Is living off campus beneficial to commuter students? What is a commuter student? A commuter student resides off campus and travels to attend classes. While commuting to school offers many reasons to live outside of campus, students also miss on many college activities. Regardless, a commuter student prefers to travel to campus for financial and work purposes.

In that way, students plan semester classes based on transportation and work schedules. So commuting to college is more than attending classes. Commuter students travel to campus for financial need and family support.

Commuter Student Benefits

A commuter student prefers off-campus living to save money. For instance, as a commuter student, you can live with your parents or family as you attend school. In this way, you avoid moving expenses to dorms or campus apartments. Also, if you continue to live at home, parents take care of most of your housing, clothing, food and utilities.

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Another benefit of commuting to campus is you are still close to friends and families. As part of your support group, you have close friends to rely on encouragement during the transition from high school to college. Those days of uncertainty in a new place like a college campus can lead to sadness and homesickness.

You can rely on your family and friends. Besides, commuting to school prepares you for the experience of college life should you choose to live in a dorm later on.

Disadvantages of Commuting to Campus

One of the weaknesses of a commuter student is traveling to campus. You have to invest time, energy and money for transportation. Whether you select public transit or not, you still need to consider the amount of time to get to classes.

  • For instance, when you use public buses to get to campus, plan your schedule. 
  • Do you need to plan your bus travel time according to your classes? 
  • Perhaps your bus route requires multiple bus transfers, and you need to adjust the time to get from your home to campus. 
  • As a commuter student, you need to consider the cost of bus passes and class schedule time. 
  • An alternative to public transportation could be riding your bike to campus. 
  • Many students that live short distances from campus travel to class by bike making use of the exercise and relaxation time. 
  • However, consider the sudden weather changes like rain or commute problems such as flat tires or heavy traffic. Many times, students report stolen bikes. 
  • Probably one of the best ways to travel to campus is driving your vehicle. 
  • However, driving your vehicle requires a parking pass, which is expensive depending on how close you want to be from school. 
  • Besides having the opportunity to plan your schedule and travel times, you also need to consider the condensed traffic areas. 

Will you travel in the morning or evening during rush hour? How do you obtain a parking spot, walk to class on time and go back home? All these parameters are essential considerations for any commuter student.

Campus Involvement for Commuter Students

Most commuter students choose to travel to campus for work convenience as much as financial flexibility. For example, more than 30 percent of college students do not engage in campus activities when they travel more than an hour to school. As a consequence, students feel disconnected with campus and only schedule classes to fit their needs. Commuter students feel disconnected and do not relate to campus activities.

Remarkably, about 90 percent of commuter students attend a two-year higher education college compared to a four-year college. Finding ways to integrate campus activity is not a priority for commuter students. College campuses encourage students to participate in clubs, recreational facilities and events. The efforts to include commuter students in on-campus activities is often pointless.

Since many organizations on campus adhere to school hours and calendar times, commuter students feel disengaged with barely any opportunities to participate. While commuting to campus pays in the long run, consider what is essential in your college life.

About the Author

Barbara earned a B. S. in Biochemistry and Chemistry from the Univ. of Houston and the Univ. of Central Florida, respectively. Besides working as a chemist for the pharmaceutical and water industry, she pursued her degree in secondary science teaching. Barbara now writes and researches educational content for blogs and higher-ed sites.