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

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
Daniel Ogunlokun

Daniel Ogunlokun

High School Class of 2022

When I started looking at colleges in the beginning of my senior year, I was conflicted about which ones I wanted to attend based on safety, tuition costs, location, academic rigor, and prestige. Searching the internet and getting more questions than answers, I came across CollegeXpress, which made all the steps I had taken look like a minor issue. Everything was summarized and detailed, and I couldn't be more thankful and appreciative.

Joseph Johnsly

Joseph Johnsly

High School Class of 2021

It's an honor for me to be writing to share a little about my experience with CollegeXpress. I've been using CollegeXpress for about a year now, and the reason why I chose it is because it provides astonishing scholarships for every student around the globe. Besides that, this organization dispenses all the information necessary to help students get to college. CollegeXpress has helped me have an easier experience with applying to colleges and choosing the best fit for myself.

Tinuola Dada

Tinuola Dada

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2015

I am very excited to be this year's recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship. This scholarship will bring me ever closer to my academic and professional goals. CollegeXpress has been an exceptional resource to me, and I recommend it to all rising seniors as they begin to navigate the college application process.

Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

Jeff Parsons

Jeff Parsons


Thank you so much for this valuable information about these opportunities. I truly appreciate the CollegeXpress communications and use them to keep my high school seniors informed about their opportunities!

College Matches