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Live on Campus or Commute?

jerseyTjerseyT Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
edited October 2009 in College Search & Selection
Hey, I had a question for both prospecting & current college students, and even parents with present/past kids who went through this stage.

I'm curious as to which is better for a college student?
Living on campus OR commuting to & from school.

I am a prospecting college student finally in my senior year of high school and was wondering what many felt about either living on/off campus or simply commuting. I myself am leaning more towards commuting, but it would be greatly appreciated if others could share their input/experiences, whether it be good or bad.

Thanks :)
Post edited by jerseyT on

Replies to: Live on Campus or Commute?

  • pierre0913pierre0913 Registered User Posts: 7,652 Senior Member
    Many schools require you to live on campus your first year so this may be a decision you won't have to make till next year
  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Registered User Posts: 5,830 Senior Member
    As long as it doesn't create a financial hardship, I believe a healthy student can benefit from living on campus.
  • lynxinsiderlynxinsider Registered User Posts: 1,279 Senior Member
    live on campus without question.
  • XX55XXXX55XX Registered User Posts: 1,014 Member
    I currently commute to school, but if you can, you should try to live on campus.

    But commuting really isn't the hell that it's portrayed to be, however. (I live really close to my school, so I have an easy commute every weekday morning.)
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,627 Senior Member
    It can depend on many things...

    It's ok to live at home if...

    Your parents give you pretty much the same freedoms that you'd have living away (I don't mean having "hook-ups" in your bedroom). I had a friend who lived at home and she was required to be at home after her last class of the day. If she had been in a dorm, her parents wouldn't have known/cared what time she got home.

    Your family doesn't interfere with your schooling. A while back on this board there was an article posted where profs complained that kids who live at home sometimes are required to fulfil family responsibilities that interfere with education. I think there was an example given about a student who had to miss class occasionally because she had to drive a family member somewhere.

    You simply cannot afford to live on campus. There's no point in taking out loans to live on campus, if you can live at home for free.

    You have quiet places to study at home, and or you can study at school.
  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,871 Senior Member
    I think living on campus is generally better in terms of your education and personal growth. There are some good reasons for commuting, and I think the best one is if you just can't afford to go to college otherwise.
    There might also be some kids with health or personal problems that need parental support even when they are in college (as well as families that need the student's help, even while he or she is in college).
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,627 Senior Member
    This is an interesting topic because our local public U recently announced that starting next year, all freshmen and sophomores must live on campus unless they are married or have a documented health reason why they can't.

    The community is quite upset about that, because this will add about $8k per year to the cost of education. At this point, why stay local...might as well go away to a better school if one has the stats.

    However, for students who must stay local for cost sake, this is very upsetting. Now what can they do? They can try to submit for a waiver, but if the school is bombarded with such waivers, the school will balk.

    Prior to this new rule, only freshmen who lived more than 30 miles away were required to live on campus.

    This change is largely because the school opened (or is in the process of opening) new residence halls and wants them to be filled to recup their investment.
  • poetgrlpoetgrl Registered User Posts: 13,334 Senior Member
    barring any of the reasons Hunt gave, which are all valid, there is a higher graduation rate for students who live on campus. This is as long as none of the other variables are in play.
  • LilyMoonLilyMoon Registered User Posts: 1,832 Senior Member
    I think living on campus is preferable if you want the whole college experience and is better for social interaction. You would be more in contact with other students, be more available for on campus activities and be more in the loop overall.

    However, there are valid reasons for commuting. Financial issues, drug/alcohol issues or health issues are all valid reasons for commuting from home.
  • Gordon_GekkoGordon_Gekko Registered User Posts: 352 Member
    I've done both and living on campus is much better in my opinion. Living on campus is way more fun because you meet a lot of people and there is always something going on... The only issue could be if you get bad roommates.
  • jerseyTjerseyT Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    Yeah, financially I can afford to live on campus...but the 3 school's that I have applied to are all within a 45 minute driving range at the most. Also, I know that commuting is usually a plus when applying to a school because then the school does not have to worry about your housing. Even if I commute, but spend time in the student centers/library and other campus areas and then go home however late, will I still meet a lot of people? That is really my only concern with not living on campus, because I am a huge people person and love meeting new people, but I'm not sure if I will get that by commuting.
  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,871 Senior Member
    Even if I commute, but spend time in the student centers/library and other campus areas and then go home however late, will I still meet a lot of people?
    If most of the other students are residents, it won't be the same. People really get to know each other living together in the dorms. I think if you're enough of a people person, you can overcome it, but you will be missing some of the fun and growth opportunity of college.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,554 Senior Member
    You also should consider how many other students will be commuters. If a large percentage of the campus commutes, then there probably will be a fair number of during-the-day club meetings and other opportunities for socializing. The school may even have formal assistance with setting up car pools.

    Don't forget to factor in your transportation expenses, and the time you would spend on the road. Will that 45 minutes or so each way be your daily down-time so that you arrive home ready to finish your homework? Or will the traffic be so stressful that you need another hour for down-time before you start your homework?

    Will commuting to school make it possible for you to keep your current part-time job so that you can help meet expenses? Or, will schoolwork and commuting mean you don't have time for a job?

    Is your prospective major one that will keep you on campus late at night making driving home (especially in bad weather) riskier?

    Is the only way to get to campus by car, or is there some kind of public transportation that you could use if your car breaks down?

    In my area, many students commute by car or bus to save on living expenses. Some move to campus (or just closer to campus) after a year or two as their schedules become more complicated. Other students live on campus the first year so that they can have the "campus experience", before moving home to save money. Either of those options might work for you too.

    In my (too) many years of higher education, I've lived right on campus, in university housing that was off campus, in a private apartment off campus, and commuted from home by car and by bus. Each system has its advantages, and disadvantages. On campus is the simplest because bed, food, friends, and all school facilities are close together. Life is just plain more convenient. Commuting from home (especially in places that get snow) is more challenging, but it usually works out to be significantly cheaper. I made good friends in every case. You can too.

    Wishing you all the best.
  • Mary MaryMary Mary Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    As a parent I feel that there is more to college than just the academics.

    Even though my son could have lived at home (or with his dad, who is even closer to campus) I encouraged him to live on campus. I felt that his experience would be better rounded and he would make more friends on campus than off. Also, he is attending art school and I felt that he would have better access to studio space, etc, on campus.

    That being said, I know some kids who prefer living at home because they feel that there are fewer distractions. (Although I admit that the one kid has far more responsibilities than the average college student as he is already a father and his priorities are a bit different than most other college freshmen.)
This discussion has been closed.