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Hunter's Moon

How far would college commute be before considering dorms

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There is a chance that sometime in the near future (middle - end of my Senior Year) that we may be moving about 60 minutes from where we live now.

 

My top 3 colleges are near here, the farthest being about 15-20 minutes away by car.

 

Where we could possibly be moving, the drive would be about an hour drive for each college. Those are the closest colleges near there at offer Occupational Therapy Programs.

 

I'd really like to live at home through college, or at least half-way through to keep living expenses done and to help my parents around the house. My parents always assumed I would live at home through college unless it was too far to drive daily.

 

How far would you let your child drive daily to a college before living in the dorms would be a real possibility? I know it depends on several factors, but I'd just like some input.

 

Thanks!

 

ETA: Another thing to add, it is higher up, and considered the "boonies". They usually get more snow than us down here, but this year we got more. Most of the drive would be highway.

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Hmmm. Not sure about my perspective as a parent, but as a student I commuted 100mi (one way) for a year. I wasn't 18, though, but 22, which may or may not make a difference (just married dh, and was trying to finish my degree).

 

Anyway, it was a much different experience than living on campus (or even living off campus but on the campus bus system). For better or worse, commuting like that makes college much more like a job than a lifestyle (which very well could be a plus ;)). You don't have a chance to really get involved in extracurriculars or the overall atmosphere of the campus. And you have to watch your schedule a bit more - very early or late classes are far more troublesome, and having a big break b/w classes can be a plus - *if* you drag necessary study materials around with you, and can study in the library. And if you have group projects, scheduling is a bit more tricky. And it puts a lot of miles on your car - 1000mi/week, for me - plus not everyone likes lots of driving. I actually found it relaxing - *but* I realized when I stopped that it was also a lot of stress, even though I didn't feel it at the time.

 

Your potential commute is shorter than mine by a fair bit, so that will cut down on drive time - but otherwise it's still far enough that the rest applies. Lots of people have commutes that long for their jobs, so it's certainly a viable option - I don't think I'd forbid my dc doing that, but I would point out the downsides. Depending on how hard it is to get into the dorms as a non-freshman (kind of hard of my school, practically impossible at my mom's, easy at my dad's - depends on how much demand exceeds supply), you could always give it a shot and see how it goes.

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Some public universities require freshmen to live on campus if they reside a certain number of miles away, or if they attended particular public schools. Here in Southern California for example, Cal Poly Pomona students who went to a high school about 25 minutes away from the univ. (assuming no traffic, 62 mph, etc.) must live in the dorms first year.

 

Why? Because board is a money maker. The school has evolved into a commuter school and the number of dorms exceeds student demand.

 

So, as always, check with the school.

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Hmmm. Not sure about my perspective as a parent, but as a student I commuted 100mi (one way) for a year. I wasn't 18, though, but 22, which may or may not make a difference (just married dh, and was trying to finish my degree).

 

Anyway, it was a much different experience than living on campus (or even living off campus but on the campus bus system). For better or worse, commuting like that makes college much more like a job than a lifestyle (which very well could be a plus ;)). You don't have a chance to really get involved in extracurriculars or the overall atmosphere of the campus. And you have to watch your schedule a bit more - very early or late classes are far more troublesome, and having a big break b/w classes can be a plus - *if* you drag necessary study materials around with you, and can study in the library. And if you have group projects, scheduling is a bit more tricky. And it puts a lot of miles on your car - 1000mi/week, for me - plus not everyone likes lots of driving. I actually found it relaxing - *but* I realized when I stopped that it was also a lot of stress, even though I didn't feel it at the time.

 

Your potential commute is shorter than mine by a fair bit, so that will cut down on drive time - but otherwise it's still far enough that the rest applies. Lots of people have commutes that long for their jobs, so it's certainly a viable option - I don't think I'd forbid my dc doing that, but I would point out the downsides. Depending on how hard it is to get into the dorms as a non-freshman (kind of hard of my school, practically impossible at my mom's, easy at my dad's - depends on how much demand exceeds supply), you could always give it a shot and see how it goes.

 

I believe the commute would be about 60 mi. one way. The other reason for the commute and no dorms is it would obviously up how much I'd have to pay to attend school. I'd have to pay room and board, pay for a meal plan, and I believe there are some extra fees that charge to those who live at the dorms. I want to take as little loans out as possible, so hopefully scholarships will cover most of it. I know driving 600 mi./week would cost some serious gas money and maintenance as well, I would be paying little by little, not all at once like I would for dorms, you know? (I know you don't need to pay for dorms all at once, but even the monthly fee would be ridiculous).

