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Do you recommend commuting in college or staying home?

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John’s Answer

One of the main benefits of living on campus is proximity to classes. You won't have to worry about relying on the bus or driving to campus and wasting time looking for parking. Better yet, if you don't have a car, you won't have to pay for parking at all! All you'll have to do is walk or ride your bike to the right building. Who wouldn't want such an easy commute?

Being able to get to and from classes more quickly means students living on campus can also devote more time to their coursework. Students who live on campus have easy access to tutors, libraries and the student union at almost any time of day. When there is a break between classes, students can go back to their dorm rooms and have a quiet place to study. Students who live in dorms are surrounded by people with similar goals and an academic focus. This atmosphere surely has a positive effect on students. Many schools report that freshmen who live on campus have better GPAs and graduation rates than freshmen who live off campus.

It's well known that college activities in the form of clubs or sports teams are important to student life. For students living on campus, attending a club meeting is easy, since home is not far away. Important amenities, such as recreation and dining centers, can usually be found nearby. Internet is likely available in each residence building, making it easier for students to do research for classes from the comfort of their rooms. Most dorms also have resident assistants, or RAs, who can assist dorm residents with any issues.

One of the prime advantages to living on campus is the chance to meet people from all over the country and around the world. The wide variety of cultures and backgrounds lends itself to a unique student community that's difficult to reproduce off campus.
On-campus students have even more opportunities to widen their social circle given the array of clubs and activities offered at a university. There are activities for almost any interest, whether in recreation or academics, giving students yet another way to meet like-minded people. Some schools group students in dorms according to their academic or personal interests.

Daniela college is a great opportunity to meet new people and make lifelong connections. Living on campus helps new students ease their way into adulthood while enjoying everything university life has to offer. The abundant support, access to amenities and academic focus are tough to beat when weighing on-campus versus off-campus options.

Hope this was Helpful Daniela
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Wilson’s Answer

Hello Daniela T
There’s no cookie-cutter answer to whether or not a commuter school is a good choice for you. Rather, the answer will boil down to how you personally weigh the pros and cons above, and whether or not there are other factors impacting your decision. Sometimes, a commuter school is a necessity and in these cases, it shouldn’t be a bad thing. In other cases, a commuter school is a practical choice made after careful consideration.
For students who don’t want to go far away to college, commuter schools provide another layer of security and convenience.

Pros and Cons of Commuting to College
There is much more to think about than the obvious pros and cons such as college experience and money.
Pros of Commuting to College

1. Free Housing
The clearest pro for commuting to college is the money saved. On-campus dorms in the U.S. cost an average of $10,440 for the year — a hefty price if you are also paying high tuition fees. If you are staying with family, you will likely pay much less (if anything at all).
Depending on where you live, you will likely be able to find housing within driving distance for much less if you decide to commute.

2. Comfort and Family
If you are choosing to stay at home or in your neighborhood, you will be staying in a place you are already comfortable in. It is a place where you already know how to be successful and do well in school. There are much less uncertainties, and you likely won’t get as much pre-college jitters, or struggle with a freshman adjustment phase.
Living at home and commuting to college also means you will be close to your family and friends as well. This means you’ll stay in better touch with family and be there to take care of family members in need. It is a great option for people with very tight-knit families.

3. Free Food and Laundry
Living at home means all the free stuff you were used to in high school gets to continue — no need to include food, laundry, or bills in your student budget.

4. Privacy
While, yes, you will be living with your family which may mean less privacy from them, you will at least get your own privacy when it comes to space. Other college students need to share bedrooms or housing with roommates. But at home, you get your own space and your own peace and quiet when you want to study.

5. Get Involved in the Community
When you are commuting to college, you won’t be bound by the area around your college. Students who live on campus are very likely to only stay on or around campus during their studies. But living off campus means you may be more open and exposed to extracurriculars outside of campus activities.
You are more likely than your on-campus peers to get to know how to be involved in a community, and will have an easier time with this after you graduate. You won’t be limited to on-campus jobs, so you can choose areas with better pay and opportunity. Finally, you’ll end up getting really good at your navigation skills, be it by car, bike, or public transit.

6. Getting Ahead
If you take evening classes at a commuter college in order to work, you have the opportunity to get a headstart in gaining work experience in your career, compared to students who stayed on campus and focused all their energy on college-based activities.

7. Social Life Opportunities
Students who live off campus can still attend on-campus and after-class events just the same as on-campus students can. Living on campus might make it easier to attend these events, but commuters can still have a lively social life as well.
Commuting to school opens your eyes to social opportunities outside of your college. You can meet new people by volunteering, joining special off-campus events that interest you, and from your off-campus job as well.

