11:37 AM, IcedCapp said:

Has anybody moved to Champagne-Urbana from a big city? Do you like it? I'm considering taking the offer and moving to Champagne-Urbana, but I do have a concern other than school. I've never lived in a small city/town. My hometown and the cities I had lived in are all very large, vibrant and international cities. I DO like the atmosphere of small cities and towns (relaxing lifestyles and friendly people), but most of my experiences staying in such places were during travels. I'm accepted by a great PhD program at UIUC and I know it's a long journey. It would be very helpful if I can hear some comments from people who have the same experience.

On 2/17/2017 at 0:01 AM, IcedCapp said:

Thanks @DiscoTech! That helps! I'm making a list of those features that are important to me and trying to match it with CU.

    Most important features: the program itself (very good) and the security issue(?);

    Quite important features: climate (nice), living expenses (?), public transport (seems nice), political atmosphere(? I care about this quite a bit as an international student, minority and female);

    Less important features: cafes and restaurants(?), museums and cultural activities(?)

I need to do more research on the features I marked "?" about CU. Welcome to comment on these if anybody knows anything! Thanks very much!

 

6 hours ago, IcedCapp said:

Thanks very much @krystasonrisa! Urbana does sound a better place for me to live (checked a lot of info and most peeps recommend Urbana)! Safety is my priority when looking for an apartment. Just wondering is it too late to look for and sign an apartment in August? Since I'm an international student and I'm not likely to visit CU any time earlier than August. 

Thanks again!

I lived in Minneapolis for my undergrad, and I do like living in Champaign-Urbana. I have heard Champaign-Urbana described as "micro-urban," and I would agree with that characterization. You can find almost all of the same things that can be found in big cities...there are just fewer of them and with less variety in Champaign-Urbana.

For security, you can take a look at this map (https://www.crimereports.com/home/#!/dashboard?lat=40.1117&lng=-88.2073&zoom=13&searchText=Urbana%2C%20Illinois%2C%20United%20States&incident_types=Assault%2CAssault%20with%20Deadly%20Weapon%2CBreaking%20%26%20Entering%2CDisorder%2CDrugs%2CHomicide%2CKidnapping%2CLiquor%2COther%20Sexual%20Offense%2CProperty%20Crime%2CProperty%20Crime%20Commercial%2CProperty%20Crime%20Residential%2CQuality%20of%20Life%2CRobbery%2CSexual%20Assault%2CSexual%20Offense%2CTheft%2CTheft%20from%20Vehicle%2CTheft%20of%20Vehicle&start_date=2016-08-25&end_date=2017-02-21&days=sunday%2Cmonday%2Ctuesday%2Cwednesday%2Cthursday%2Cfriday%2Csaturday&start_time=0&end_time=23&include_sex_offenders=false&current_tab=map&shapeIds=). The University sends students an email whenever a serious crime occurs on campus or in its immediate vicinity. If you go solely by those emails, you'd think that practically all crime occurs in Champaign right near the university. However, as you can see from this map, crime is spread throughout the cities. Having said that, I do consider Champaign-Urbana safe cities in which to live, certainly more so than big cities.

Compared to other places around the country, Champaign-Urbana is quite a cheap place to live, especially if you're coming from a large city (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/). However, your level of financial comfort is going to be determined by your stipend. When I first moved here, I made $24,720/year, and I was able to live comfortably without roommates. There are some programs with higher stipends than mine (e.g., Biochemistry, Computer Science), but most are lower, which may make it necessary to live with roommates. Contrary to what krystasonrisa said, I have never seen an apartment for $60/month, let alone a one-bedroom apartment. In my experience, most one-bedroom apartments near campus are going to be $500-$700/month, but this may get cheaper as you get farther away from campus, depending on what you're looking for.

If you ever talk to a civil engineer about MTD, they will boast that it's one of the best public transit systems in the nation. In my experience, it's no better than Minneapolis's, which is pretty good.

Champaign-Urbana, especially the university, is pretty liberal.

There are lots of great cafes and restaurants in Champaign-Urbana. You should have no trouble there, unless you're looking for something very specific.

We have a few museums that are worth going to at least once (e.g., Krannert Art Museum, Champaign County Historical Museum), but there are definitely not enough to fulfill a person for the length of an entire graduate degree. Thankfully, Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis are all within a three hour drive, and at least one city (Chicago) is accessible via bus/train. (The others may be too, but I've never looked into it.)

In my opinion, you should not wait until August to sign a lease. You will definitely still be able to find an apartment at that time, but it will be an apartment that almost everyone else who has looked has passed over. If you're not picky, that may be fine. Otherwise, probably not so much. When I first moved here, I leased my apartment sight unseen because I also was not able to visit until August. This worked for me because I asked a ton of questions and had the leasing agent take a ton of pictures of the apartment for me. It was still nerve-racking not having actually seen or smelled (I am highly sensitive to cigarette smoke) the apartment for myself, but it can be done if you're careful.

