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Student Apartments vs. Traditional Apartments Near Georgia Tech: Choosing the Right Off-Campus Housing for You

By Taylor

Navigating Atlanta Midtown’s variety of student housing near Georgia Tech is an exciting yet challenging task. The large amount of options can leave you wondering which one suits you best and how to even begin comparing the benefits of one apartment to another.

At Rambler Atlanta, we understand the difficulties associated with the housing search. In an effort to simplify your decision-making process, we’ve put together this article to compare student apartments and traditional apartments in Midtown Atlanta.  

Should I Sign at a Student Apartment or a Traditional Apartment as a Georgia Tech Student?  

Georgia Tech students hanging out near campus

Near Georgia Tech, you’ll find both traditional apartments and purpose-built student apartments. Traditional apartments, as the name suggests, cater to a diverse range of tenants and embody the typical image of apartment living. On the other hand, student apartments are intricately designed to suit the lifestyle of college students, often coming fully furnished with spacious floor plans to accommodate multiple roommates and boasting student-centric amenities.

Amenity Access

Rambler Atlanta yoga studio, off-campus housing near Georgia Tech in Midtown Atlanta debuting Fall of 2025.

At Rambler Atlanta, residents will have access to a variety of amenities including a study mezzanine, on-site coffee shop, and an extensive fitness-center with a yoga studio.

The amenities provided by your apartment can significantly influence your off-campus living experience. For instance, having a gym within your apartment complex can be a game-changer compared to having to trek 30 minutes to the Campus Recreational Center.

Student apartments recognize the importance of amenities tailored to the preferences and needs of off-campus college students. These may include fully furnished living spaces, both individual and communal study areas, pool decks and fitness centers.

In contrast, the amenity offerings in traditional apartments can vary widely. Most traditional apartments typically provide the essentials like Wi-Fi, cable, trash services and washer/dryer facilities. Some may also include additional features such as a gym or pool deck, so you should ask which specific amenities are offered at each apartment you visit.

Have Options with Your Lease 

When it comes to leasing, there are primarily two types: an individual lease (“by the bed” lease) and a traditional or “joint” lease (“by the apartment” lease).

Student apartments typically use individual leases. With this approach, each tenant signs a personal lease with the landlord, focusing on their specific bedroom and bathroom. In a 3×3 (three bedrooms, three bathrooms) layout with two roommates, each individual signs a separate lease, resulting in three leases in total. This arrangement allows for each tenant to be solely responsible for their rent, bedroom, bathroom and shared spaces.

Traditional apartments, on the other hand, opt for traditional, joint leases. In this model, a single lease is signed for the entire apartment, covering rent for the whole unit. It becomes the responsibility of you and your roommates to divide the rent, utilities, damages and other expenses equally. Managing rent and utilities collectively is a shared duty among roommates each month.

Length of Your Lease Term 

While the lease term for both student apartments and traditional apartments typically spans 12 months, the start dates may differ.

Student apartment leases are often synchronized with the academic calendar, starting in early to mid-August and ending around July 31st.

On the other hand, traditional apartments have more flexibility in lease terms and start dates. Landlords generally advocate for a standard 12-month lease, but start dates can be arranged at various points throughout the year.

Exclusive Features

Just off the pool deck, the Rambler Atlanta club room is the perfect spot to catch up with friends, watch the game, or simply relax and take in the view.

Rambler Atlanta clubroom on the 19th floor is one of the many perks of living at Rambler.

Another aspect to consider is the exclusive features provided by purpose-built student housing that may not exist in traditional housing.

For example, many purpose-built student apartment complexes offer roommate matching services to help ensure you have a positive living experience. To learn more about Rambler Atlanta’s matching services, read our article on Roommate Matching at Rambler.

Another example of an exclusive feature is the potential for block housing. When you sign early, many student apartments (especially new developments) will offer the option for you and a group of friends to sign for a group of units all on the same floor near or next to each other. This would allow for you and a large group of 15 or so friends to all sign in separate units while still being no more than a few feet away from each other. For more information on block housing, check out our article, Everything You Need to Know About Block Housing at Rambler. 

Costs to Consider

Monthly rental rates near Georgia Tech typically range from $700 to over $2,500 per person, per month.

With most of the purpose-built student housing in the Atlanta Midtown area being new, they typically offer more upscale amenities. The pricing for these accommodations generally falls within the above-mentioned range or higher, contingent upon which apartment complex, floorplan and specific room have been selected.

In contrast, traditional apartments offer a wider range of price points. An older apartment with fewer amenities tends to fall into a lower price category, while a newer, more luxurious apartment equipped with numerous amenities could surpass the cost of purpose-built student housing. The pricing for off-campus traditional apartments depends on the specific properties you are considering. 

Overall Ambiance and Community 

The lobby opens up to Daydreamer, Rambler’s in-house coffee shop and leads upstairs to the second floor study mezzanine.

Rambler Atlanta lobby, which will feature Daydreamer Coffee and plenty of comfortable seating.

Another factor to consider is the type of community you’re interested in. The fellow residents within your apartment complex can significantly shape the overall ambiance and your living experience in its entirety.

In a purpose-built student housing property, your neighbors will primarily comprise college students from various universities in Atlanta Midtown. Common areas such as lounges and study spaces will buzz with the presence of your peers, creating an atmosphere explicitly tailored for college-aged students to engage and connect.

In a traditional apartment setting, the community environment may include a wider variety of individuals. Your neighbors might consist of young professionals, older adults or even families. The cultural mix in a traditional apartment complex can span a broader age spectrum and the college-community vibe present in purpose-built student housing is not guaranteed.

We hope that this article provides a clearer understanding of the distinctions between purpose-built student housing and traditional apartments. For any further inquiries or to explore more options at Rambler Atlanta, don’t hesitate to reach out to our leasing staff. We are more than happy to assist you in your housing search!


Taylor is the New Development Community Manager for Rambler Atlanta. She has 5+ years of experience in leasing and property management. In her free time, you'll find Taylor trying out a new restaurant or playing with her dog, Boujie.

May 20, 2024

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