Our 2011 housing survey asked, “What specific advice would you give to incoming students as they look for housing?” Here are some responses to this question:
- Look in several neighborhoods around the city. Milwaukee’s a small enough metro area to commute from outlying neighborhoods, and parking is not difficult on campus if you’re savvy.
- Find a place you don’t mind commuting from. I don’t have a car so it is very convenient to live close to campus. I really didn’t want to live right on campus because those apartment buildings are full of loud undergrads.
- Be picky! READ: start looking early! The best apartments near campus get taken very fast by undergraduates over the summer.
- Consider your daily routines and how the location will help or make your routines more difficult. Also consider whether the living space will be able to inspire you enough to make it through a PhD program!
- Talk to students who are already in the area to find out the advantages and disadvantages of the different neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
- Check out the crime index BEFORE you rent; it makes a huge difference in terms of peace of mind.
- Time is stretched thin in graduate school, so I would recommend choosing a form of housing that does not include a lot of regular maintenance (lawn care, etc).
- Don’t be afraid to ride the bus. Also, think about calling the local police department and asking about areas. We did that when we moved and it helped us eliminate some options.
- Find a community that you feel safe in, on a bus line, close enough to campus to get here. There are many dynamic communities nearby.
- Look at the map of the bus lines — getting a place close to the bus lines can be quite helpful. Areas like riverwest have flats with room for two people (or more) and at a reasonable cost — although most parking there is street parking.
- Ask about the heating situation, try to get an idea of how big energy bills will be during the winter months. Many complexes have heat included in the rent, so those are a great deal. A/C is convenient, but you can definitely get by without it here. If you are looking in Milwaukee itself, parking will be something you want to consider. Many places don’t have free off-street parking – it’s either totally unavailable, or you have to pay an extra monthly fee. Places farther away from downtown are more likely to have a parking spot included.
- If you’re willing to drive, check out some places a bit further away. I came from Evanston, and it took the same amount of time to drive to class there as it does here, but I lived 4 times closer. So if you’re used to a 30 minute commute, consider 10 or even 20 miles from the city.
- Live in the city of Milwaukee. It’s a wonderful place with lots of culture and energy. Don’t move out to the suburbs. One of the hindrances of fostering a real theology graduate community at Marquette has been that many students scatter to all different points within the city. You cannot have community without geographic proximity. I think we should recommend that everyone move to Bayview. I am jesting of course, but only in part. I am glad that you guys are taking up this issue. This is something I wished that we could have done something about a long time ago. I will be living in Bayview for many years to come and I know the whole city quite well.
- Ask other graduate students where they live; check craigslist; determine what area you want to live and drive around looking for places; pray
- Get in early to rent near campus (i.e. April)
- Start with on-campus and then learn the system, or talk to current members of the Graduate Program.
- Go where you feel safe, even if that requires a sacrifice.