Other fun reasons to be a commuter student are:

1. Choose How Much Time to Spend With Friends
You don’t live on campus which means no one can suddenly interrupt your study time, nap schedule, or other aspect of your day. You get to choose exactly when you disconnect and when to participate in social affairs.

2. Commuting Forces You to Be Productive
Your commute is a block of time that you have with no distractions to use to your advantage. If you are driving, you can use that time to listen to audio textbooks or recorded lectures. If you take public transportation, you can be productive by watching lectures or reading. You can even get some assignments done if you have the space to do so!

3. School-Life Balance
There is such a thing as school-life balance, and as a commuter, it is much easier. You can decide that when you return to your home, you are “off school,” the same way that people are “off work” when they get home. When living on campus, this is nearly impossible to do because you are surrounded with school reminders.

4. Catch Up on Shows (Guilt Free!)
If you have a hard time concentrating during your commute, or if your ride is a bit bumpy, you can use this time to catch up on favorite podcasts, sports radio shows, or tv shows. You can even feel good about it — it means you’ll be doing something more productive later instead of catching up on your shows.

How to Be Productive as a Commuter Student
It’s not hard to be productive as a commuter student. You just need to look at it the right way, and manage your time to your benefit! Instead of looking at your commute as time out of your busy day, see it as a time to get things done. Use your commute to study, read, listen to podcasts, watch shows, meditate, catch up with friends, or make goals and plan your day.

There are so many ways to make friends as a commuter student. Yes, it is true that it might require a bit more effort for commuter students than on-campus students, but it is far from impossible.

Try joining fitness classes at the school gym, or join an intramural sports team. There are plenty of student activities to get involved with in college where you can develop your interests and make friends at the same time. Your school should have a database of all clubs and student organizations. Pick a few to get involved with and see what sticks!

Sleep Over at Friends’ Places
If this doesn’t become a daily habit, this is a great way to spend extended time with friends. While some on-campus housing won’t allow for sleepovers, some do, and all students living in their own apartments near campus can have guests over. Try to plan sleepovers for Friday or Sunday nights to get in one less commute.

Plan Your Weekends
Don’t just go over to your friends’ places near campus. Invite them to your place! Check out fun activities in your area, or in the direction of your area that you and your college friends can do together.

Making Your Commuter Life Work
1. Commuter Status:
Check if you can apply and if you are eligible before you make any decisions.

2. Parking Pass:
While it might be tempting to just park wherever you can to save money, a parking pass will be worthwhile in the end. It will save you time and stress, and potential parking fines!

3. Find Commuter-Friendly Parking Spots Close to Your Classes:
If you really want to save on a parking pass, or if you know that your class is far from your school’s parking lot, spend some extra time cruising around to check out parking spots close to your classes.

4. Plan Morning Travel Time:
Be smart about your commute. Do a few trial runs leading up to your classes at each hour they will be at.

5. Be Prepared for An Emergency:
Make a fool-proof plan for every emergency you can think of so you are never stuck in a bad situation.

6. Have Snacks at Hand:
Keep snacks or drinks in your car for unexpectedly long commutes, or if you have to rush to class with no time to stop for food.

7. Find Out If You Don’t Need to Purchase Food:
Some colleges have mandatory meal plans for students, but commuters may be able to opt out or get a lesser plan.

8. Carpool!
Check with your commuter organization if they have a list of peers to reach out to about carpooling. You’ll be able to take the carpool lane, save money, and make friends.

Work on Campus:
If you choose to work on campus, you’ll easily be more involved in the ongoing of your school. You’ll make on-campus friends, spend more time on campus, and get to know one area of campus particularly well.

Hang Out at School:
Spend some extra time at school, whether it means having a meal or two on campus, or studying at the library or cafe. Any extra moment on campus means more time you can meet people and get to know your school. Try to schedule these times so you can avoid traffic for an added benefit to you.

Take Advantage of Your Time To:
1. Save Money
Commuting to college means saving money. Whether it means living rent-free at home, or saving on rent to live somewhere less expensive, you will save money in some ways by commuting to school.

2. Plan for the Future
Think about your opportunity cost to live on campus. Is it really worth the money? If you are able to save money now by living off campus, that means you might be able to buy a house earlier, go traveling, or invest in a business.

3. Foster Healthier Habits
Commuting as a student means you will be an expert by the time you have to commute for work. Use this time to create healthy habits for yourself such as packing your own food, waking up early, and fitting in time to work out.

4. Prioritize
It might not sound hard, but making yourself a priority is a challenge. Take advantage of your time as a commuter to make your life ‘you-focused.’ Think about what you really want out of your life, create your goals, and make plans to achieve them.

