To help you in your search for housing in the Boston area, please see the information below about local neighborhoods, dental student housing trends, and options for finding off campus housing. For more specific housing questions, please contact Karen Alexander in Student Affairs.
Where do Tufts Dental students Live?
Check out our resident pattern map.
We strongly recommended that you come to Boston to search for an apartment in-person. It is not a good idea to rent an apartment without seeing it first. Most apartments become available 30 to 60 days before the date you are looking to move in, so plan your visit accordingly. Contact at least two or three rental agents or landlords a week or two before you arrive to set up appointments to see apartments. Be persistent and try not to get discouraged!
Cost of Apartments by Neighborhood
How much are you willing to pay in rent per month? Living in Boston can be expensive. You will pay for location as well as convenience. Note: These ranges are only approximations, and a number of these areas might fall under two or more of the specific ranges.
Higher priced apartments
- Studios $2000-2200+ per month
- 1 BR $2400-3000+ per month
- 2 BR $3000-3400+ per month
- 3 BR $3400-4000+ per month
Generally located in Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Bay Village, Downtown/Chinatown, South End and Fenway/Kenmore.
Moderately priced apartments
- Studios $1600-1800+ per month
- 1 BR $1800-2200+ per month
- 2 BR $2400-2800+ per month
- 3 BR $3000-3600+ per month
Generally located in Brookline, Medford, North End, Charlestown, Somerville and Cambridge.
Lower priced apartments
- Studios $900-1400+ per month
- 1 BR $1200-1600+ per month
- 2 BR $1600-2000+ per month
- 3 BR $2000-2800+ per month
Generally located in South Boston, Malden, Jamaica Plain, Quincy, East Boston and Allston / Brighton.
What can you afford?
Students are eligible to receive up to $2,200 per month in financial aid to cover the cost of living expenses. This figure includes the cost of rent, utilities, transportation, food, and miscellaneous expenses (clothing, laundry, fun, etc).
A breakdown of the average costs that make up the $2,200 per month budget is available below. Your Financial Aid Advisors strongly recommend that you borrow less than the $2,200 per month maximum if you are able as this will greatly impact your student loan debt post-graduation.
|Off-Campus Apartment/House||Living with Parents/Relatives|
Do you want to walk to school, use public transportation, or drive to school?
- Walking – Beacon Hill, Back Bay, the South End, and parts of South Boston are considered walking distance to campus.
- Driving – See “Having a Car in Boston”
- Public Transportation – The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), better known as “the T,” operates the public transportation system in Boston and the surrounding communities. Options include buses, subway, and commuter rail trains. Commutes via public transportation vary depending on place of origin. Discounted monthly T passes are available at the Bursar’s Office. For more T info, check their website at http://www.mbta.com.
- Bus routes 9, 11, 43, and the Silver Line all stop in front of Tufts Medical Center.
- The four subway lines in Boston (Orange, Red, Green, and Blue) all have stops within walking distance of school, though Blue line commuters find it easiest to change to the Orange line instead of walking to campus.
- The commuter rail serves communities outside of the immediate Boston area. These trains run on specific daily schedules arrive at various subway stations within the city. Check the MBTA website for more information.
Please note, while many of our students live in the downtown/Chinatown area, rental costs have risen significantly over the past five years in these neighborhoods. It is not imperative that you live within walking distance to the school. Students who live in more moderately priced neighborhoods have learned to plan their commutes to and from school around peak-commuting times in order to avoid significant delays with public transportation. Simple adjustments to your schedule can allow you to save thousands of dollars over the course of your time here at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.
Fees/Cost to Sign a Lease
Many apartments are listed with realtors who charge a standard fee equal to one month’s rent if you end up renting an apartment they showed you. It is possible to find apartments without a fee. These are usually listed directly by the owner on craigslist or found by word of mouth.
Be sure to ask the realtor or landlord if anything is included with the rent. If the current tenants are available, ask them how much they typically spend on utilities each month to help you estimate your budget. You can also contact utility companies to ask for average costs for the previous 12 months.
You can expect to pay a small application fee to apply for an apartment you like (Approx. $75). It will usually take one month’s rent as a deposit to have the realtor de-list the apartment. This should generally be refundable if you choose not to sign, but make sure to ask first before giving them a check. At least two additional months’ rent will be due at lease signing; all together, you may pay:
- First month’s rent
- Last month’s rent
- Security deposit (Three months’ rent at signing; the security deposit is returned to you at lease end, less assessment of apartment damage)
- Some realtors also charge a key deposit, which is a small fee returned to you at lease end when the keys are turned in.
The decision to have a roommate should be based on how willing you are to share your space with another person and how much you are willing to spend on the apartment. Living alone, without sharing costs, can be an expensive proposition. With increasing numbers of roommates, costs go down. On the other hand, more roommates can lead to conflicting schedules, lifestyles, and personalities. We urge you to carefully consider roommate prospects before signing a lease.
