If you decide to attend a relatively local college, the decision to live on campus or commute can be a difficult one. You have always heard that living on campus allows for a stronger ‘college experience’ but when you look at the price of room and board, you can’t help but wonder ‘is it really worth it?’ Before you make the decision on where to live consider all the pros and cons of each option. Use the information you have before you (cost, benefits of staying on campus, etc.) to make a well-informed decision (i.e. USE YOUR DATA before making a firm conclusion).
Living on campus can provide you with a stronger sense of community. It will be easier to make connections with people in your housing environment. You will be physically closer to campus, which may mean you can sleep later before your first class, will be home sooner when you are tired, and can run to your room in between classes. Campuses usually have a lot of activities going on (on a daily basis), which you will be more likely to attend should you decide to live on campus.
On the down side, living on campus cost (it’s called room and board). While additional housing fees can increase your bill every year. You will likely need a meal-plan, which may be a bit pricier than mom’s home cooked meals. You are likely to have a roommate and share a small space and you won’t get your own vanity space in the bathroom.. You may feel constantly surrounded by students and may never feel like you can ‘get away.’
The pros commuting from home include having a place where you are comfortable, and likely more space without a roommate. The cost of gas will be far less than the cost of living on campus. You won’t have to worry about packing up during breaks because the dorms are closed. Your social groups will expand beyond just college groups and will likely include family, co-workers, and local friends.
The cons of commuting can vary depending on how far you are commuting from and what your living situation at home is like. The cost of gas and the mileage on your car can add up if you are commuting a far distance every day. Bus and train fare can also add up. You will need more time to get ready in the morning and less option to go home and take a nap between classes. Living at home can also cause conflict between family members. Remember, even though you may consider yourself an adult now and want more freedom, you are still living by your parents’ rules. When conflicts arise, approach family members with maturity and express. Talking through your concerns will have better outcomes then getting angry. Living at home may also make you feel disconnected from campus life. You will have to make more of an effort to socialize and attend on-campus activities.
So when making the decision of whether or not to live on campus, make yourself a pro/con list and prioritize those items that are most important to you. You may also look into renting an off-campus housing (for example, rent an apartment or room, etc.) as a third option. Again you will have to weigh all the factors of cost, convenience, and social life.
**If you are not sure where you want to live when filling out your application it is best to select on-campus living. It will be much easier to change your mind this way. If you opt for no housing and end up wanting it, you could be waitlisted for quite some time and end up with NO HOUSING.