Attending a college in your hometown adds a major decision to your plate: you can live at home and commute to college or live in the dorm. Each side comes with benefits worthy of consideration. Both options provide a controlled living environment, but your pros and cons list shows the differences in cost, convenience and quality of life.
Living at home during college is a huge money saver. Room and board at college costs thousands of dollars per year and staying at home represents thousands of dollars in savings. You can skip the expensive meal plans that most colleges require for dorm residents. Living at home keeps your expenses as low as possible during college, which means less college debt when you graduate. You will have costs associated with the commute, including gas and parking expenses.
Staying home during college means you always have access to a well-stocked refrigerator, so you don't have to worry about shopping and purchasing food. You get all of your favorites instead of navigating the sometimes questionable food at the on-campus dining center.
Parents and family members are generally supportive of your academic efforts. They will provide you emotional support and serve as a source of encouragement. However, your parents may try to convince you to take certain classes and they may frown upon your choice of a major. Another potential for conflict is your schedule, both your sleeping schedule and your class schedule. If you plan to live at home, set boundaries with family members to reduce the potential for conflict.
Living off campus allows you to get away from your classmates and school buildings when things get stressful. If you live on campus, your life will necessarily revolve around the college. Dorms are often noisy with so many college students living in one building. You may have difficulty studying or finding privacy on campus. Living at home allows you to have more of a life away from the college.
If you live off campus, you will have to commute to college every day to get to your classes. Depending on how far away from campus your parents live, the commute could add a large chunk of time to your school day. The parking situation for commuting students varies. You may end up parking several blocks from campus or have to circle the lot multiple times to find a spot. Staying in a dorm allows you to simply walk to your classes straight from your bedroom. You can literally wake up just minutes before class starts and still make it on time.
Lack of Involvement
Living in the dorms gives you the best opportunity to get involved in on-campus activities, such as sports, concerts, and group activities. The dorm room system is the basis for most of a college's social activities. Without a dorm room, you will have to take personal initiative to meet with classmates outside of class and participate in college events.
Lack of Independence
If you live in your parents' house, you still have to live under their rules and do not get to make all of your own decisions, such as how late you stay out at night. Living on campus gives you a taste of independence by making you choose your own food and make your own living decisions. These are things you will not learn if you live at home during college.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images