Commuting Tips for Off-Campus Students

Student, California State University of Los Angeles

Mar   2016



Commuting Tips for Off-Campus Students

To dorm or not to dorm; that is the question.

There are colleges that are known to be residential campuses and others that are known to be commuter campuses. With a residential campus, most students live on campus whereas with a commuter campus, students often stay at their parents’ homes or live off campus; they mostly go to campus to attend classes. Both types offer a different college experience. To the student who decides not to dorm, a commuter school might be the option for you. Here are some things to keep in mind if you decide to become a college commuter.

1. Manage your time

As a commuter, you will have to factor in the time it takes to get to places. Depending on how far your home is to campus, you will have to make sure you leave enough time to get yourself ready and anticipate how light or heavy the traffic will be.

2. Figure out parking

Finding a parking space is no easy task. Since most people drive to school, the lots fill up fast. However, because the college itself is a commuter university, it may offer off-campus parking and transportation services as alternative solutions. After all, the need for parking space is much more important than the need for dorm expansion.

3. Look up public transportation

A commuter school is designed so that people can go in and out of campus with ease. In order to find a solution for parking and to give its students some options (besides driving to campus by car), commuter schools may offer a variety of transportation services such as shuttles, railcars, and buses. If for some reason the bus is delayed, there will be other options available if you look for them. They may also offer motorcycle and bicycle permits.

4. Take advantage of your downtime

Since commuters do not live in a dorm, most commuters stay on campus whenever they have large gaps of time between classes. They usually hang out in the library, a college café, or a special commuter lounge since there is not enough time to head home—but there is plenty of time to catch up on work uninterrupted. Although you will find people taking naps, seeing others studying should also motivate you to hit the books and be less distracted.

5. Get a part-time job on campus

Another way that commuters make use of their downtime in between classes is to get a part-time job. Not only do you save money by not living on-campus, you might earn a few bucks working as a café barista, office assistant, or other student-entry position.

6. Have that “well-rounded” college experience

For those concerned of not getting the most out of their university, people who do not get a part-time job or set up camp in the library might take advantage of that extra time to get involved in campus activities. Despite the idea that commuters just keep moving from place to place, you can still arrange your class schedule so you’ll have room to participate in a club that you like.

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About Tiffany Wong

From Cal State L.A., Tiffany is a student writer for CollegeXpress and supports the idea that education should be for everyone.