If you decide to find a vacant apartment either for yourself or for you and a roommate, there are a few ways to go about this:
- Students most commonly use on-line resources such as www.boston.com, www.craigslist.org, www.padmapper.com, etc. These are good place to start, as you can get a general sense as to cost, location, and amenities available in different areas. On the other hand, many of these apartments are listed through realtors and will charge a fee, usually equal to one month’s rent, to sign a lease. Also, contacting a rental agent on a specific listing may induce them to try and sell you other listings that may not be right for you. Your best judgment will serve you well while using online resources.
- Trustworthy, no-fee realtors are available in Boston. However, it is a good idea to contact more than one as each realtor has different listings. With a realtor, you tell them what you are looking for (i.e., how much you are willing to spend, number of bedrooms, amenities, etc.) They will often have a good idea if their listings can match your needs, but it is not uncommon that they will take your contact information to get back to you if they find something later on. Your best chance to see multiple units on one visit will happen while using a realtor. They will also drive you to each unit, which cuts down on your stress level and travel time.
- Check out JumpOffCampus: Tufts University School of Dental Medicine has partnered with JumpOffCampus, an online housing resource available to all Dental students. The site offers a variety of features to assist you with searching available apartment listings, search and post sublets, and offers a Marketplace for you to advertise furniture, electronics, etc. that you are trying to sell.
Do's and Dont's
- DON’T put down a deposit on an apartment unless you are really sure you want it. If you are interested in an apartment but still want to see others, you should only fill out an application.
- DON’T let the realtor pressure you into making any commitment you are not ready to make. YOU control this process, not the realtor. But on the other hand…
- DON’T wait too long for the perfect apartment – there is no perfect apartment! A really good one you saw but waited too long for could end up rented by someone else!
- DO bring references with you. The rental application will ask for past landlords, employers, credit information, and sometimes personal references. Feel free to use the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Office of Admissions (617-636-6639) as a reference to verify your acceptance to the DMD program - please note that the Admissions Office will only be able to verify your acceptance because until you matriculate you cannot be considered an enrolled student. You can also use a copy of your acceptance letter and/or New Student Form for this purpose. You may also contact the Financial Aid Office if you need proof that you will be receiving student loans to cover any of your living costs.
- DO bring a few checks with you – if you find a place you really like and wish to rent you can fill out the application and leave a deposit. Once a deposit has been made, the realtor will take the apartment off the market while a background check is done and the landlord reviews your application.
- DO read the lease before signing it. While Massachusetts requires all rental agencies to use a standardized form (called the “RHA lease”) for apartments, you should still familiarize yourself with the contents of the lease to know your rights. If you should do an unofficial rental contract, say with someone who is renting their condo to you; make sure that you are protected legally in the contract if something should go wrong.
- DO ask if the above can be done through the mail if you must leave Boston before finalizing your apartment. While the preliminary agreement process can be done by phone/fax, originals are required for formal lease signing. Most agencies are willing to accommodate mail business.
- DO ask your parents to co-sign the lease if required. Many landlords are reluctant to rent to students because they do not have a source of income. They will, however, rent to students if someone else cosigns, and the landlord has the right to demand this before entering into a lease. The cosigner will pick up the payments if you are unable to make them.
- DO ask for an explanation if you are not accepted for an apartment you applied for, as it will help you in your future search. If this happens, you should get your deposit back.
Other Housing Resources
Metro Boston Neighborhood Descriptions
Allston / Brighton
Allston’s buzz of activity and Brighton’s residential atmosphere complement each other nicely to give this area a somewhat suburban feel within Boston city limits. The area contains dozens of parks and other open spaces and has one of the lowest median age levels in Boston. With highly diverse demographics, a wide selection of shops and restaurants, and a large student population from the nearby Boston University and Boston College campuses, Allston is the “funkier” of the two neighborhoods. In exchange for shops and services, Brighton offers parks and open space, tree-lined streets, and a more family-oriented, “community” feel. Both are approximately 30-45 minutes away from campus by the “B” Green Line and various bus routes.
The Back Bay is a neighborhood where old Boston charm blends with the latest in style and entertainment. Bordering the Charles River from the Public Gardens to Massachusetts Avenue, the Back Bay offers a wealth of culture and shopping. Neighborhood jewels include the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a beautiful grassy strip running the length of the street; the Public Gardens and lagoon, the Boston Public Library, the Mall at Copley Place, the Prudential Center plaza, the Esplanade park adjacent Charles River, and Newbury Street, where brownstone apartment buildings perch above trendy shops, galleries, and boutiques. Perhaps the most desirable neighborhood in Boston, it tends to be pricier than most other neighborhoods; however, all of the Back Bay is walking or easy T-ride distance to campus.