 

Thanks for your input :)

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There are a number of considerations:

 

Would you be comfortable with the drive at night? Sometimes classes or study groups meet in the evening hours.

 

How high do you anticipate fuel prices going? It is one thing to anticipate a commute cost at $3 a gallon--another at $4 or higher.

 

Would it be better for you to spend the two hours you would use commuting at an on-campus job?

 

What is the on-campus parking situation like? One of my son's friends commutes to her college. In order to get a parking space reasonably close to campus and to avoid the worst of rush hour traffic, she leaves home at 6:30 AM for her 30 minute commute. If she left 45 minutes later, the drive would take an extra 15 minutes--maybe longer--and she would have to park in a commuter lot and catch the bus into campus, thus being late for her 8 o'clock class. Consider traffic patterns. Is your commute say 60 minutes at all times of the day?

 

What happens when the car breaks down? Do other students live nearby? Is there public transportation?

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Some public universities require freshmen to live on campus if they reside a certain number of miles away, or if they attended particular public schools. Here in Southern California for example, Cal Poly Pomona students who went to a high school about 25 minutes away from the univ. (assuming no traffic, 62 mph, etc.) must live in the dorms first year.

 

Why? Because board is a money maker. The school has evolved into a commuter school and the number of dorms exceeds student demand.

 

So, as always, check with the school.

 

I believe none of them require. There is no mention on there website. Another school around here who does require it has it on their website under tuition, so I'm assuming the other schools would mention it on theirs. Thanks, I'll look into it more.

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I believe the commute would be about 60 mi. one way. The other reason for the commute and no dorms is it would obviously up how much I'd have to pay to attend school. I'd have to pay room and board, pay for a meal plan, and I believe there are some extra fees that charge to those who live at the dorms. I want to take as little loans out as possible, so hopefully scholarships will cover most of it. I know driving 600 mi./week would cost some serious gas money and maintenance as well, I would be paying little by little, not all at once like I would for dorms, you know? (I know you don't need to pay for dorms all at once, but even the monthly fee would be ridiculous).

 

Thanks for your input :)

 

Are you planning on working while you are a student to pay for gas and maintenance?

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There are a number of considerations:

 

Would you be comfortable with the drive at night? Sometimes classes or study groups meet in the evening hours.

 

How high do you anticipate fuel prices going? It is one thing to anticipate a commute cost at $3 a gallon--another at $4 or higher.

 

Would it be better for you to spend the two hours you would use commuting at an on-campus job?

 

What is the on-campus parking situation like? One of my son's friends commutes to her college. In order to get a parking space reasonably close to campus and to avoid the worst of rush hour traffic, she leaves home at 6:30 AM for her 30 minute commute. If she left 45 minutes later, the drive would take an extra 15 minutes--maybe longer--and she would have to park in a commuter lot and catch the bus into campus, thus being late for her 8 o'clock class. Consider traffic patterns. Is your commute say 60 minutes at all times of the day?

 

What happens when the car breaks down? Do other students live nearby? Is there public transportation?

 

These are good questions I'll have to consider. Thanks!

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I'd forgotten about parking. Getting parking on campus was a nightmare, but I was fortunate in that there was an off-campus parking garage that always had open spaces that was only a 10min walk from my classes (closer than most of the on-campus spaces, really), so I didn't have to worry about when I came in (outside of avoiding rush hour). And as a upperclassman, most of my classes were in my major and were in one of two buildings (both of which were close together). My school was huge, though - if it's a small campus, it might not matter so much.

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How involved do you want to be in campus life?

How good of a driver are you

I would not let my dd drive that far, too many risk factors.

 

My dd is a commuter, but we live five minutes and even than if she has to be on campus for mtgs or events, its a nightmare. She doesnt get to enjoy much of the extracurricular living off campus. That leaves her to be an outcast. Many of the cliques and friends live on campus.

 

Just some thoughts.

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From the perspective of a college instructor, I need to point out that commuting students are often at a disadvantage:

For one, the commute takes valuable time out of the day. A student with 18 credit hours can be looking at something like a 60 hour week if he wants to do a good job. The two extra hours in the car really hurt.

