Pros and Cons of Commuting vs. Dorms

Candace Reid

This article, entitled College versus Living in a Dorm: Pros and Cons comes from partner site

When getting ready to head off to college, you have a lot of decisions to make. Where will you go to school? Do you know what your major will be? Will you live in a dorm, an apartment or with your parents? Trying to answer the last question can be difficult for some students, especially if they choose a school close to home. To help make the decision, consider the pros and cons of commuting to college versus living in a dorm.

Benefits of commuting to college:

  • Save money on room and board. When pricing colleges, some students only consider the cost of tuition. Room and board—which includes food and lodging—can add several thousand dollars to a college bill each year. Living at home or in an apartment can dramatically reduce this cost.

  • Better food (maybe). College cafeterias are notorious for serving mediocre food. And while mom’s home cooked meals will probably be a step up, living on your own in an apartment could be a step down if you don’t know how to cook. If making your own meals is important to you, commuting to college is an appealing option.

  • Your own space. Dorm living can be hit-or-miss. Freshmen are generally not allowed to choose a roommate, so you’ll probably be living with a stranger. Sophomores through seniors can choose roommates, but sometimes the stress of living in a small dorm room can create a tense environment. If you value your own space, consider commuting to school and skipping dorm life.

Drawbacks of commuting to college:

  • More travel time. An important advantage of living on campus is that you’re usually just a few minutes’ walk to class. Commuting means that you’ll have to wake up earlier and travel farther to get to campus.

  • Car costs. Most campuses are set up to provide students’ basic needs, so you may not require a car. But if you’re commuting back and forth to campus every day, the cost of parking, car payments, car maintenance, gas and car insurance coverage can add up. You can reduce this cost by driving a fuel-efficient vehicle and comparing auto insurance quotes online, but travel costs should definitely be a consideration if you decide to commute to college.

  • Missing part of the ‘college experience.’ Although living in a cramped dorm can be frustrating at times, many people consider it to be a character-building part of going to college. You’ll learn how to deal with conflicts that arise between you and your roommate; plus, living on campus means that you’ll have a better opportunity to take part in social events that happen after class is over.

If you’re unsure about whether to commute to college, try it for a year. You can always move into a dorm after your freshman year, or even after the first semester. Ultimately the choice you make will depend on your proximity to the school, your budget, and which environment will allow you to thrive as a student.

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