Blog
October 23rd, 2018

Living on Campus or Commuting?

College admission involves many big decisions, and for high school seniors who will be attending college locally, determining whether to live on campus or commute is certainly one of them. Some students and parents define the true “college experience” as living on campus, while others are resistant to dorm life for various reasons. If you’re torn between living on campus or commuting to college, here are some key factors to keep in mind.

Community and social life

One of the main benefits of living on campus is the opportunity to connect with peers and become immersed in the school community. If a student’s social life is a priority, dorming is a great way to make friends and partake in new activities. For obvious reasons, living right at the college makes it easier to join clubs, study with friends at the library, and attend social events on campus. However, commuters can also do all these things – as long as they make an effort to get involved on campus rather than go home right after class. Many colleges even offer programs and perks specifically designed to support commuters – like a dedicated commuter lounge for studying in between classes and meeting other local students.

Cost

Cost is one of the most predominant factors involved in making this decision. Annual room and board costs can be significant, with average costs in 2024 ranging from $12,000 at four-year public schools to $14,000 or more at private schools. If a student’s goal is to reduce the amount of loans they’ll need to take out, cutting out room and board expenses can be very cost-effective.

There are still some potential campus living options for students with financial limitations. For example, a student can choose to live on campus during their freshman year and then commute or live in off-campus housing (such as a nearby apartment) during the remainder of college. This is often ideal for students who want to make new friends during their first year and acclimate with their campus community. Another factor to consider is the cost of the college itself. With tuition costs at private schools being higher than those for public schools, many students opt to attend their local state university so they can more easily afford to live on campus.

Independence

Living on campus certainly affords students a sense of newfound independence. It is often a life-changing experience for them to learn how to live on their own, manage their time effectively, and expand their horizons in ways that encourage personal growth and development. While living on campus inherently fosters independence, commuting can also have the same benefits. Students who commute to class every day, especially those who also work a part-time job, must manage a busy schedule while staying on top of their studies.

No matter how you look at it, choosing to live on campus or commute is a big deal. Ultimately, every student needs to make a decision that’s best for them academically, socially, and financially.

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