Pros & Cons of Living at Home During College

It can be hard to figure out your living situation for college, whether you’ve just graduated high-school or are an upperclassman. Although many colleges do have requirements for freshman to live on campus, many also have the option to live off-campus presumably with a parent or guardian if you live within a certain distance of the university. As someone who lived on campus for two years and has been a commuter for almost two years I have plenty experience in the many pros and cons of both living situations that should be considered.

Source

 

The Pros

 

1. Money

The first, and possibly most important positive aspect of living at home has to do with finances. Living at home is significantly cheaper than living on or off campus while in college. Although there are still some expenses to consider, they’re often significantly less when compared to other financial responsibilities, like housing and meal plans the university expects out of you. Depending on your relationship with your parents they’re likely to continue letting you live at home for free or for a low price. Doing so allows you to save money for your future for important things like finding an apartment.

Source

 

2. Health

Most commuters choose not to get the expensive meal plan, forcing you to make and bring your own food. Chances are at home your food options will be much healthier than all the fried food and soda readily available in the dining hall, that your meal plan would require you to eat 2-3 times per day. Eating healthier can lead to you feeling better both physically and mentally, which can positively affect your academic success.

Source

 

3. Unwavering Support​

It can be nice to come home after a hard day to someone that is invested and interested in your well-being. There has been many times where I’ve come home ready to cry, but was met by people that are happy to see me regardless of what’s going on in my life. Being home also allows you to maintain your connection to your family members – grandparents, parents, siblings, whether it’s through fun activities or just having a meal together.

Source

 

4. Limited Distractions

Of course all locations will have distractions, however living at home likely limits them. You don’t have a roommate that comes into the room with her friends you don’t like and the people above you probably aren’t having a party at 2 a.m. Living at home means you always have somewhere quiet to study, assuming you take the necessary steps like turning off your phone, or music, to do so.

Source

 

5. Comforts of Home​

In this case, the idea “there’s no place like home” is true. Things like waiting hours for a washing machine to open, or forgetting your favorite pair of shoes isn’t an issue because you’re already home. Going to college drastically changes your life, but having this one part stay the same can help with the transition. Plus, it means you can hang out in your room without pants or judgment from others.

Source

 

The Cons

 

1. Commuting 

In my case commuting is not an issue. I live about four and a half minutes from campus making it easy to get there quickly. For other people this might not be the case – with things like bad weather or a car accident adding to the time it takes to get there. In addition to this, commuting also means parking which will require both gas and a parking pass from you. Those things might not be an issue, but looking for parking at 9am when you’re running late for your mid-term can be.

Source

 

2. Lack of Activities​

This isn’t to say that your family isn’t great or that they don’t do anything fun, but it’s not quite the same as attending campus events, watching the football game, or participate in clubs. It’s much easier to attend mandatory events for clubs, or fun last-minute events you didn’t know about, when you live on campus. Having to commute can be limiting in the things you attend and the connections you make with other people.

Source

 

3. Unreliable Social Life

It can feel weird to bring friends over to hang out when you live at home with your family. I have a very strong relationship with my siblings who are 7 and 9 and don’t mind having them around, but others might feel differently. Living at home might mean having to plan out your time with your friends instead of the spontaneous moments you could have on campus if you lived no more than a ten-minute walk from each other.

Source

 

4. Boundaries 

It can be easy for your parents to forget you’re no longer a child that needs minding. I think it’s important to have a sit-down conversation before the semester starts to set boundaries and make expectations from each other clear. For many people this means making it clear you don’t need a curfew or permission to participate in campus events or to go certain places. This is especially true when it comes to having friends or a significant other over, because nothings more awkward than a parent barging in your room asking uncomfortable or embarrassing questions. However, the necessary conversation should be one of respect. You shouldn’t be dismissive of your parent’s concerns, but you should also be able to make your own choices in college.

Source

 

5. Missing Out on the “Real” College Experience

This con is a sort of accumulation of all the others. Living at home can mean missing out on the experiences of having a roommate, surviving overnight trips to the library, and having to eat in the dining hall. College is, in part, a forced bonding experience that forces you to step outside your comfort zone and make connections –something we all should really be trying to do.

Source

 

There’s plenty to consider when figuring out your living situation for the year, and all options have many pros and cons. Of course there’s always a way to get around issues that may arise like having a budget, planning your activities ahead of time, and having honest conversations with your family members. When it comes time to decide make sure you consider all of your options and make a decision that works best for you and the experiences you want to have.