Advice for Admitted Students–Finding a House
Hey FES blog-o-verse! Writing to you all from the beginning of super-blizzard Nemo. Hoping all you New Englanders out there stay safe (we’ve had quite the year, eh?).
Anyway, the most exciting news from our end is that this year, we’ve decided to try out a rolling admissions process. Last week, we admitted our first group, with more admissions letters going out (hopefully) each week. Don’t worry; everyone will get their decision letters by the first week of March.
Quick note: while we’re really excited to be offering admission to people earlier, unfortunately, you are still going to have to wait until mid-March to find out about your financial aid package. We just don’t have the man-power to make those decisions any sooner. We’re super sorry if that causes any anxiety or confusion.
Anyway, since more and more of you are going from “Prospective Student” to “Admitted Student,” I thought I’d take a break from featuring alumni and their cool projects (but don’t worry, more of those to come later!), and start a mini-series on advice for new students. So, I’ll take some frequently asked questions and try to put some answers to them for you all.
Today’s topic: Finding a Place to Live in New Haven!
This is probably the most-asked question I get from admitted students. And it makes sense—now you’re admitted to this school, you have to start putting a picture together in your head about what it will be like to actually move to New Haven and start a life for the next two years. It can feel overwhelming, especially for those of you who have never been to New Haven, Connecticut, New England, or even the United States.
1) Neighborhoods. New Haven is not a huge city, but there are still lots of neighborhoods to choose from when looking for a house here. However, there are two neighborhoods in which the vast majority of students at FES tend to live:
- East Rock: This is the neighborhood where most FESers live. Depending on where in the neighborhood you find yourself, you will about a 5-15 minute walk from FES. East Rock is lovely. Lots of old, funky houses that have been chopped up into two or three apartments. The neighborhood is about half grad students and half families (lots of cute kids wandering the streets in costumes on Halloween!). There are little Italian markets dotting the main road (Orange Street), and it’s not uncommon to see your friends out for a jog, bike ride, or walk while you are out doing the same. East Rock is also one of the safest neighborhoods in New Haven. If you’re willing to share a house with roommates, you can expect your rent to be probably $400-$600 per month. If you’re hoping to live in a place by yourself, expect to be paying closer to $800-$1000 per month.
- Mansfield: Many FES (and other graduate) students live here as well. It’s literally across the street from the school, which makes it really convenient if you’re someone who likes to go home in the middle of the day for lunch, dog walks, or quick naps. It’s also nice in the middle of winter, when it’s super cold and snowy out. Also, Mansfield tends to be cheaper than East Rock (probably closer to the $300-$500 per month range for shared houses). Here’s the only thing about Mansfield: it borders some of the sketchier parts of the city, which just means you have to be really vigilant about things like locking your bike, locking your door and windows, and walking alone at night. That said, those are all things you should be doing in any city anyway, and plenty of students are very happy living in Mansfield, so don’t let that scare you away.
- Finally, there is on-campus graduate student housing available for those who are feeling like they’d rather live dorm-style. Info on that can be found here.
2) Finding the perfect house. Okay, so now you know which part of town to live in, but how to find that right house/roommate? There is one big place I would recommend you all check out first: Sageboy. Sageboy is sort of like our FES internal Craigslist. People will post things up there from parties, to lost and found, to houses available, to stuff for sale, to jobs and internships.
Come April or May (and through the summer), folks will be posting about houses and rooms that will be available for the next school year. Often, you will find that FES folks like to keep houses “in the family,” and graduating second years will be looking for incoming first years to take their rooms in shared FES homes. Also, if you want to find other first years to go out looking for an apartment together, you can find other folks looking to do the same on there.
Many years, a GoogleDoc spreadsheet will get circulated with available rooms and apartments—previously occupied by other FES students. This is nice because you know other students have vetted the house, and you won’t be moving in to a dump where the landlord is crazy. And that’s always nice.
If you don’t find anything on Sageboy, definitely try Craigslist. Sometimes, landlords want to find their own new tenants, so you’ll find lots of homes available there. You can search by neighborhood, so you can find something in the right part of town. And if you are able to get to New Haven to check out the house before you sign your name over, that’s always a good thing.
3) Furnishing. Certainly, if you have the stuff to furnish your house, and the ability to bring it with you, that’s awesome. For those of you that don’t, do not fret! Very many of the apartments in New Haven come fully or partly furnished. Also, people ending their leases in August are always having tag sales, leaving stuff out of the sidewalk to take, or giving things away so they are unburdened.
Also, FES collects furniture and appliances from graduating second years each May, and will sell them back the new first years (for a waaaaaay cheap price) come August.
Bottom Line: You’re not going to be homeless! You’re not going to be sitting on milk crates and having meals on the floor (unless that’s what you’re into).
Everything is going to be fine!
Until next time, where we talk about all the cool things that await you living in New Haven!
Definitely feel free to email me if you have questions or concerns!