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Hey future MIT-ers. (Well, I am probably attending, still finalizing). Thought I'd make a thread for us.

My question--

Where do you think you'll live next year? I am leaning towards an apartment rather than grad housing. Thoughts?

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Hey there! Accepted MIT's offer today.

I am leaning towards off-campus housing too, but not entirely sure whether it's the best idea considering I'm an international student and might be getting there just before classes start. However, as compared to on-campus housing, it seems more economical. Any thoughts?

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Hey there! Accepted MIT's offer today.

I am leaning towards off-campus housing too, but not entirely sure whether it's the best idea considering I'm an international student and might be getting there just before classes start. However, as compared to on-campus housing, it seems more economical. Any thoughts?

Hey! Where are you coming from??

I am leaning towards off campus for a few reasons (order of following reasons is not a ranking):

1) I can pick a more exact location

2) I can pick my roommates

3) All MIT housing is furnished except for one dorm and I want to bring my own furniture

4) the MIT housing I saw was very small and not very homey

5) off campus is cheaper or about the same price

I've been browsing craiglist and it seems there are a lot of options... thinking of contacting some people in the next two months and then visiting at the end of pay and picking out a place.

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Hi all! Just accepted my offer yesterday and I'm pretty excited about moving to Cambridge/Somerville/Boston. I've had close friends in the Boston area for awhile now and here's my two cents about on- vs. off-campus:

For off-campus housing, make sure you take into account utilities and whether the landlord will make you pay First/Last month's rent upfront. I believe that the rent listed for MIT housing includes utilities which is a big plus. While First/Last doesn't affect the overall cost of housing, upfront costs can add up quickly and limit your off-campus options depending on how much money you have available (also, furnishing a place yourself can be significant expense). Another thing to note is that the whole city basically turns over on September 1 so a lot of places won't even be listed until about a month before then.

That said, there are plenty of affordable places off-campus and if you don't want dorm-style housing, it's your best bet. I've heard that MIT has a pretty good housing board that's a bit more filtered than craigslist, but you need an MIT ID of some kind to access it. Worth looking into for sure.

Personally, I'm looking into on-campus grad housing but I imagine that my situation is different from most (moving with my girlfriend, so MIT family housing really is the most affordable option for the location).

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Another thing to note is that the whole city basically turns over on September 1 so a lot of places won't even be listed until about a month before then.

I was planning on visiting at the very end of May to check some places out-- do you think I'll be able to find anything that early??

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Hi all! Just accepted my offer yesterday and I'm pretty excited about moving to Cambridge/Somerville/Boston. I've had close friends in the Boston area for awhile now and here's my two cents about on- vs. off-campus:

For off-campus housing, make sure you take into account utilities and whether the landlord will make you pay First/Last month's rent upfront. I believe that the rent listed for MIT housing includes utilities which is a big plus. While First/Last doesn't affect the overall cost of housing, upfront costs can add up quickly and limit your off-campus options depending on how much money you have available (also, furnishing a place yourself can be significant expense). Another thing to note is that the whole city basically turns over on September 1 so a lot of places won't even be listed until about a month before then.

That said, there are plenty of affordable places off-campus and if you don't want dorm-style housing, it's your best bet. I've heard that MIT has a pretty good housing board that's a bit more filtered than craigslist, but you need an MIT ID of some kind to access it. Worth looking into for sure.

Personally, I'm looking into on-campus grad housing but I imagine that my situation is different from most (moving with my girlfriend, so MIT family housing really is the most affordable option for the location).

I'm also looking at the on-campus grad family housing situation. There are two apartments you can choose from, so I think I will fill out an application in the coming weeks and cross my fingers that we get a spot.