Interesting Statistics
If you are thinking of commuting to college, don’t be surprised when you see your classmates on the road. A study done in 2012 by the University of Connecticut found that 51% of students reported that they commute to school.

You’ll be saving money as a commuter student, if you are able to live for free at home. According to NCES, the National Center for Education Statistics, it is expected that on-campus students paying in-state tuition spend $11,000 per semester on room and board. That’s no small number for commuter students to be saving!

1. Experience
Living at home while in college means you don’t get as much opportunity to experience college life. You will continue to be immersed in the same situations you always have been and won’t absorb as much culture as on-campus students, meaning you won’t get the full college experience if you are commuting to college. Even if you hang around and socialize after class or attend parties, it won’t be the same experience that students living on or around campus get.

2. Money
Financial aid goes down, transportation costs go up. First of all, you are eligible for much less aid if you are living at home, so check thoroughly before you make a decision. Also, if you are using a car for transport, add up your monthly car payments, gas, insurance, and parking costs and double check that it doesn’t add up to the same as an apartment or dorm. (It might!)

3. Less Reliable Transportation
When commuting to college, you aren’t in control. Traffic, construction, accidents, late transportation, parking issues, and bad weather can all come into play when you are trying to get to class on time. Commuting means you are more likely to be late or miss opportunities that students living on campus may have.

4. Time
This can be a pro or a con. The con is that your time spent commuting to school is less time you have to study, socialize or work. The pro is you have built in time to read or listen to podcasts and audiobooks, or take naps on public transport. But your schedule may also revolve around traffic times — you’ll be less free to create your own schedule if you are trying to avoid the roads for up to 4 hours a day.

5. Commuting to a Non-Commuter School
If most students live on campus, you may feel left out compared to your peers. Teachers and staff will often worry about commuter students — if they are not motivated, they may be more likely to miss classes and feel less connected to professors, peers, and the school itself.

What to Consider When Choosing to Commute
“Student commuting in a car to college”
Consider all of the pros and cons listed above. Starting with money, you should calculate the costs of both commuting to college and your alternative, whether it is living in an apartment or staying with family. Make sure to keep financial aid in mind.

Think about how you would spend your time commuting, or spend your extra time if you didn’t have to commute to college.

Before you make a decision, check out potential traffic problems and routes to school. To avoid missed tests or tardiness, thoroughly check out if there are viable ways to get to school, and alternate routes in case of construction, accidents, or other roadblocks.

Finally, look at your current space — does it have the right setup to be a productive student? Dorms and libraries do, but do you at home?

Thank you comment icon Thank you, this was helpful!! Daniela
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Joseph’s Answer

Hi Daniela,

During college, I lived on campus for a couple years, then commuted / lived off campus my senior year. I would really recommend living on campus at least your freshman year if you can. Since most people don't know each other freshman year, that is a great year to meet new people and it just makes meeting people a whole lot easier when you live on campus.

I've had friends commute for financial reasons or if they lived at home closeby, and they admitted to me that commuting does take an impact on social life. Sometimes you can't stay out as late if your commute is long, and also if you don't have classes on a certain day, you'd have to make more of an effort to meet with a friend on campus.

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Patrick’s Answer

Hi there!

I think it depends on what you can support. Personally, living on campus was extremely pricey, so I only did it one year because I didn't have a choice. However, I lived in a neighborhood near my school for 3 years that was more independent, cheaper, and more cozy.

If you're worried about possibly having to take out financial aid to cover the costs of on-campus housing then it might be best to look at other options. I would have rather taken extra financial aid out for books and supplies instead of my dorm room, but it's totally a preference. The other perk is that usually you pay for your housing at one time instead of having monthly rent-like payments for off-campus housing.

Transportation is also a big factor. My off-campus housing had a shuttle service, so it was convenient. But, definitely take that into consideration before making a move!
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Daniela
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Chrismery’s Answer

Hi Daniela,

I would recommend that you live on campus. By doing so, it will be much easier to make friends and easily access anything that the college offers (library/other study resources, networking events, academic advising/support, easier access to professors, etc.).

I personally did not live on campus for financial reasons, which stunted my social life. I spent one hour to and from school commuting on the subway, and would often leave campus right after my classes to avoid getting home late at night. This would also limit the classes that I took, because I preferred to not have any too early in the morning or too late in the afternoon. A couple of pros to commuting is that you save a lot of money and you can study on your way to/from campus (if you're not driving of course).

If an active social life is important to you, you should also think about how that can affect your studies. Some people tend to prioritize this instead of classes and end up failing.

You should write out a list of things you would personally consider pros and cons and think about each one carefully.
Thank you comment icon Thank you!! Daniela