In any given semester, some 1,200 of Boston College’s 9,377 undergraduates live off campus. That includes 65 percent of all juniors, many of whom opt to study abroad for one or both semesters. More than 90 percent find apartments and homes within a mile of the Chestnut Hill Campus, in neighboring Newton, Brighton, and Brookline. A vast majority return to the main campus for their final year.

Parents of second-year students can be assured that the University’s Office of Residential Life offers many resources—including a robust website—to make off-campus living seamless and safe.

Sophomores who expect to live off campus the following year should begin by visiting the University’s official off-campus site, Featuring apartment listings from landlords and realty agencies that have been vetted by Boston College Residential Life staff, a roommate finder database (where students leaving for a semester abroad can also post listings for subletters), and more than two dozen other resources (from roommate agreement forms, to a move-in checklist, to information on off-campus parking, etc.), the site is a go-to guide to finding and securing an appealing place to live.

Whether it’s the September of sophomore year or the following June, your student should search for listings only when they’re ready, Peter Kwiatek ’10, assistant director of Off-Campus Student Living, says. “The right time to sign a lease is after you’ve done your homework.” First, they should decide whether they plan to study abroad. (Those going abroad in the fall can appeal to live on campus in the spring.) Other essentials: finding roommates to search for apartments together, attending one of several off-campus information sessions Residential Life hosts each fall and spring, or signing up for an informal, small-group meeting with a staff member.

We have a 100 percent success rate in finding students apartments.
Peter Kwiatek, Assistant Director of Off-Campus Student Living


When touring apartments, prospective tenants should bring a copy of the Housing Code Checklist (available here) to ensure each door, lock, faucet, and all other fixtures meet the state sanitary code. And if possible, says Kwiatek, your son or daughter should “talk to the current tenants,” who are most likely current students. “They are the ones who have nothing to gain or lose by telling you the truth.” 

Before signing their lease, students should be sure to peruse Residential Life’s recently launched Lease Laboratory, an online educational quiz that highlights essential information by asking questions: Does the lease include a beginning and end date? What are the due dates of monthly rent? The names of all tenants? Kwiatek urges students to then resolve any issues with the landlord before they sign.

Once they move in off campus, students can stay well connected to the Boston College community with Residential Life’s regular events—from the “Taste of Off-Campus” food tour, to the “Lights Off the Heights” holiday decorating contest, to the weekly “Breakfast Club,” a neighborhood trash cleanup that ends in a complimentary breakfast in Cleveland Circle.

The vast majority of students living off campus find homes in restaurant- and shop-filled Cleveland Circle, in the residential areas between Lake and South Streets in Brighton, or between Middle and Upper Campuses in Newton. Each neighborhood is within a short walk to campus or a stop on the BC Shuttle Bus, which arrives and departs every 10 to 15 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. seven days a week.

Zachary Jason