The apartments I've seen on craigslist seem a little pricey, but I'm sure that in the coming weeks there will be some more options. The good thing about living at eastgate or westgate is that you have utilities included, which in the winter months could make a significant difference in your monthly budget. Also, can't beat the location :)

Which building are you leaning towards? From what I can tell from the site westgate units are a little smaller and it's a 20 min walk to the T-stop, which your spouse may need to use on a daily basis, depending on their job. 20 minutes isn't so long, but then I imagine in freezing snow 20 min might be kinda painful. Eastgate is much closer to the T-stop. Since I'm not familiar with the area, not sure where there are more markets, restaurants, etc.

Edited by loulou29
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I was planning on visiting at the very end of May to check some places out-- do you think I'll be able to find anything that early??

I think you're likely to find something at the end of May with the undergraduate population leaving town, but from what I've heard, you have even more options that open up later on (say, the end of July/beginning of August). I've also been advised against renting in places where there are high concentrations of undergrads (mostly because of noise), but I think that's a personal preference thing.

Which building are you leaning towards? From what I can tell from the site westgate units are a little smaller and it's a 20 min walk to the T-stop, which your spouse may need to use on a daily basis, depending on their job. 20 minutes isn't so long, but then I imagine in freezing snow 20 min might be kinda painful. Eastgate is much closer to the T-stop. Since I'm not familiar with the area, not sure where there are more markets, restaurants, etc.

We're leaning toward Eastgate as well. I actually am not very familiar with the side of the MIT campus that Westgate is on, but I imagine that most of where you'll want to go will be in Kendall Square or Central Square which makes the T a big plus. My girlfriend and I have been in New England for 4+ years now, so the cold doesn't bother us too much anymore :P

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I think you're likely to find something at the end of May with the undergraduate population leaving town, but from what I've heard, you have even more options that open up later on (say, the end of July/beginning of August). I've also been advised against renting in places where there are high concentrations of undergrads (mostly because of noise), but I think that's a personal preference thing.

Hmmm... I would prefer not to live in a highly undergrad area just since it's not really my scene... I want to look for (and find!) a place in late May, but not start the lease until August/September when my program begins. Any idea about the feasability of this (coupled with finding a place in a non-undergrad area). Sorry if my questions are super specific!

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Hmmm... I would prefer not to live in a highly undergrad area just since it's not really my scene... I want to look for (and find!) a place in late May, but not start the lease until August/September when my program begins. Any idea about the feasability of this (coupled with finding a place in a non-undergrad area). Sorry if my questions are super specific!

No worries! I can't be more specific than that unfortunately, but Linda Patton from the housing office gave a useful talk about off-campus housing at one of the MIT open houses. I imagine she'd be able to answer your questions better if no one comes out of the woodwork here. Her contact info:

http://studentlife.mit.edu/user/1778

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We're leaning toward Eastgate as well. I actually am not very familiar with the side of the MIT campus that Westgate is on, but I imagine that most of where you'll want to go will be in Kendall Square or Central Square which makes the T a big plus. My girlfriend and I have been in New England for 4+ years now, so the cold doesn't bother us too much anymore :P

Have you heard anything about how difficult it is to get a unit? I saw on the website that it's done by lottery, but I wonder what the chances are? It seems like living in eastgate would be ideal for us since we are moving from abroad and the less hassle with leases/deposits/transfering utilities to our names and searching craiglist, the better :)

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Hey there! Accepted MIT's offer today.

I am leaning towards off-campus housing too, but not entirely sure whether it's the best idea considering I'm an international student and might be getting there just before classes start. However, as compared to on-campus housing, it seems more economical. Any thoughts?

Hey everyone! I am a first year MIT international student. My lab is outside Boston so I don't have personal experience with getting housing in Boston/Cambridge, but I have lots of classmates who have experience.

One thing I will say is that housing in the Boston area for Sept 1 is in very high demand. Many of my friends signed leases in July for housing in September. Landlords will often do credit checks before approving a tenant. Since international students will not have a credit history in the USA, landlords may be hesitant to rent to them.

Also, one other expense for off-campus housing is that you may be required to pay a realtor/broker fee of up to one month's rent up front (the exact fee may be negotiable, but if you refuse to pay the fee completely, they will probably be able to find another prospective tenant willing to pay it). This broker fee is in addition to upfront costs of up to 3 months rent (first and last month's rent, plus security deposit).

