It practically goes without saying, but any list of college towns would be incomplete without mentioning Boston. With some of the most prestigious, recognizable, and respected schools not just in Massachusetts, not just in the United States, but in the entire world, Greater Boston stands head and shoulders above the crowd.
Whatever school you attend, the greater Boston metropolis presents a fantastic opportunity to get out on your own, and a great city environment to do it in. To get the full story, we’ve interviewed current and former students to get their take on living off-campus while going to school in Boston. So if you’re curious about living off-campus in Brookline, MA, read on.
So to start things off, thanks for taking time out to speak with us.
No worries, let’s do this.
So you went to school in Boston, correct?
Yep! Berklee College of Music. Music Production & Engineering.
Oh, nice. Working in the industry now?
Yep. Just got back from working on a cruise, doing sound.
So what is that like, from the perspective of a tech?
I mean, (laughing) it’s not a vacation for me, right? You’re out at sea, and you’re not just running sound for the bands, the Djs, but like… you’re tech support for basically everything that makes sound. And if something goes out, it’s not like you can just run out to the store real quick. So you have to get creative.
Let’s just say it’s good to be back on land (laughs).
Home sweet home. That’s Brookline now, correct?
You know it. Got a place there senior year. Still live in Brookline with my friends. With the travel and all, it didn’t really make sense to get my own place. And I like coming back here, you know?
Something to look forward to?
Exactly. I think it’s like that for a lot of people. I looked at living in Nashville for a while, but it’s not really… um, it’s not really my thing. What can I say? I like Boston.
So living in Brookline, it’s not technically Boston – – not technically, no (laughing). But it’s kind of “Boston-adjacent,” if that makes sense?
Makes sense, but talk about that a little.
So, living the city, that’s not cheap. Big city, small space, but big prices for it. I’ve got a lot of stuff, you know? Duffle bags full of microphones, racks full of EQs, mic preamps, in-ear monitors… after my first cruise, I started collecting my own stuff, so I can bring the gear I want out with me.
It all has to go somewhere.
Yep! So having more space is important. I mean, I had just as much of this stuff while I was a student, it just wasn’t as nice (laughs). So having that space was a big deal for me. Brookline isn’t exactly cheap, but I noticed that there were bigger bedrooms than downtown. The landlord is cool and also lets us store stuff in the basement. He actually had boxed out chicken wire fenced in storage for each unit in the basement which was lockable. Each storage spot in our three units was numbered so it made it easy to put our travel stuff and suitcases in there without a problem. When I was searching for an apartment around the school all I could find was bigger buildings with no basement storage.
Is that what made you decide to live off-campus in Brookline? More space?
Pretty much. But without, you know, living out in the ‘burbs. Not that Brookline isn’t the suburbs… it’s like the suburb that other suburbs want to be when they grow up.
That’s an interesting way to put it.
But it’s not like, all doctors and football players. We’ve got a place in Coolidge Corner, so it’s kind of a small-town downtown vibe. Everybody thinks you have to make a fortune to live here, and that’s really not the case if you have several roommates.
How much is your rent, if you don’t mind answering?
‘Bout $3K a month. And that’s split three ways. So yeah, everyone was like “oh, y’all must be rich” when we said we were moving to Brookline. And it’s like, not really? Not even close? The price difference between living in like, one of the nicest suburbs in America, and a cramped dorm room on-campus is smaller than you think. The main thing that I worried about was needing a car, but with the Green Line right there, it’s like 20 minutes to get to campus. I am also an uber fanatic.
So the commute wasn’t an obstacle.
Not for me, no. One of my roommates was going to BU, but they usually took the T. It really helps to live right next to a T station. We also met other people that like music who live in our building. So it makes it easier to score rides. We often group text each other if anyone is going downtown or on errands and it helps split the cost of a ride. Two fellow students above us have cars so I often throw them a couple bucks for gas.
So would you recommend Brookline in general, or just Coolidge Corner?
Well I mean, I just went on about how Brookline isn’t just this ritzy suburb. But I mean, a lot of it is that, you know? Million-dollar houses, all that stuff. So maybe don’t try to live in one of those with your student loan money, right?
Not recommended, no.
But if you look past that stuff, there’s places like ours that are actually cheaper than living on campus if you’re smart about it.
So are you in the same place that you lived in during college?
Yeah. I mean, my roommates are still in school, and I’m not always there, so it works out really well for us. I like the area, and I like that Boston is right there, but it’s not like, “right there,” always in your face. I deal with loud stuff at work, right? It’s okay if the city isn’t bumpin’ where I’m trying to sleep, you know? Brookline, even in Coolidge Corner, just isn’t Boston levels of city living, and that’s good with me.
But if you want that aspect of the city, it’s right there. Is that what you meant?
Pretty much, yeah. Hit up a bar, catch a show, baseball game, whatever. It’s like, I have the whole city when I want it, no city when I don’t, and I still have stuff nearby. Like, Trader Joe’s is right around the corner. I think I live off their Jasmine Rice and decently priced frozen meats.
Sounds like a sweet deal. Any final thoughts on living off-campus in Brookline?
Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t afford it. If you’re smart about your neighborhood, you can absolutely afford it. I mean, if you can afford a place somewhere else in Boston, you can absolutely afford one here. And it’s super nice, I feel like I didn’t talk about that enough.
Closing strong, then.
Close out strong with an encore. It’s super nice, move here, we’re friendly (laughing).
All right, then. Thanks for your time!
Don’t mention it. Do mention the super nice thing, though. I think I’ve said it enough now.