Is Commuting to College Right for You? 3 Things to Consider

Is commuting to college right for you? A commuter student explains the pros and cons of living off campus and driving to school every day.

If you’ve narrowed down your college choices and one of your contenders is close to home, you may be wondering if commuting to school would be right for you.

Commuting looks different for everyone. Most students choose to live with their family at home, while others may live on their own off campus in their university’s general area. Some live five minutes away from campus and others live over an hour away.

For me personally, I live about 30 minutes from Cedarville University, where I attend school. Commuting over the past two years has helped me see some of the pros and cons.

Here are three reasons why commuting may be right for you.

1. You could save money

Let’s face it: college is expensive. Tuition, room and board, and books totaled together cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Commuter students still pay for tuition and books, but their room and board fees can look a lot different. 

I live in my parents’ house and pack leftovers to eat for lunch. This saves me at least $4,000 on room and board. For me, gasoline is my biggest expense. I usually end up using a full tank every week.

For students considering living on their own off campus, I’d encourage you to compare the costs of both options. Room and board on campus may end up being cheaper or about the same as renting an apartment, buying meals, and paying for transportation. I can’t promise that commuting is always cheaper, but it does offer the potential to save some money.

Related: Commuting Tips for Off-Campus Students

2. You don’t have to sacrifice a social life

Many students choose to live in dorms for the social aspect of college. While living on campus does make it easier to be involved, commuters can still have a social life. Commuter students can still attend campus events and make friends through classes and extracurriculars. It can take extra effort to make friends when you don’t live on campus, but it’s certainly not impossible.

Commuting can also open your eyes to social activities beyond your university. There are so many ways to get involved in your local community through volunteering, joining activities that interest you, working off campus, etc.

I volunteer at a local history museum, attend church on Sundays, go to a small group on Tuesdays, and still work part time at my high school job. It’s been great to make friends at college while still maintaining relationships from high school.

3. You can be more involved with family

I know college is a time in life where students become adults and face the world on their own. There’s nothing wrong with having distance from family and learning to become independent. But for students who have the option, living at home can help you stay close to family. With older grandparents and several family health issues, I enjoy being able to see family frequently and helping them out.

Is commuting right for you?

While I think commuting is great, I know it’s not ideal for everyone. By being a commuter student, you’ll miss out on having a roommate and a traditional dorm experience. Some students also crave the desire to move away from home and be more independent.

But whether you choose to live on campus or off, don’t settle for or dismiss a college just because it’s close to home. The college experience is so much better when you truly like the college for what it has to offer.

The fact that Cedarville University is near my hometown made the decision of commuting possible, but that’s not why I chose to go here. I loved Cedarville as a school. I agreed with their Christian values, they offered the major I was interested in, and I knew the campus well from having attended summer camps and activities in the past. In fact, there’s another university way closer to my house that I could have chosen, but it just didn’t feel like “the one.”

I wish you the best of luck as you decide where to attend college and whether commuting is right for you!

Find your best-fit school with our College Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About RaeAnn Jent

RaeAnn Jent

RaeAnn is a Broadcasting and Digital Media major at Cedarville University. She enjoys writing, listening to music, bowling, and volunteering at a local history museum. Be sure to check out her personal blog.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Josiah Kegg

Josiah Kegg

High School Class of 2021

I want to sincerely thank you all for this amazing website that's legitimately helped me find so many different scholarship opportunities. I've been stressing out for the longest time about paying for college since I would rather stay out of debt and have been working days trying to find any scholarship opportunity. When I found CollegeXpress, I discovered many easy scholarships that have given me hope for the future. Thank you and God bless!

Dani York

Dani York

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped in my journey by comparing multiple colleges for my final decision. While looking at different colleges, I was able to compare the tuition expenses and that landed me with the college that I’m currently enrolled in, Western Kentucky University. Thank you!

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

High School Class of 2022

I wanted a school that wasn't too far away from home and could provide me with a full-ride scholarship. CollegeXpress helped me put into perspective the money I had to pay to attend those schools, which ultimately drove me to choose to attend a community college first to get used to being in college before transferring to the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, one of the colleges I was able to research further on CollegeXpress.

Casey Kammeyer

Casey Kammeyer

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

I love the site CollegeXpress; it has been very helpful finding colleges and getting them to send me information. It has also been very, very helpful with finding tons of scholarships. Also, I told many of my friends about it and they love it as well!

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

SUNY Maritime College

Throggs Neck, NY

Lynn University

Boca Raton, FL

Pace University

New York, NY

Coe College

Cedar Rapids, IA