Generally regarded as the most prestigious of Boston neighborhoods, Beacon Hill is conveniently located near the downtown shopping district and the Boston Common, the neighborhood also embraces the Massachusetts State House and Charles Street, the main commercial area on the Hill. The neighborhood enjoys access to community sailing on and spectacular views of the adjacent Charles River. This is financially the most exclusive neighborhood in Boston, but it is mostly within walking distance of campus.
Rich with history, Charlestown is home to such landmarks as the Bunker Hill Monument, the Phipps Street Burying Ground, and the U.S.S. Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. navy. Charlestown also boasts unique architecture, safe streets, and a quick commute to downtown by car, bus, or water taxi. In addition to a number of beautiful old homes, the Charlestown Navy Yard has been restored in recent years to include new condominiums, restaurants, and offices, with a superb view of the Boston skyline.
Fenway / Kenmore
With a large student population from nearby Boston University, Northeastern University, Emmanuel College, Simmons College and Wheelock College, the shops and services of Kenmore Square and the Fenway area cater primarily to a younger crowd. Kenmore Square tends to be dominated by the nearby Boston University campus and its students. From Fenway Park to the nightclubs of Landsdowne Street to the restaurants and stores of Kenmore Square, the neighborhood is a busy one. It offers a 10-15 minute commute to campus via the Green Line subway.
Fenway is one of the smallest neighborhoods in Boston, yet also one of the most densely populated, the area is also home to the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Contrasting with the bustle of Kenmore Square, the beautiful Back Bay Fens, part of the Emerald Necklace string of city parks, provide a quiet refuge from the urban din.
Sometimes referred to as America’s “most integrated neighborhood,” JP’s racial, ethnic, and socio-economic diversity is unmatched in metro Boston. An eclectic collection of restaurants and shops on Centre Street, quiet residential neighborhoods, and the beautiful Jamaica Pond and Arnold Arboretum, make JP a great place for students to live. Commute to campus is by the “E” Green Line or the Orange Line.
Decidedly Italian in flavor and atmosphere, Boston’s North End maintains an antiquated neighborhood charm despite a steady influx of tourism and commercialism. The neighborhood enjoys a location convenient to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Haymarket and downtown Boston. While already blessed with ten City-owned parks, recreational facilities and wharfs with marvelous harbor views, the area will be the recipient in coming years of an extensive new Rose Kennedy Park system. In addition to scores of local shops and restaurants, the Waterfront area is also home to the New England Aquarium, the Children’s Museum and the Computer Museum.
Primarily a residential, heavily Irish neighborhood, South Boston enjoys a substantial amount of ocean frontage of which facilities such as Castle Island Park, Carson Beach and the L Street Bathhouse make full use. Very much part of a “neighborhood” atmosphere, South Boston’s population consists of many families. Although close to downtown Boston, the neighborhood will augment its existing shopping facilities in the near future with the construction of a new mall off Route 93.
Located in the shadow of Logan International Airport, East Boston (which is actually located north of central Boston) is another waterfront, primarily residential community. The neighborhood, whose median age is among the highest in Boston, centers on the shops and services of Central, Day, and Maverick Squares. The Callahan and Sumner Tunnels under Boston Harbor provide access to and from Boston. Commute to campus is via the Blue Line subway and varies in length.
With the distinctive charm of Victorian row houses and tree-lined streets, the South End is a beautiful neighborhood with reasonable prices. One of Boston’s most racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, the South End’s demographics includes young professionals, the elderly, and students. The area has seen a renaissance of sorts in recent years, with new housing and commercial initiatives, and is one of the most convenient areas of the city for Tufts students to live.
Located minutes from downtown Boston by car or T, the Town of Brookline has a distinctively suburban feel, but with the convenience of a city. Excellent schools, exceedingly safe streets, a strong sense of community, and proximity to Boston make Brookline one of the more desirable towns in the Boston area. The town revolves around the shops and commercial areas of several bustling neighborhoods, of which Brookline Village and Coolidge Corner are the most notable, while a number of parks, tot lots, and a public swimming pool provide ample recreational space. Commute to campus from Brookline is on the “B”, “C”, or “D” trains of the Green Line T, and varies depending on distance from campus.
Cambridge / Somerville
Home to the world-renowned intelligentsia of Harvard University and MIT, the City of Cambridge is also a stimulating collection of neighborhood and ethnic sights and sounds. Cambridge is an eminently diverse and student-friendly community. The Fresh Pond area offers parks, tennis courts and a golf course, while community boating is available on the Charles River. Commute to campus varies depending on location, but is easily accessible via the Red Line subway.
