Living on Campus vs. Commuting During College

by Kayla Johnston ’16

Many universities, Azusa Pacific included, require students to live on campus during their freshman year and sophomore years or commute from a family residence. Living on campus provides a great opportunity for first-time freshmen and transfer students to engage in their new community and form lasting friendships. Yet the choice to live on or off campus is not always easy. Family, finances, and even athletic team, choir, or other extracurricular involvement can all be factors. To help inform the decision-making process, check out the following benefits of both options:

Living on Campus

Personal Growth: Going away to college throws you headfirst into the challenging, stretching, and exciting experience of growing up. As you leave the comfort of home, you learn to live on your own, make friends, create a budget, do laundry. Though the experience is not always easy—and may require several phone calls to mom or dad for advice—it is worth every penny. Living on your own and developing your independence are lessons that will last a lifetime.

Accessible Resources: Numerous on-campus resources are available to students who live both on and off campus: libraries, dining areas, tutoring centers, staff offices, fitness facilities, and more. However, the accessibility of these resources is vital during college. When you live on campus, you’re already close to your classes for those days you oversleep, and it’s easier to make a quick trip to the library, grab breakfast at the coffee shop on the way to class, or be available for a Saturday group study session.

Deep Friendships: Some of the best friendships are the ones developed in residence halls during college. Late night dessert runs, spontaneous study sessions or movie nights in the lobby, and heart-to-hearts at the foot of your neighbor’s bed are all bonding experiences that are more difficult to find outside of college dorm life. Nothing compares to the type of friendship that comes from living alongside someone, seeing them every day, and going through this transformative period together.

Commuting to Campus

Cost Savings: Perhaps the most convincing reason to live at home and commute to class each day is the cost. Living on campus is an added investment. If you live within an hour of campus and want to save money, commuting may be an option for you. Keep in mind, there is often an added cost of gas, public transportation, and parking fees that may rival the cost of living on campus, depending on how far you live from your school.

Comfort and Convenience: Nothing beats the feeling of coming home to find your dog waiting at the front door or a home-cooked meal on the table. If you live on campus, that may look more like a pet goldfish in your dorm room and a Pop-Tart as you walk back from class. Commuting means you don’t have to sacrifice the comforts of home. Plus, the support of having family close by is irreplaceable.

Added Privacy: Sometimes you need some space. There’s no doubt that life in a college residence hall surrounded by peers is exciting, but at the end of the day, everyone needs a little peace and quiet. Living at home allows added privacy and independence on those days that you need a break from the chaos of a college campus.

Ultimately, choosing whether to live on campus or commute is your choice. Both options have pros and cons, and it will be up to you to shape your experience either way. Do what is best for you, and trust that the investment in your education will be worthwhile regardless of where you choose to live.

Related resources: Check out Azusa Pacific’s Housing Options or learn about Azusa Pacific’s Residence Life Experience.

Kayla Johnston '16 is an editorial intern in the Office of University Relations and an English major.