Although it may seem that most people live on campus during their college years, commuting to college has a whole load of benefits, and it shouldn’t be written off as an option until you’ve really considered it. Like all things in life, there are pros and cons, and what works for one person doesn’t work for another, however here are some great benefits to a commuter college that you may wish to think about.
Although as a commuting student you will have to pay gas money or for public transportation, you will avoid the costs of rent and other on-campus fees, which are likely to be considerably more. By living on campus, your student loan will be spent on room and board, whereas if you commute, you should be able to use that loan money and pay back bigger chunks of your tuition quicker. A rough estimate puts commuting at around half the price of saying on campus!
Living in dorms does allow you a lot more freedom than living at home, but there are a lot more issues that can arise, too. For example, if your roommates are particularly messy or noisy, or just generally unfriendly, this can cause a lot of extra stress. Your family home is likely to be much tidier and calmer, and you probably know your housemates pretty well by this point! Provided your parents support your education, they are likely to encourage and motivate you more than your peers.
The status quo
You don’t have to worry about packing up your things, getting used to living with new people, and learning about a new place, as well as everything you need to do for your classes. You’ll know the area better than others, which means you can make new friends by showing them around your local area and introducing them to the hidden gems that only natives know. If you have a job already, you can potentially keep it alongside studying, and you’ll never have to worry about feeling homesick.
The best of both worlds
Some people may argue that if you live off-campus, you will be missing out on a lot of the social aspects of the college experience, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Be sure to join study groups, take part in activities and events, and become part of societies and teams too. That way, you can still feel like you are making the most of your college experience but also reaping the benefits of commuting.
There are a lot of things to consider when deciding if a commuter college is the right choice for you. For example, it may affect your funding and scholarships if particular programs feel you have fewer upfront costs. You do also have to take into consideration how long and easy your commute will be. Are you willing to leave early enough? How do you feel about maybe sitting in traffic for an hour every day, or being squashed onto a train? Of course, this time can be a blessing – you could get work done on the train, or use your time in the car to catch up on podcasts or audiobooks.
As always, it comes down to what works best for you, but don’t just discount commuter college just because it’s not the norm.