Second, the students who drive home usually do not attend tutoring sessions and learning centers, which are often in the evening after classes. So they miss out on those valuable opportunities. If the other students get together in the library till 11pm to finish their homework, you can't participate - or it would hardly be worth driving home afterwards.

I just had a student move into town over the week, after being unsuccessful with his attempt to commute from his home (wife and child) and still do well in school.

 

If you decide to commute, you need to be prepared to:

-drive at night (students often have labs till 8pm)

- drive early in the morning to be on campus in time for an 8am class

- drive in all weather - just because it snowed, your instructor will not cancel class or exams, it will be your responsibility to be there and on time

 

If it was my child, I would not recommend them anything longer than 30 minutes because I see first hand the problems the commuting students have.

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Personally, my boys would live on campus even if their college were 20 minutes away, but I suppose that's mainly because I have a different mindset about the value of independent living while in college.

 

Even in your situation I'm still really unsure I'd go for commuting 60 miles. That's a long way to go twice a day and so many things could go wrong (missed classes for traffic jams, etc).

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I have recently read about co-op living available on some campuses. (This is a group of students who share chores in a house that often has some kind of theme--like vegetarian or energy efficiency. There have been students who are happy campers in these houses even if they are not strict vegetarians, for example.)

 

These living options are often not on the website, so you might want to ask about them. The book I was reading gave the example of a co-op at UCLA that was substantially less expensive then dorm living.

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I would not want my child to commute longer than 30 minutes, and my support of that would depend on their goals for college and their personality.

 

An hour long commute, each way, is possible but gets old quickly. I commuted 45 minutes my freshman year and hated it within a couple months. It took time away from sleep, and while I tried to get involved with other students, most relationship-building happens in the dorms, no matter how hard you try or how many clubs you join. Friends were always planning to do something that I couldn't participate in because I lived too far away. Commuting was cheaper than living in the dorm and paying for a meal plan. Parking was horrible, and if there was bad weather or an accident on the freeway, either I had to leave earlier or I was late for class. that was very difficult when I had a 7:00 am class (I don't recommend that, but I had to do it.) You can't always know ahead of time about traffic caused by accidents. I moved into the dorm second semester and have no regrets. I wished I had done it sooner.

 

One thing that can make a difference is whether the school is primarily residential or commuter. If the college is mostly commuter then living at home and commuting won't be as bad and other students will be in the same place of trying to build relationships in spite of distance. Commuter schools tend not to have a very close knit student body anyway. If the school is primarily a residential school then it could be difficult and inconvenient to get involved if you are not living on campus. Just something to consider.

 

Commute Pros:

 

Cheaper, even when you factor in gas (only one point, but it weights heavily when making the decision)

Food at home, probably cooked and waiting for you

Time with family

You can have a job close to home

Familiar surroundings (study environment, life, etc.)

Practical if your goal is just to get the education and degree (as opposed to wanting a traditional 'college experience')

Probably a quieter study environment

Assuming you have a good family life, you can avoid roommate clashes, dorm parties that last all night when you need to sleep, dirty bathrooms, etc.

 

Commute Cons:

 

A lot of time spent commuting (especially difficult if you have an early morning class or a late evening class)

Parking can be very difficult depending on when you get to school

If you want to be part of study groups you will need to stay late at school, especially on nights before tests or when working on group projects

Commuting an hour is tiring

Friendships are formed by hanging out together, usually in the dorms. You can join clubs, but commute students attending a primarily residential school are at a disadvantage and can have a hard time feeling like they belong at the school and are a part of the student body.

Fun activities often take place at night, so you will have to decide whether to participate and drive home very late, or choose not to participate. How important this is depends on your personality and goals.

 

Commuting can make it hard to schedule classes when also considering a work schedule. What if you have a 9:00 class, then a break until a 3:00 or 4:00 class? You live too far to go home, can't work if your job is close to home, etc. You can go to the library to study during that time, but you don't have as many choices as you would if you lived on campus and worked close to campus. Would you feel stuck?

 

One thing a commute student can do to make life easier is buy a meal card. This way you could still eat lunch or dinner in the cafeteria when you are on campus during meal times, which will probably happen. It will allow you time to hang out with new friends, even if they live on campus, because you can eat together. You may be able to buy a block of 20 or 40 meals that you can use any time you want to. Of course this increases your costs, but being realistic, as a commute student you will be on campus during lunch or dinner sometimes, or you will need to go right to work without time to go home to eat. This allows you to eat in the cafeteria, hopefully with friends, instead of getting fast food while driving.

