Featured Image

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:
commuter students commuters commuting commuting to school living off campus

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
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

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.

Sonny Harris

Sonny Harris

None

For the entire year before college, I spent a lot of time deeply considering what major I wanted to go into and how to fund my higher education. After a lot of research, I came across CollegeXpress, which helped me ultimately find a ton of scholarships for which I could apply—and some of which I received! If it weren’t for CollegeXpress, I may not have found those scholarships as they didn't appear on any other scholarship search forum. Additionally, I learned more about the options I had been considering for my major through CollegeXpress’s resources. In the end, I chose to major in Computer Science, as it seemed best suited to me and the careers in the field seemed enjoyable, and I've never been more excited to move into my future! Ultimately, I want to thank CollegeXpress for offering their services! I received enough financial aid in scholarships to fund my entire freshman year of college and even got some money refunded which I used to purchase a new laptop, and I bought all of the books I needed for the semester!

Mataya Mann

Mataya Mann

High School Class of 2022

To say that CollegeXpress is a helpful tool would be an understatement as it is much more than that. Before finding CollegeXpress, all I knew was that I wanted to go to college, it was going to be insanely expensive, and I felt lost. CollegeXpress has given me access to resources such as helpful tips for applications and scholarship [opportunities], and helped guide me in a direction where I feel confident moving forward and pursuing a career. CollegeXpress has helped instill a spark in me that makes me want to continue and supports me in doing so.

Jenna

Jenna

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me greatly during my college search. I used their college search feature often and it helped in comparing schools I was looking at. Now that I’ve found a college the scholarship search feature is helping me find a way to find my college experience. CollegeXpress has many helpful features and resources for anyones college search, it truly is a wonderful tool for anyone entering college level!

Katelyn

Katelyn

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress gave me options of schools with my major and from there I was able to pick what was most important to me in a school. Everything was so organized that I could see all the information I needed.

College Matches