Deciding where to go to college is a big decision. But once you commit, there are other decisions to make — like where you’re going to live.
The options are often to move into a dorm or live at home and commute, depending on how far you live from campus. Hear why these two students decided to live on and off campus, plus the pros and cons of each decision.
Why I decided to live on campus
Christina Elias is a senior at Elon University in North Carolina. She is studying journalism and is originally from the Kansas City area.
Because commuting across four states wasn’t an option for me, I lived on campus my first two years of college. Here’s why I recommend it:
The pros of living on campus
Living in university housing completely immerses you in college life because most dorms are in the middle of, or close to, campus, providing easier access to your classes, friends, and free student events. College campuses provide academic resources and an environment that encourages students to get their study on and stay on track to graduate.
The social benefits are also a major perk. Living with friends from home can be a fun adventure together and living with new people gives you the chance to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have; some of my best friends are my freshman year roommate and the other girls who lived on my hall.
The cons of living on campus
The biggest drawback to living on campus — and a main concern for many students and their families — is the cost. It can be pretty pricey to live in a dorm or university-owned apartment, but it normally includes things like utilities and can save you the hassle of a pricey commute if you don’t live in the immediate area. You’ll also likely need to buy a meal plan if you don’t have access to a kitchen, which is another added cost.
Ultimately, the decision to move on campus or live at home depends on your financial situation and what you want out of your college experience. I don’t regret living on campus because while I’m trading the comfort of living at home, there are so many benefits that come with living in a university environment.
Why I decided to live at home and commute
Erin Hennessy is a senior at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She is finishing a bachelor’s degree in marketing and minor in interpersonal communication.
I decided to live at home because my college is (conveniently) located in my hometown, and for financial reasons. On top of that, I’m very close to my family and wanted to spend more time with them. I loved that I got to see my family every day.
The pros of living at home
Financially, living at home was a really smart decision for me. I didn’t have to pay room and board or monthly rent. I didn’t have utilities to cover or groceries to buy. Not having those expenses allowed me to join clubs on campus and get more involved with my academics and extracurricular activities because I didn’t have to work as much to make money. With the money I saved, I actually purchased a new car at the beginning of my senior year. Living at home, I didn’t have to worry about roommate problems, making rent, cooking, and dealing with loud neighbors.
The cons of living at home
But there are downsides to living at home. I was further from campus, I had to drive to my classes, and I wasn’t as connected with classmates my age because I wasn’t living in the same environment as them (though joining clubs helped). My independence from my parents was lower, as they wanted to know where I was and that I would be home at night.
But overall, living at home has been a great experience for me and has better prepared me mentally and financially for the future. There’s really no shame in being a college kid who lives at home because there are so many benefits. It can really help you save money, so you can be more independent after graduation.