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From the perspective of a college instructor, I need to point out that commuting students are often at a disadvantage:

For one, the commute takes valuable time out of the day. A student with 18 credit hours can be looking at something like a 60 hour week if he wants to do a good job. The two extra hours in the car really hurt.

Second, the students who drive home usually do not attend tutoring sessions and learning centers, which are often in the evening after classes. So they miss out on those valuable opportunities. If the other students get together in the library till 11pm to finish their homework, you can't participate - or it would hardly be worth driving home afterward.

I just had a student move into town over the week, after being unsuccessful with his attempt to commute from his home (wife and child) and still do well in school.

 

If you decide to commute, you need to be prepared to:

-drive at night (students often have labs till 8pm)

- drive early in the morning to be on campus in time for an 8am class

- drive in all weather - just because it snowed, your instructor will not cancel class or exams, it will be your responsibility to be there and on time

 

If it was my child, I would not recommend them anything longer than 30 minutes because I see first hand the problems the commuting students have.

 

I agree with what everyone else wrote here regarding possible pitfalls, but wanted to address some things regentrude wrote.

 

I commuted 35 miles/45 minutes one way (in light traffic) my junior year. I would not recommend it.

 

*I had an 8-10 pm class, which put me driving that length of time over curvy, mountainous roads around 11:00pm. I can't tell you how many times I drove on "autopilot" as my mind wandered during that long drive. Not good.

 

*After arriving home, I had to 'decompress' before going to sleep around midnight-1:00am, and that was IF I didn't have assignments to complete for other classes.

 

*Then, because I worked full time, I had to get up at 6:00 to be at work-- I quickly became sleep-deprived.

 

*the extra time on the road meant less time for studying (see reg's post above). If I had to do research at the library, it meant an extra trip to school which meant more time/gas lost, because I could never seem to have the energy to 'stop by' on a whim. Group study and group projects were also painful to arrange.

 

*I encountered many traffic-blocking accidents and train stops during that year. I was late a few times because of that.

 

*my college never closed for weather (again, see reg's post above)--- even though it was in the land of frequent tornado warnings and in a city that totally shuts down for a smattering of snow/ice. If I didn't make class, it was an 'absent' as the profs were required to take attendance no matter what.

 

*forgetting something meant you did without. Even if it was a term paper and it was due that day.

 

Over all, I would be skeptical about even a 30 mile commute for all the reasons others mentioned. There is just too much that can go wrong which adds stress.

 

I totally understand about keeping costs down, but I honestly think you would be better off either in a dorm, or off campus with a roomie or two. ESPECIALLY since you are also planning on working. College is tough enough without adding the stress that all those hours on the road cause and take away from sleep/study time.

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If you can drive to campus and spend the day with classes, library time, meals, etc. and drive home - great. Treat it like a job and make a full day of it each day to make it worth the drive/gas. BUT - if you have early a.m. classes and then a night class or evening event you want to attend - that can start making for looong days! And what is the weather like - would you be commuting in snow/downpours several times?

 

It is do-able - but may take a toll on you. Unless you can get all the classes you need on three days a week...but then odds are you will have a lab or two on the day you have no other classes...

 

I think I am talking myself here into saying no commute over 30 - 40 minutes door to door!

 

Oh - I second the parking - when I drove a mere 15 miles to college if I wasn't there by 7:30 the parking was FULL.

 

In grad. school I lived in the grad. dorm but weekends drove 45 miles home to work - that did not last long as I was missing too much of the college experience!!!!

 

OK - coming back to this post a day later, after reading the others - no commute over 20 minutes!!!! If that!!!! Go live in a dorm. This is from someone who attended (ahem) SEVEN colleges and lived in three dorms, two apartments, and commuted from home.

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I would not want my child to commute longer than 30 minutes, and my support of that would depend on their goals for college and their personality.

 

An hour long commute, each way, is possible but gets old quickly. I commuted 45 minutes my freshman year and hated it within a couple months. It took time away from sleep, and while I tried to get involved with other students, most relationship-building happens in the dorms, no matter how hard you try or how many clubs you join. Friends were always planning to do something that I couldn't participate in because I lived too far away. Commuting was cheaper than living in the dorm and paying for a meal plan. Parking was horrible, and if there was bad weather or an accident on the freeway, either I had to leave earlier or I was late for class. that was very difficult when I had a 7:00 am class (I don't recommend that, but I had to do it.) You can't always know ahead of time about traffic caused by accidents. I moved into the dorm second semester and have no regrets. I wished I had done it sooner.