Also, I would second the suggestion to contact Linda Patton before starting your housing search as she will have lots of advice on your rights as a tenant and your options based on when you are planning on arriving in Cambridge and where you're coming from. She helped one of my friends get out of a bad lease (they accepted a house share without viewing the place first).

I have some friends who got MIT grad housing and love it, and some who had roommate conflicts and can't wait to leave.

Hope this helps!

Edited by titration
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I'm also looking at the on-campus grad family housing situation. There are two apartments you can choose from, so I think I will fill out an application in the coming weeks and cross my fingers that we get a spot.

The apartments I've seen on craigslist seem a little pricey, but I'm sure that in the coming weeks there will be some more options. The good thing about living at eastgate or westgate is that you have utilities included, which in the winter months could make a significant difference in your monthly budget. Also, can't beat the location :)

Which building are you leaning towards? From what I can tell from the site westgate units are a little smaller and it's a 20 min walk to the T-stop, which your spouse may need to use on a daily basis, depending on their job. 20 minutes isn't so long, but then I imagine in freezing snow 20 min might be kinda painful. Eastgate is much closer to the T-stop. Since I'm not familiar with the area, not sure where there are more markets, restaurants, etc.

I'm coming to MIT in the fall as well, nice to meet you folks.

I will be moving with my fiancee, and I got to see one Westgate apartment when I came to visit. I was not a fan, but here are my thoughts:

- $1,300/month for a one bedroom. It had a very spacious living room, medium sized bedroom, but the kitchen and bathroom were essentially closets. It would be impossible to have two people in that kitchen at the same time, so that was a major negative.

- I believe utilities were included, but parking was not, and we will have a car. From what I was told, a single parking space comes out to >$1,000/year.

- We would ideally like to live in a small 2BR so that we can turn one BR into an office. From what I was told it is basically impossible to get a 2BR if you don't have kids. Also, you are required to put down a deposit when you list your preferences, so if you don't like the room you are assigned to, you have to lose the deposit if you choose to live elsewhere.

- This was a little unclear, but it seems that you need to re-apply for your room after your first year, which means that even if you end up in a place that you love, you may have to move the following year anyway.

- The rooms felt very much like dorm rooms in that they were old, had very little character, and were a bit depressing.

All in all, I think we're better off looking for something off campus. It will likely be a bit more expensive, but it's important to us that we have a space that we like and that won't depress the hell out of us, having to come home to it every night. We've been using padmapper to look for places, but we were walking around Kendall the other day and noticed that there are a lot of new-ish looking large apartment buildings a few blocks from campus. Anyone know anything about these places? Are they affordable for grad students?

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I will definitely contact Linda Patton then before starting my search! I'm already browsing Craiglist religiously, in the thought that the perfect place might come up...

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I will definitely contact Linda Patton then before starting my search! I'm already browsing Craiglist religiously, in the thought that the perfect place might come up...

As am I. And I keep finding the perfect place. Except that it always costs 30% more than I can afford =(

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Hi all! I'm looking into on campus housing. During my visit a few weeks ago, current grad students told me to avoid Tang at all costs, but other than that, they were all pretty similar. Did any of you hear similar things on what to go for / avoid? It's hard to rank these for the housing lottery! Especially since I forgot to visit them during my few days on campus.

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Hi all! I'm looking into on campus housing. During my visit a few weeks ago, current grad students told me to avoid Tang at all costs, but other than that, they were all pretty similar. Did any of you hear similar things on what to go for / avoid? It's hard to rank these for the housing lottery! Especially since I forgot to visit them during my few days on campus.

Did they specify any reason as to why to avoid Tang? It's kind of my second option, given I don't want to be spending too much on housing. And right now, Ashdown and Tang seem like the only two feasible options.

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Did they specify any reason as to why to avoid Tang? It's kind of my second option, given I don't want to be spending too much on housing. And right now, Ashdown and Tang seem like the only two feasible options.

