Thinking about getting off-campus housing as a senior? Don’t. The best advice is to quit while you are ahead. But if you are feeling especially determined, read on for the steps to finding your dream (read: poorly furnished and extremely grimy) apartment senior year.

  1.  When you arrive at school in the fall junior year, start making top-secret plots about where you want to live. This might sound incredibly early, because it is. But everyone else is also starting now.
  2. Make certain that the place you select is where everyone else wants to live so that the process is extra-competitive. Nothing is better than having all of the senior class clamoring for the same apartment building.
  3.  Call landlords incessantly.
  4.  When landlords inevitably do not return any of your calls or desperate messages, imagine what your social life will be like as a homeless college senior. (Abysmal, that’s what it will be like).
  5.  Come to realize that somehow, mysteriously, everyone has found housing overnight without you despite all of your secrecy. Feel frantic.

If and when a landlord calls you back after many days of panicking, you should expect the following:

  1.  YOU MUST SIGN THE LEASE IMMEDIATELY. It doesn’t matter that you have class. Or that you are a college student with limited transportation and free time, you must sign the lease THAT VERY NIGHT. There is no waiting around because this landlord just became your only link to not being a homeless senior.
  2.  But wait, before you sign your lease, you need to get first and last month’s rent. This will be an ungodly amount of money. So much money, in fact, it’s more than your maximum withdrawal limit at the ATM.
  3.  Go to an actual bank and procure an amount of cash you are scared to carry around on your person. Mentally go over every robbery and crime report you have ever received from WUPD in your email and think about how much of a target you are. Obviously you wouldn’t be able to just sign a check for your lease. That’s too easy.
  4.  Agree to meet your future landlord at his residence. Which is an apartment. Downtown. In St. Louis. At night. With your large amount of money in cash. Send your mom a text that lets her know where you are going in a way that would allow your body to be found if you go missing, but not in a way that makes her worry too much.
  5.  Arrive at the designated time and place, hand over a ton of cash and sign the lease. Realize that it’s too late for you to be questioning the legality of the situation and really just hope for the best.
  6. Get back on campus and be glad that you are officially no longer a future-homeless person. Relish this moment as the first and only time in your WashU career that you have done something a year in advance. Go back to procrastinating about everything else.