 

One thing that can make a difference is whether the school is primarily residential or commuter. If the college is mostly commuter then living at home and commuting won't be as bad and other students will be in the same place of trying to build relationships in spite of distance. Commuter schools tend not to have a very close knit student body anyway. If the school is primarily a residential school then it could be difficult and inconvenient to get involved if you are not living on campus. Just something to consider.

 

Commute Pros:

 

Cheaper, even when you factor in gas (only one point, but it weights heavily when making the decision)

Food at home, probably cooked and waiting for you

Time with family

You can have a job close to home

Familiar surroundings (study environment, life, etc.)

Practical if your goal is just to get the education and degree (as opposed to wanting a traditional 'college experience')

Probably a quieter study environment

Assuming you have a good family life, you can avoid roommate clashes, dorm parties that last all night when you need to sleep, dirty bathrooms, etc.

 

Commute Cons:

 

A lot of time spent commuting (especially difficult if you have an early morning class or a late evening class)

Parking can be very difficult depending on when you get to school

If you want to be part of study groups you will need to stay late at school, especially on nights before tests or when working on group projects

Commuting an hour is tiring

Friendships are formed by hanging out together, usually in the dorms. You can join clubs, but commute students attending a primarily residential school are at a disadvantage and can have a hard time feeling like they belong at the school and are a part of the student body.

Fun activities often take place at night, so you will have to decide whether to participate and drive home very late, or choose not to participate. How important this is depends on your personality and goals.

 

Commuting can make it hard to schedule classes when also considering a work schedule. What if you have a 9:00 class, then a break until a 3:00 or 4:00 class? You live too far to go home, can't work if your job is close to home, etc. You can go to the library to study during that time, but you don't have as many choices as you would if you lived on campus and worked close to campus. Would you feel stuck?

 

One thing a commute student can do to make life easier is buy a meal card. This way you could still eat lunch or dinner in the cafeteria when you are on campus during meal times, which will probably happen. It will allow you time to hang out with new friends, even if they live on campus, because you can eat together. You may be able to buy a block of 20 or 40 meals that you can use any time you want to. Of course this increases your costs, but being realistic, as a commute student you will be on campus during lunch or dinner sometimes, or you will need to go right to work without time to go home to eat. This allows you to eat in the cafeteria, hopefully with friends, instead of getting fast food while driving.

 

Ah... you posted while I was typing. :D Good info all around, especially about the friendships and the spacing between classes. Before I started working an 8-5 type job, my hours were flexible and I once had an 8:00-9:00am class (the only time that year it was offered!), and a 2:00pm class. No way would it have been beneficial for me to have gone home if I lived so far away. At that time, I lived 20 minutes, so I did go home a few times, but still, the 'lost driving time' ate into my gas money & study/relaxing time so I often stayed on campus.

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Hmm so many options and opinions. There is a local college about 15 miles away that takes 30 min to get to. That college would definitely be a commuter school for me.

 

There is also another college 45 miles away and on good roads it takes about an hour to get to. During the winter it would be a scary drive at times. EEEK

If I wanted/needed to go to school there I would commute that trip as well. It's not a drive I consider long.

 

However.. I'm a driver. I dont mind traveling to go to places. My boys attend a fun science class for homeschoolers in a town 3 hours away. I drive them once a week and we spend 6 hours in the car those days. Now that trip is getting a little old, but my boys love it and it makes it worth the trip... for now.

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Thank you everyone for your opinions and experiences.

 

I'd love where we'd be moving compared to where we live now, but if it means living on campus, it wouldn't make much of a difference. I don't really care for the "college experience" but I still realize that driving 60 min. each way would be hard and probably ridiculous. I'd love to work, but getting a decent job that doesn't interfere with school work and my long term goal with determine whether I actually can work a regular job. Tutoring on campus might be an option, though.

 

My boyfriend lives on campus and both his roommates (one moved to another dorm so he only has one now) both love partying and drinking. He isn't that type of person, but he is laid back and it doesn't bother him that his roommate is in and out all night. I don't think I'd be able to live with that. From what I've heard from many people, the paper with where you mark who you'd like to live with isn't taken into account.

 

If we live that far away, I suppose the only option would be dorm or off-campus apartment though.

