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Am I crazy not wanting my son living on campus?

Tonia39Tonia39 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
I'm sorry if this is already a discussion somewhere, but I didn't see it.

As a former dorm dweller myself, I believe that I would have done so much better in college if I'd had my own private apartment off campus and going to more of a commuter school than I did. My son is an only child, he's never had to share a bathroom in his life, is so modest that he locks the bathroom door just to wash his hands, and absolutely needs complete peace and quiet to do his high school studies. How in the world could he be expected to share a cubicle-sized room with a stranger for nine months and actually relax enough to get any homework/studying done because he's so stressed out about this new bizarre living situation he's found himself in and just the sheer distraction of the noise that comes with dorm living? He can't even stand to have his close friends around him for extended periods of time ... he needs that isolated time to recharge.

I'm just really concerned about this because I just found out that the nice little commuter university we'd had all picked out apparently has instituted some lame residency requirement for all freshman/first years to live on campus. This is going to mean a complete re-visiting of choosing a school. He is emphatically NOT interested in the "rah-rah" campus experience.

Does anyone have any really good suggestions for things we could do to get him "exempted" from this requirement? Anything that has actually worked without too much fuss with the housing directors at your colleges? I wonder if moving him to the vicinity of the school a few months in advance would do the trick. I can't believe they're pulling this anyway. This school has ALWAYS been mainly commuters, lots of adult students, part-timers, etc. Say what you will, but in their heart of hearts, when all the doors are closed to those administrative offices at the college, they are admitting that this is really all about the money and trying to get their hands on more of mine to pay for all of their recent construction on campus!
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Replies to: Am I crazy not wanting my son living on campus?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 71,106 Senior Member
    Tonia39 wrote:
    Does anyone have any really good suggestions for things we could do to get him "exempted" from this requirement?

    Probably depends on the school, which you did not name. The ones that I am familiar with that have a frosh-on-campus dorm requirement have various exemptions, including for students who live within a certain distance of campus and various categories of non-traditional students (for example: http://www.housing.sjsu.edu/housingaz/freshmanoncampushousing/ ).

    Some studies have found that frosh who live in the on-campus dorms do tend to be more academically successful than other students. Of course, if cost is the limiting factor, that may end up overriding the benefit for the individual student if living on campus is just not affordable (although living at home and commuting is not completely free -- the student's costs of food, utilities, and commuting are buried in other parts of your household budget).

    How big an issue is the cost, and what does he prefer to do?
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove Registered User Posts: 6,348 Senior Member
    OP, there are often ways to waive the residency requirement. However, I agree that the best option is going to be looking for schools with single dorms.

    Apartment buildings can be noisy as well--sometimes noisier than dorms. Does your son have other strategies for creating a quiet space (e.g. noise cancellation headphones, going to a library)?

    What will your son do for meals? Will he be cooking for himself, or getting a meal plan? If the former, does he have experience with making his own meals and going shopping?

  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 Registered User Posts: 3,446 Senior Member
    edited September 2015
    You know your son better than anyone, but I would focus on finding a single room, even if part of a suite dorm. Freshman year is the best shot at making new friends. My husband wanted our son to live at home but we have compromised that we will try suite style, single room (if he goes to school near us). Our son has shared a bathroom with his older brother all his life (though older son just moved out).

    My son sounds a little more social, but he does need his space too. He needs time to decompress.

    Luckily you are very early in the process, so you have some time to work with the school and/or seek alternative universities.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 71,070 Senior Member
    Only child here. I never shared a room or a bathroom. I survived living in a dorm...actually loved it.

    My kids had their own rooms, and shared a bathroom. They both lived in tradition 1970s dorms with hallway bathrooms. They made lots of friends, and liked it.

    Both of my kids moved off campus to apartments with fellow students for their junior years.

    If you want your kid to go to a commuter school...then pick a commuter school. If he is going to a residential college...I can't see why you would want him exempt from what all the other freshmen are doing.

    If you are THAT worried, maybe he should just commute someplace from home.
  • PalominaPalomina Registered User Posts: 219 Junior Member
    edited September 2015
    At orientation, I lost count of how many times we were told by university staff that students who live on campus or at home with Mom and Dad are more successful academically and are more likely to finish in four years. The university my child attends does not require freshmen live on campus but highly recommends it - because statistics show the student is more likely to become plugged in at attached/invested in the campus, more likely to stay and graduate.

    Our kids are flexible and resilient and can adjust to the changes of going from a single bedroom at home with no sharing to a double (or more) in a dorm and sharing a huge bathroom. What does he want? Don't project your fears and concerns onto him - find out what he wants. He may even have an opportunity to shadow a current student, spend a weekend there in a dorm, and then decide. Is there an event for future students to spend a weekend?
  • boolaHIboolaHI Registered User Posts: 1,956 Senior Member
    Just my 2 cents, but part of college is about trying out things and routines that we are not accustomed to- not perpetuating what we know and already have comfort with....but just my 2 cents.
  • N's MomN's Mom Registered User Posts: 2,212 Senior Member
    Yes, I think you are over-reacting. But frankly if he's assigned to a dorm in freshman year and decides not to use it because he's home every evening and weekend, whose going to say anything about it? There is no requirement that he spend a certain number of nights in his room. It's a waste of money freshman year, but if that's what it takes, he can go that route and live off campus in subsequent years. And he could surprise you (and maybe himself) by actually enjoying it. He just needs strategies to get alone time, as others have mentioned. At our state U, there were some kids who went home on the weekends - they missed a lot of campus life, but it was their personal preference and their room-mates LOVED have the room to themselves. I'm betting your S decides the loss of privacy is worth it to be connected socially with his class-mates.

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