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@IcedCapp Congrats on the offer! As an international student who came from a city very much like yours and never lived in a small town before moving to CU, I have to say I didn't really like living there. I found it quite boring, and the city didn't grow on me throughout the few years I spend there at all. To me, living in a place with a lot of cultural activities, which is nonexistent in CU, is very important. Also, I was in a social science department and CU is an extremely engineering oriented place, and there wasn't a lot of exciting activities for us. That being said, I did meet a lot of people who enjoyed CU for different reasons.

Climate is very unpredictable in CU, and the winters are very rough. However, that really depends on the climate you are used to. In my city, below 0 C is rare, and it only snows 2-3 times in winters, so I found CU winters very hard to cope with. Other than the winters, summers are too hot, but the fall is very nice and it lasts long. Public transportation is really nice, if you choose your neighborhood wisely, you can actually rely on buses to go to class. I also really enjoyed the Amtrak rides to Chicago (which takes two and a half hours on average), and I went to the city for daily trips or for weekends frequently.

Political atmosphere is an important criteria for me as well, and like climate, what you are already used to matters a lot. It is not nonexistent, but as someone who came from a university with an active political life, I found CU and the campus quite disappointing. Undergrad involvement in political activities is low, and that makes a difference.

You hear about security a lot before going there, but I didn't experience anything bad. I lived in a few neighborhoods in Champaign, and I love the West Champaign area outside the campus best (south/west from Champaign Public Library, which is also a good study spot). It is a quiet area mostly occupied by grad students. Also, if you contact the tenant union, they send you a list of all the landlords with complaint records (https://tenantunion.illinois.edu/lookinghousing.asp) which I found very helpful. Overall, CU isn't an expensive place, but housing can be a problem. I recommend you to stay away on-campus apartments in Champaign, they tend to be small and overpriced. 

I will be happy to answer if you have more questions!

 

 

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On 2/15/2017 at 11:37 AM, IcedCapp said:

Has anybody moved to Champagne-Urbana from a big city? Do you like it? I'm considering taking the offer and moving to Champagne-Urbana, but I do have a concern other than school. I've never lived in a small city/town. My hometown and the cities I had lived in are all very large, vibrant and international cities. I DO like the atmosphere of small cities and towns (relaxing lifestyles and friendly people), but most of my experiences staying in such places were during travels. I'm accepted by a great PhD program at UIUC and I know it's a long journey. It would be very helpful if I can hear some comments from people who have the same experience.

My husband and I moved here from Chicago, and like @feyfatale, we've been very underwhelmed by our experience here. Not a ton to do, the local people tend to keep to themselves, so the only real social scene is on campus. There are some good microbreweries, and the Krannert Center hosts interesting concerts, but that's it. The restaurant options aren't great (though getting a little bit better). You have to drive a ways to find non-cornfield nature. After a school year, you've seen everything there is to be seen here. The upside is that you will get a lot of work done. Think of it as a place where you can focus fully on your work and get your PhD done faster. IMHO

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IcedCapp,

Are you looking for an apartment to move into in August? And you want to sign in August?

I lived in CU for 5 years and used only big landlords, like Green Street Realty (do not recommend), Advantage Properties (highly recommend), Roland Realty, University Group.

The good apartments thru these landlords for August move-in of a given year are usually leased out by February/March of that same year. So you'd probably need to look at some solo apartment complexes like

- 309 green ($750/month)

- tower at third ($800/month)

- burnham ($800/month)

- one south/north ($400-500/month)

Or sublease from someone travelling abroad for a semester, there's a facebook group for that I'm sure.

Here's a list to help you with your search: https://www.cribspot.com/blog/urbana-champaign-apartments-and-management-companies-list/VXiery0AAJsAaMaJ?ref=breakoutlist

As for crime, we have a mailing distro that the police department uses to send alerts to everyone on campus. I've noticed a trend where these crimes tend to happen at frat houses and dorms, and usually late night/early morning. 

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On 3/27/2017 at 7:41 AM, FreeThinker15 said:

Stopping by to bump this post. I am attending the Clinical Psychology program in the fall and am looking for advice on places to live! Any and all help is appreciated!

 Hey FreeThinker15,

I went to Urbana-Champaign for undergrad and I loved it. If you aren't driving to campus every day (which is totally reasonable and parking on campus isn't cheap) then I would stay between S. Neil St (West of campus) and S. Vine St (East of campus). I definitely know people outside of that range, but I think its pretty easy and most convenient to stay close to campus. How far North/South you should go depends on where you'll be working.

The bus lines can be found at www.cumtd.com (lol its supposed to be read C-U, M-T-D). The bus is free with your student ID. 

Landlords:

A popular landlord is CPM (Campus Property Management - not affiliated with the Uni). They are hit or miss - if you never need anything from them, then its fine and they have good prices. However, if anything breaks or you need something special, then good luck. They have a bad reputation for caring about their tenants. 

My landlord was Hunsinger Apartments, a small family owned business. They were also cheap and fixed things cheaply (as in they did minimal work), but they were nice and responsive. I had a bat in my apartment after hours and someone came over within 30 minutes and stayed for 2 hours while we figured out what to do with it. 