 

Thanks, everyone!

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Another option to consider: Is there a family near where you are now that might let you live with them M-Th nights? You could 'pay' in chores or babysitting. Heck, even paying them what you'd spend in gas would put you ahead in time commuting.

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Even if the commute were just 30 minutes, I would want my student to live on-campus the first year. After that, living at home would be fine as long as driving would take no more than 30-40 minutes each way or taking public transport (noncrowded public transport where you could actually work during your ride) no more than 1 hour each way.

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We're not there yet, but we just moved and there are several college options 30-40 minutes away. It's quite possible my ds will end up at one of those colleges and live at home.

 

One thing I've not seen mentioned is how much freedom will be given to you if you decide to commute? I'm not sure how to phrase this as it's 6:30 and I've had no coffee, but will your parents treat you more independently? Will you get to make the decisions if you drive in bad weather, if you are allowed to stay late on campus, etc. Or will they have a harder time allowing you to grow up if you're still living at home. That would factor into my decision as well.

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I had another thought. Colleges really are so different in nature. My son attends a liberal arts college which is 100% residential. The on-campus experience is part of the education. This includes weekly meals with students who have the same major or related majors and faculty. Off campus students could certainly participate in something like this, but if they have a commute and job elsewhere, would they be as inclined? In addition to the regular dorms, many of the students live in communities organized by theme. There are the foreign language dorms, the community service houses, the common interest halls. Students do not necessarily earn credit for these ventures, but they are clearly part of the broadening experience of college.

 

Not every college engages students lives as part of their mission. In fact, some campuses empty out on weekends unless there is a bit sports event. So perhaps the commute consideration should also focus on the philosophy of the college itself.

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I commuted an hour each way for my college. It was either an hour stuck in traffic, or an hour by transit. I chose transit. I could study in the train at least. Or sleep...

 

It did deter from the college experience though. I ended up sleeping over more than a few times. I even slept in a classroom (and I was far from being the only one)

 

If I were you, I would look into the possibility of alternate sleeping arrangements. Maybe you can find a place for a few nights per week, on a regular basis.

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Would it be possible to take a summer school class at the school this year? That way you could test-drive (LOL) your idea. I would advise living at school for at least freshman year so that you can concentrate on your studies and college activities. There will be lots of time in your life ahead for sitting in traffic and commuting, but only a few years to learn what is learnable in a university setting. Also, living on campus would allow you to take advantage of job opportunities and internships, etc. Those will be important in your field. IMO the costs of the commute far outweigh the savings on housing, etc.

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I have recently read about co-op living available on some campuses. (This is a group of students who share chores in a house that often has some kind of theme--like vegetarian or energy efficiency. There have been students who are happy campers in these houses even if they are not strict vegetarians, for example.)

 

These living options are often not on the website, so you might want to ask about them. The book I was reading gave the example of a co-op at UCLA that was substantially less expensive then dorm living.

 

At the colleges my son considered, the housing prices for co-ops were the same as the dorms; however, students in the co-ops could lower their costs because of the full kitchens available to them in their housing. That is, if they wanted to cook. Many colleges require on-campus students to buy some sort of meal plan. For a student in a co-op who enjoys cooking, this could mean a reduced plan, i.e. a bit of savings.

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I lived on-campus, near campus (10 minutes max), and about 12 miles away which turned into a 30-minute drive. That 30-minute drive was too long. I was an older undergrad student age 28-29 and still I would not suggest it unless it was once a week for a Master's degree or something.

 

My DD 18 will be going to college and hopefully to her choice school, which is right here where we live! However, it is on the other side of town and about a 45 minute drive each way. She COULD do it but it would be a hassle for her, and she would never have the feeling of being a part of the college, it would be more like a job for her [Right now she does that at the local CC and she has no joy in being part of the cc, it's just a place she goes to get her assignment].

 

Being up north as you are, I can't imagine doing that drive in the winter.

 

Sometimes you can find alternate living arrangements, cheaply. One year when I was in college I rented a room in a retired-woman's house. It was incredibly cheap, the equivalent now of about $60 a week. Cheaper than the gas you'd be paying.

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Some public universities require freshmen to live on campus if they reside a certain number of miles away, or if they attended particular public schools. Here in Southern California for example, Cal Poly Pomona students who went to a high school about 25 minutes away from the univ. (assuming no traffic, 62 mph, etc.) must live in the dorms first year.

