In college, is it best to live on campus or at home?
I've heard that dorm environments can be very distracting. I've also heard that living on campus helps get you more involved in campus culture and events. I have the opportunity to live at home, so I was wondering if the on campus experience is worth the extra money. #college
Dorms are distracting, and I'm glad I didn't do dorms for four years. I enjoyed it for a year, but it takes getting used to, and home is definitely convenient. I lived with roommates, and not my parents for the last 3 years of college. I think there's definitely an appeal to living independently from your parents for college. You can bring friends anytime, you can come home as late as you want (good for club activities) without disturbing your parents, and you can eat anything anytime.
I definitely recommend your first year to be spent at dorms to develop relationships with peers (as the first answerer suggested). Many of my friends who had parents living near still leased out apartments to live closer (walking distance) to campus. But this is really expensive, so this really depends on your financial situation!
Both have benefits to offer. If financials resources are a concern, consider a mix of living arrangements. You don't have to choose one and stay with it for 4 years.
(I'm an advocate of living away from home for college, but I'll try to keep this answer level)
You'll learn a lot more beyond the classroom and have more opportunities to develop friendships by living away from home, particularly in your first year. There may be more distractions, but you'll also learn how to deal with them (something you eventually have to learn before entering the workforce).
If you are going to consider spending some years living at home and some at college, I would recommend the first year at college because everyone else is in the same situation as you and you will, therefore, benefit from group learning and possibly make friendships that will last through college and beyond.
I second Joel's advice completely! There are pros and cons, and the type of individual plays into account, as well. I do agree though that the early years - such as your first - are the better years to do so while you're trying to find your community, just like all of the other incoming students. Once I moved off of campus my Junior year, I didn't feel any type of way about it because I had already found my crowd; I was more mature; and I had experience all that college had to offer. It is very hard to know your school and all of its' benefits, as well, (depending on where you go) without being on the campus consistently.
You are correct on both counts--living in a dorm can be a distraction from your studies, but also helps you stay involved. Beyond social events, being in proximity with people from your classes can help with your studies. It can be beneficial to work with others, as you can work through problems together, and keep each other motivated. Being away from home can also help you grow personally.
If you decide to be a commuter, you can also ask what sort of resources they have for commuters. When I did my Master's I commuted. The school had a commuter center with lockers, so you don't have to carry everything all the time, and some organized activities.
Finally, whichever living situation you choose, treat going to campus like a job--go in the morning and come home at night, every day. Don't stay home on the days you don't have classes. You'll find there are plenty of distractions at home, too. Whether you live on campus or at home, the best way to study is to go to campus in the morning, and either be in class, or in the library, until the evening. By having a routine like that, you will avoid distractions, and study consistently, as opposed to "cramming," which is not effective.