The Tenant Union may help with landlord reviews, although I'm not sure if you have to visit in person. http://union.illinois.edu/see-and-do/other-resources/tenant-union

Location:

You'll be closer to the parties in Champaign, but its also mostly undergrads. You'll find more graduate students in Urbana. I personally think the housing in Urbana is more unique, prettier surroundings, and its usually cheaper. You will be farther away from the bars, but there is plenty of public transit available. 

If you won't have a car at all, then grocery shopping might suck. I would check out where the grocery stores are when planning. 

 

That was all basic information...since I lived there for 4 years I have plenty to say, if you have more questions!

 

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On 3/30/2017 at 7:11 PM, born2cessna said:

 Hey FreeThinker15,

I went to Urbana-Champaign for undergrad and I loved it. If you aren't driving to campus every day (which is totally reasonable and parking on campus isn't cheap) then I would stay between S. Neil St (West of campus) and S. Vine St (East of campus). I definitely know people outside of that range, but I think its pretty easy and most convenient to stay close to campus. How far North/South you should go depends on where you'll be working.

The bus lines can be found at www.cumtd.com (lol its supposed to be read C-U, M-T-D). The bus is free with your student ID. 

Landlords:

A popular landlord is CPM (Campus Property Management - not affiliated with the Uni). They are hit or miss - if you never need anything from them, then its fine and they have good prices. However, if anything breaks or you need something special, then good luck. They have a bad reputation for caring about their tenants. 

My landlord was Hunsinger Apartments, a small family owned business. They were also cheap and fixed things cheaply (as in they did minimal work), but they were nice and responsive. I had a bat in my apartment after hours and someone came over within 30 minutes and stayed for 2 hours while we figured out what to do with it. 

The Tenant Union may help with landlord reviews, although I'm not sure if you have to visit in person. http://union.illinois.edu/see-and-do/other-resources/tenant-union

Location:

You'll be closer to the parties in Champaign, but its also mostly undergrads. You'll find more graduate students in Urbana. I personally think the housing in Urbana is more unique, prettier surroundings, and its usually cheaper. You will be farther away from the bars, but there is plenty of public transit available. 

If you won't have a car at all, then grocery shopping might suck. I would check out where the grocery stores are when planning. 

 

That was all basic information...since I lived there for 4 years I have plenty to say, if you have more questions!

 

Thank you so much for this advice! I will definitely take it all into consideration. Fortunately, I will have a car!

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I will be joining the UIUC community for the Fall semester, as well.  I am taking a trip to the area at the end of the month in order to look at neighborhoods and get a better grasp of what the area feels like.  I've seen so many conflicting recommendations of which areas to avoid when it comes to both towns. The only consensus seems to be the obvious one:  it's louder close to campus.  That will be the case at any major university, though. 

I don't know the roads or city geographic markers, so it's tough for me to distinguish some of the recommended areas without zooming incredibly far on my map searches.  I'm hoping my visit will help clear that up.  Then again, I'm not looking at apartments.  I am moving with my fiance, and we will be looking exclusively at houses and townhomes (depending on how close to an apartment it is).  I know this is going to cost a bit more, but that's just how it goes.

Access to bus transportation is not as important to us as the general quietness of the neighborhood, either.  I'm finding it strange how most of the rental listings for the area are posted with immediate availability.  I suppose there is no incentive to look for tenants early when you don't have to, but it's remarkably inconvenient for people coming from out-of-state.

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Hey everyone, I just got accepted to UIUC and planning a visit in April. I'm coming from Boston and it will be my first time in the Midwest.. Anyone have any recommendations for 1-bed apartments for me to check out when I visit? I'm looking to spend no more than $700 and ideally have utilities included.

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20 minutes ago, theprincessleia said:

can anyone recommend any 1-bed apartments under $700? 

Most apartments with all utilities and nice amenities included are closer to $900-1000/mo if you want to live in a safe neighborhood and relatively close to campus. I'd suggest looking into subleased apartments. Otherwise, a general suggestion would be that Urbana seems to be cheaper because most of the nightlife is in Champaign. Obviously, the closer you live to campus, the more expensive rent will be. Good luck!

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On 3/7/2018 at 7:59 PM, theprincessleia said:

Hey everyone, I just got accepted to UIUC and planning a visit in April. I'm coming from Boston and it will be my first time in the Midwest.. Anyone have any recommendations for 1-bed apartments for me to check out when I visit? I'm looking to spend no more than $700 and ideally have utilities included.

I agree that it will be difficult to find a one bedroom apartment close to campus with all utilities included for under $700. It can be done if you're willing to accept some of the cheapest apartments in town, but it may not have all of the amenities you're looking for. Any website where apartments are listed (hotpads, ApartmentFinder, craigslist, etc.) can be used to see what options are currently available in Champaign-Urbana. I also agree that Urbana will generally have cheaper apartment options available.

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