 

Why? Because board is a money maker. The school has evolved into a commuter school and the number of dorms exceeds student demand.

 

So, as always, check with the school.

 

:iagree:Ds' school has a rule like this too. I think it's 45 miles for traditional (under 21, not married, not military) freshman and sophomores. I really don't think it has to do with money at his school though. It is harder to be a part of things beyond just going to class if you live too far away. And most of his groups for group projects meet after dinner.

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I would consider an hour acceptable if it was mostly highway. Much more than that though, and I'd be checking out the dorm situation.

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None. I've seen the difference between commuting and living on campus, and I want my dd to be on campus. Hopefully, she'll choose a college that fosters good values, but even if she doesn't, I think it's important to leave home. YMMV.

 

Not everyone "parties." Yep, it's prevalent, but it doesn't have to be your dorm experience. If you absolutely don't have a roommate before you go (you don't know anyone going to the same school that you can request as a roomie), try to meet girls during orientation who share your values. I seem to remember you are a Christian, so you can look for girls thru parachurch or other organizations who might be interested in rooming together.

 

You can probably find a job on campus--traditionally, the cafeteria is the one place that's "always hiring!" LOL Also, there are usually babysitting jobs that are advertised at the campus job place. Trust me, you'll be able to find something to supplement your income. If you are on campus without a commute, that money can go to lowering expenses instead of to gas and car maintenance. (Of course, sometimes it's better to have a car on campus if you are going to work--it's all a trade-off.)

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Also, check on parking prices at the universities that you are considering. My oldest dd was in a grad program and driving and parking on campus was discouraged with an $11.00 daily parking price. She took the bus to the university.

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I lived off-campus while attending a mostly residential private college. My commute was apx 30 minutes in good weather/traffic. I don't know what my experience would have been had I lived in the dorms, but I never felt like an outsider.... I was active in clubs, was a cheerleader, and had plenty of friends. I had a part time job off-campus, and had friends thru my job too. Overall it was a good experience. You have to decide what works best for you! =)

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I would not feel comfortable with my daughter commuting an hour each way. Maybe if it were on a train, where she could sleep or study, I would consider it. But for her to drive herself - no. Too many risks, late nights, snowy roads... No, no, no. Sorry!

 

I liked other ideas, however. Maybe you could find a room to rent in town, where they'd let you stay Monday - Friday, or something like that. A home with a family. You could offer to do some light housekeeping for reduced rent, or something like that. Even if you didn't do anything, I would think renting a small room in a home with access to a kitchen would be far cheaper than living in the dorm and having a meal plan.

 

My own daughter lived on campus for her first semester (not because she wanted to, but circumstances required it). Now she is living off campus at her grandmother's house -- only two miles or so away. She realizes that living on-campus helped her meet people and learn the ropes of the school, so now as an off-campus student she doesn't feel like an outsider. She is really happy, though, to be living off-campus now.

 

I only bring that up to say that perhaps you could live on-campus just that first semester, so that you could meet kids and get to know the school and the community. It would also give you the opportunity to find alternative housing for the rest of your time at school, such as lodging with a family.

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Dd commutes and it is 50 minutes from here. When she is on a twelve hour ambulance shift or eight hour ER shift for her practicum, she quite often drives after being up a long time. I try not to worry about because it can't be avoided.

 

There are a lot of variables.

 

For what it is worth, my first roomate in college was an absolute disaster. She partied constantly and the housing director refused to move her so I couldn't study in my own room. Since I was a music major and spent 4 hours per day in the practice rooms, this meant I needed to work in the evenings after the library closed but with a roomate that was going to be going wild and have 10 people in our room every single night, I had to find other places to hide out. I would have been glad to be commuting.

 

So, it is always good to check out the housing options, the housing policies, and HOW TO GET RID OF A DRUNK PARTIER LIVING IN MY DORM ROOM before committing to campus life.

 

The second year was wonderful. We were able to choose our roomates and mine was a close friend. But, she had a family tragedy occur during the first week of school and had to leave. The housing director had already made all of the assignments and so no one was moved into the room. Wonderful! Wonderful! All of the perks of living in the dorm, all the quiet of my own place!

 

Faith

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Thank you everyone for your view points.

 

Even if we don't move, I might look into living on campus.

 

It is just the costs are a killer. One college is $11,000 for room and board, plus the meal plan. I'm a very private person; I hate having my area intruded on. But, it may just be something I have to get over.

