Monday, March 7, 2016

Should I Commute to Campus?

Hi everyone and Happy First Official Day of Chasing College's Commuter Week!!!

Today, I wanted to to discuss with you all the impacts and considerations you should think about before deciding whether or not to commute to college. There are actually a lot of things to think about so make sure you consider the following items:

  • Commuting to college as a Freshmen can decrease your access to friendship networks. If your college campus is highly residential (students live on campus), then a lot of your peers will be creating those friendships simply because they live on a specific floor as someone else. There is a lot of programming done within the first few months of college to ensure that new students are meeting the people within their floors and learning all about college. If you don't live on campus (at least for that first year) you could miss out on some great social opportunities.
  • A great thing about commuting -- and most people's draw to living off campus, is the opportunity to save money. Paying for a room and board, no matter the type of school, can range from $9,000 to $15,000 for the school year. So, whether you choose to commute from your parent's house or from an off-campus apartment, choosing to commute to college can save you some good amount of money. 
  • Make sure you check with your university to see if it is an option to live off campus. They may require all first and second years to reside on campus or it may be a stipulation with your merit scholarship that you have to live in the residence halls. No matter your reasoning, just double check with your university's policies before signing a lease or missing the housing application form's deadline. 
  • Living off campus adds more time and hassle to getting to and from your university's campus. You will not have the privilege of rolling out of bed 15 minutes before class, nor sprinting across campus when you learn that the bookstore is having a Flash Sale. In all seriousness though, if there is bad weather or heavy traffic/construction on the roads, you could wind up being late to a lot of classes or events.

You'll want to make sure you have a reliable vehicle for commuting to
and from campus. Constantly worrying about whether your car will
make it to campus today will not help ease your stress in college! 

  • Being able to live on your own or with your parents allows you a chance for a "normal" life in college. By this I mean you don't have to worry about loud parties in the residence halls, you can eat home-cooked meals, if you want to live with a significant other or friends who attend another college you can. Especially if you feel "a little mature" for the residence halls or have daylong internships or student teaching, having your own place to come back to and relax can be really helpful when things get stressful!
  • If you have a strong connection to your family, community, or a job, it may be a lot easier to live off of campus and be immersed in the life that you know and love. Especially if you are balancing a lot of outside things from school, it may be necessary to live with your parents or by yourself. It all depends on your familial make up too, so if you feel that living with your family while you're going to college will help you succeed in the long run, then why not look into commuting to college?
  • If you had to choose between which years to commute and which years to live on campus, I would definitely suggest living on campus your first year, and possibly your second, so that you can make all of those friendships from your residence hall. It also gives you the opportunity to engage in campus life fully, attend late night meetings, and work on group projects early in the morning or in the middle of the day. Living on campus your first year gives you a great foundation for being successful at that university! Also, by the time you are a Junior or Senior and want to live off-campus, you will have established friendships with people who live at the university, so if you're ever in need of staying overnight, you have those connections!

Tomorrow, I will be doing a "What's in my Backpack?" post to continue in Chasing College's Commuter Week Series!! Have a great day everyone!

enjoy the chase,

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