College: Commute or live on campus?

Sunday , August 06, 2017 - 12:00 AM

TX. Correspondent

Graduating high school comes with a lot of choices. One of those is what to do after high school: college, a job, technical school, a church mission, travel and so on.

Most teens eventually attend at least some college or technical school, but when choosing which institute to attend, a lot of other things come into play, like whether to live at home and commute, or live on campus.

As a new school year approaches, we’re taking a look at some of the pros and cons of both options.

Stay close, sleep later

Living at home is much cheaper but there’s time involved for commuting and it can be harder to feel connected to campus.

Living on campus is more expensive but it’s easier to be involved in school, and you don’t have to worry so much about waking up earlier for classes or if you’ll have enough money for gas or be able to make the train. Plus, many students like the independence campus life gives them – being on their own, away from home.

Campus life does often mean living with roommates though, which can be bad or good. You might make a new best friend or have to live with people you hate.

There are certainly pros and cons to both sides. Personally, I will be attending the University of Utah as a commuter student this fall, partly because living on or near campus is so expensive. I’ll use trains and buses and my bike so it’s basically free. And perhaps I’ll get some work done on the 45-minute train ride.

But as I mentioned previously, there are certainly cons as well. It’ll be harder for me to get involved with activities on campus, especially late-night ones. And finding a way home after staying later may be tricky as well.

Then too, living under my parents’ roof means that although technically an adult now, I’m still viewed as more of a child.

But I get to save about $4,000 dollars a year by living at home. So there’s no obvious “better choice.”

What matters most?

Staying at home or living on campus is definitely a personal decision, and sometimes it’s not much of a choice, especially for students with lower income levels. Either way you’ll be gaining and losing something, so it just depends on what things are most important to you.

If you value time with family, maybe staying at home is the best way to make sure you get to see them. If you know you don’t have much money, living with your parents can also be a way to keep from going into too much debt.

But if you want to throw yourself into college and be able to focus on your schoolwork, then living on campus is probably best. Or if you live so far away that it’d take hours or even days to get to school, moving near school is almost necessary.

And if finances or distance haven’t left you with much of a choice of where you’ll live, you can still make the best of it. You can focus on what you’re gaining instead of what you’re losing. If you have to leave your family and stay with people who are strangers to you, try to make friends. Decorate your new space. Video call your family and old friends when you get a chance.

If you are stuck at home while your friends all move out and try new things, don’t get too down. Work it out so you can join clubs and teams at your school and find something to do while you commute.

Above all, communicate. Whether you need your roommate to turn the lights off by midnight or you need your parents give you more freedom and respect, it’s best to talk about it. Make things clear. No one can read minds (though that would be cool).

No matter if you’re commuting to college or staying on campus, you’ll find good and bad in your situation. Just try to make the most of it, and good luck — you’ll be just fine.

Courtney Kendrick is a recent graduate of Clearfield High School. Her many interests include literature, music, spending time with friends and sleeping in her rare spare time. Contact her at

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