The most densely populated community in the entire U.S., Somerville provides a more affordable alternative to living in Cambridge while still being located close to downtown. It is almost exclusively residential, but has a lot to offer in terms of culture, cuisine, and lifestyle, especially in the Davis Square area. It is a very student-friendly community and is about 45 minutes away on the Red Line.
Despite proximity to Route 128 and the Mass Pike as well as extensive shopping facilities, Newton contains a number of quiet, residential neighborhoods, along with excellent schools and recreational facilities and a safe, suburban feel within 30 minutes of Boston. Parts of Newton are close to the “D” Green Line subway, with an approximately 45 minutes commute to campus.
Arlington / Medford / Malden
Arlington offers a town beach, sailing on Spy Pond, and a number of parks and bike trails at Menotomy Park. A recent influx of professionals in recent years has fostered a strong cultural awakening to the arts through its Center for the Arts, which provides classes, poetry readings, open studios, and other activities.
Conveniently located on Route 93, Medford features such diverse offerings as the sprawling Middlesex Falls Reservation, two malls, Tufts University, swimming for residents in Wrights Pond, and numerous parks scattered throughout the city. Commuters may take bus routes, commuter rail or the Red Line to the Boston campus, which will vary in time depending on location.
Malden offers considerable shopping facilities, a diverse ethnic makeup contrasting a strong suburban feel, numerous town squares, and TUSM’s Sharewood Clinic. Malden is a 20 minute commute by car or a 30-45 minute commute via the Orange line to campus.
Watertown / Belmont
Watertown and Belmont are suburban towns along the Charles River outside of Boston. They offer many recreational facilities, excellent shopping in the Arsenal Mall. Access to Route 2 and the Mass Pike is easy, making commute to campus best accomplished by car (about 30-35 minutes), but there are trolley lines that bring commuters to Harvard square, and to the Red Line T.
West of Boston
Cities such as Framingham and Natick are approximately 20 miles west of Boston. Both offer easy access to the area’s main highways including the Massachusetts Turnpike, Route 9, and Route 30, as well easy access to the commuter rail train.
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Having a Car in Boston
There are many wonderful aspects of life here in Boston; unfortunately, owning and driving a car is not one of them. Especially within Boston city limits, off-street parking is usually an expensive proposition, while on-street parking is often difficult to find consistently. If you do not have a specific need for a car in your first year (such as a commute requiring one), we strongly recommend that you leave it at home.
Some things to keep in mind as you consider whether to bring your car to school:
- Within 30 days of moving to Massachusetts, you must either:
- Register your car with the police department of the city you live in and with Tufts University Police here on the Boston campus. The relevant form for the city is located at: http://www.massrmv.com/.
- Register your car with the state of Massachusetts as a Massachusetts resident at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Failure to comply with this state law may result in a fine. To register a car in Massachusetts, you must first obtain an insurance policy through a licensed Massachusetts insurance agent. Insurance rates are set by the state but vary according to where you live, what kind of car you have, and your driving history; these rates tend to be quite expensive within Boston city limits. Registration Conversion fees and title fees, plus a license conversion fees apply . If you never paid a sales tax on your car in your home state (NH residents, for example), you will be required to pay a 6% tax on the sale price of your car. For more information on registering your car, check the RMV website at http://www.massrmv.com/.
- If you live in a Boston neighborhood that requires an on-street resident parking permit, you must follow one of the above procedures before you can qualify for a permit. Resident parking permits are obtained at Boston City Hall and are free of charge. For more information about resident parking permits, please visit the city of Boston website: http://www.cityofboston.gov/parking/residentparking/
- Posner Hall residents will NOT qualify for a Chinatown resident permit. You would have to store your car at a private garage, which in the vicinity of campus will cost upwards of $350 per month. We strongly discourage students intending to live in Posner from bringing a car.
- Students who commute by car may park at the Tufts-NEMC Herald St. garage (located ¼ mile from campus, open Monday-Friday 5am to 2am) for a fee of $9.00 per day. Spaces are available on a first come first served basis. You must bring your student ID and car registration to the Tufts-NEMC parking garage in order to be issued a decal. The Parking Office is open Monday through Thursday from 7am to 6pm, and Friday from 7am to 4pm. It is located on the first floor of the Tufts-New England Medical Center Parking Garage at 274 Tremont Street. For more information, contact the Parking Office at (617) 636-5580.
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine has partnered with JumpOffCampus, a new online housing resource available to all Dental students. The site offers a variety of features to assist you with searching available apartment listings, search and post sublets, and offers a Marketplace for you to advertise furniture, electronics, etc. that you are trying to sell. Please visit tusdm.jumpoffcampus.com and register. For more more videos and information about security deposits, simplifying the search, inspecting apartments and more, visit the jumpoffcampus.com learning center.