Commuting to College: Why Living at Home is Better

According to a study that was done by Sallie Mae (a financial services company), 51% of college students are commuting to college and living at home. Among those surveyed, about 77% of students enrolled in public two-year schools chose to continue living at home. 40% of students attending private colleges, and 38% of students attending four-year public colleges commuted as well.  (Source)

Gina Catalano, a senior at North Central College, is one of the 40% of students who is commuting to college. Catalano explained why she chose to be a commuter, gave a little bit of information as to what it’s like being a commuter, and she provided some advice for current and future commuter students. For those debating on commuting to college, take note.

How do you commute to and from school? How far of a commute is it?

I drive to school, and it takes me about 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic.

What made you decide to be a commuter student as opposed to living on campus?

I live so close to campus and didn’t want to spend the money to live there.

What are the advantages of commuting to college?

I’m not the type of person who could live with someone in such a small space and share a bathroom with others (spoiled only child), so I like coming home to my own bed and shower.

What are the disadvantages of commuting to college?

You may miss certain activities, and it can be harder to make friends.

How do you think being a commuter student is different from being a college student who lives on campus (are there less distractions, better food options, etc.)?

I personally don’t feel any different. It’s easier for me to live at home and be able to do other things.

Would you recommend being a commuter student to future college goers? Why or why not?

It depends on your personality. If you’re looking for the ideal college experience, living on campus is for you. For people like me who would have a difficult time, staying home is easier. Distance is also a big reason.

Do you still feel like you’re a part of the campus even though you don’t live on campus? If so, how?

Absolutely. I am still active with things on campus such as the student-run newspaper, and (I) make the time to go to campus events.

Do you think you miss out on collegiate activities or opportunities by living away from campus?

Not at all. Like I said, I make the time to attend campus events, and it’s not that hard to miss something.

Do you think you would ever consider living on campus?

Nope. Sorry!

Students who live on campus tend to look at college as something that encompasses their whole life, whereas when you are commuting to college, you see college as more of a job that they go to, and then they “come home.” Do you agree? Do you feel like being a commuter alters a college student’s perspective of their college life?

I can definitely see how people look at it that way, but that’s how I like it! I’m not into the whole college experience, so it can be similar to a job. Depending on how you look at it can definitely alter perceptions. You just have to keep positive about it!

What advice do you have for future college students who are considering commuting to college?

You have to be dedicated in order to live at home. As tempting as it may be to just stay home, your academic career could be deeply affected by that. Make sure that you are responsible enough to balance school and your home life.

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Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts is a senior at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois pursuing a degree in English Writing. She has been an Editor for the North Central Kindling humor magazine, Assistant News and Arts Editor for the North Central Chronicle newspaper, as well as a DJ and Rock News Reporter for WONC-FM 89.1, her college’s radio station. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with her friends, boyfriend, and his cat Willow.