Nope, they didn't say why but they all agreed. And I want to save money so I had Tang as my #1 haha. Now I'm debating whether or not to do it!

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Did they specify any reason as to why to avoid Tang? It's kind of my second option, given I don't want to be spending too much on housing. And right now, Ashdown and Tang seem like the only two feasible options.

When I visited last month, they took us on a housing tour and said pretty much the same thing. Tang is not only older (so the rooms aren't as nice), but it's also further away from where all the other grad dorms are situated. Although the extra 10-15 minute walk doesn't seem like much (especially to those of us coming from really large universities), it apparently makes Tang somewhat more socially isolated from the rest of the on-campus grad community. If you get lucky at Tang, there're some rooms with a gorgeous view of the Charles River, but that and the low cost are the only real positives of living there.

The other thing the current grads told us was that, anecdotally, if you put down Tang anywhere on your housing application, you'll probably get it. Thus, if you're trying to avoid it, don't mention it anywhere on your app. On the other hand, it also means that if you do decide you want to live there (it *is* cheaper than the alternatives), you'll probably be able to get a place.

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When I visited last month, they took us on a housing tour and said pretty much the same thing. Tang is not only older (so the rooms aren't as nice), but it's also further away from where all the other grad dorms are situated. Although the extra 10-15 minute walk doesn't seem like much (especially to those of us coming from really large universities), it apparently makes Tang somewhat more socially isolated from the rest of the on-campus grad community. If you get lucky at Tang, there're some rooms with a gorgeous view of the Charles River, but that and the low cost are the only real positives of living there.

The other thing the current grads told us was that, anecdotally, if you put down Tang anywhere on your housing application, you'll probably get it. Thus, if you're trying to avoid it, don't mention it anywhere on your app. On the other hand, it also means that if you do decide you want to live there (it *is* cheaper than the alternatives), you'll probably be able to get a place.

Thanks for this! It helps a lot. Filling out my housing preferences right now.

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I was planning to stay in the dorms for 6 months and then off campus. Is this possible?

No, the lease is for a full year (up through August).

Did they specify any reason as to why to avoid Tang? It's kind of my second option, given I don't want to be spending too much on housing. And right now, Ashdown and Tang seem like the only two feasible options.

Why no love for Sid-Pac? I think it's at least the equal to Ashdown.

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Why no love for Sid-Pac? I think it's at least the equal to Ashdown.

A lot more expensive than Ashdown. The only option I can afford at Sid-Pac is the quad, and sharing a bedroom is out of the question for me.

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Hey folks, I'm looking for roommates, prefereably gay or queer females/trans/nonbinary/genderqueer (or friendly to all of those) type folks for housing in Cambridge this upcoming school year. Ideally I'd like to rent a house with 3-4 bedrooms, but I am open to a smaller place if I find the right roommates. Anyhow, if anyone is interested send me a message!

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  • 3 years later...

Hey guys, I got admitted to MIT a few weeks ago. A question about grad housing on campus: is it on a first come first serve basis? Or does it not matter when you apply as long as you apply before the deadline? MIT hasn't sent me anything except an admission letter yet and I'm a little worried that I won't have any student info to apply for grad housing with when graduate allocation opens for fall 2016. 

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40 minutes ago, j118 said:

Hey guys, I got admitted to MIT a few weeks ago. A question about grad housing on campus: is it on a first come first serve basis? Or does it not matter when you apply as long as you apply before the deadline? MIT hasn't sent me anything except an admission letter yet and I'm a little worried that I won't have any student info to apply for grad housing with when graduate allocation opens for fall 2016. 

j118, it's a housing lottery. You just have to get your housing application in by the deadline, which is sometime in May, I believe. Also, if you're worried after looking at the MIT thread from last year, there should be a lot more housing next year since Sid Pac will be completely open again. 

Also, FYI, this is a 4 year old thread. I believe there's a newer one in the current Meet and Greet section.

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