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One of the extremely nice bonuses of the school my dd is going to in the fall is that all dorm rooms are individual. They are set up in 3-bedroom suites, but each bedroom in the suite is single-occupancy. The prices really aren't bad either. Room and board with an unlimited meal plan runs about $8700.

 

http://www.utdallas.edu/residencehall/suite/

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One of the extremely nice bonuses of the school my dd is going to in the fall is that all dorm rooms are individual. They are set up in 3-bedroom suites, but each bedroom in the suite is single-occupancy. The prices really aren't bad either. Room and board with an unlimited meal plan runs about $8700.

 

http://www.utdallas.edu/residencehall/suite/

 

I think I saw this link on these boards awhile back and was really jealous :tongue_smilie:

 

If I lived anywhere near there, I'd be applying :)

 

One college I'm applying to (#1) is an all girls college and from their website, I can't tell how many residents in each room. There about 200 rooms and they're all 12' by 15' or 14' 8'' by 12'. I'm assuming 2 or three a room. Their site says they have 600 undergrads on campus, so that'd be 3 a room.

 

My number 2 college has single rooms, double rooms, and triple rooms. They also have apartments for Juniors and up. This college would be my number 1, but it is in a really unsafe part of town. Someone was just held up to weeks ago in their own dorm room for a bag of fruit snacks :001_huh: (I wish I was lying.)

 

My number 3 school offers single, double, single in a double room (if available), off campus housing (Seniors) and married couple housing.

 

I'd love single but my number 2 college offers single for about $4000.00 and my number 3 offers it for about $3050.00 so it doesn't seem like an option.

 

My number one college does have a 24-hour computer lab though, so if I was put with a roommate or two I disliked, at least I know I'd have somewhere to do my work in quiet.

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i commuted 1 hour+ to my university one way. it wasnt bad at all when i only had class three days a week until my last semester when i had class everyday. and the semester i had class everyday 3 days out of the week i came up to campus for only one class. however i didnt have time really to commit to like extra currics; like i wish i had done undergrad research. theres pros & cons to it, i dont think i wouldve liked the idea of having some random roomate. and the commute was tiring when class was everyday it was a pain but i guess its doable. i would advise to schedule classes to no more than three days a week if your taking a full load of classes. i mean if your worried about meeting people just get to know the people in your class. if your worried about time lost while spent in car, for some classes i recorded the teachers lectures and it helped a lot with studying i listened to them on my drive. this really didnt work for any of my math or phyics classes tho. you should try it for a semester instead of blowing a **** load of money on a 1-year lease for a dorm. if it doesnt work out for a semester then try a dorm.

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My ds had a roommate last year as a freshman who petitioned to be allowed to commute this year. He lives an hour from the college. He will save close to nine thousand dollars in room/board fees. Gas and car maintenance will be far less.

 

Since it is a rural area, he most likely won't have to worry about traffic.

 

When I was in school, in Southern California, a 15-minute freeway drive could be over an hour-long depending on the time of day. I only commuted for community college, and the three semesters I went to the local LAC my mom worked at (free tuition). Had roommates at SFSU, UCLA, NU (single rooms NU, sharing a small kitchen and bathroom.)

 

It will all depend on how much you would save living at home vs. dorm expenses, whether the college will let you commute, and potential traffic jams in your area. Also - how likely are you to want to stay on campus for a social life, or to use the library, etc. in the evenings. How comfortable are you driving home in the dark to sleep and drive back for an early class the next day? As a lowly freshman you can't assume you will be able to get all your courses scheduled on less than five days. If you will also have to fit in lab times for science courses....

 

PS - We are splitting the difference in cost between a double dorm room and the single ds was lucky to get for this year with him. Since his first-year roomie, another quiet dude, will be commuting, and ds has a heavy schedule this year (Organic Chem and Cell Bio, etc.) we want to make sure he has a quiet room. Well, quiet-ish (the room is next to the stairs ;-) )

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We are 35 miles from my dd's college, and during commuting hours she'd have to allow more than an hour to get there. After considering the dangers of her being on the highway every day, and doing the math on commuting costs versus dorm, we decided to have her live on campus.

 

The commuting costs we figured in were gas, a 5-meal caf plan, a parking pass, and a small amount for wear & tear on the car. It came to only about $1500/year less than the cost of living on campus. And that's before we buy her a car! After factoring in the cost of a car, it would be way more expensive for her to commute than to live on campus.

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My parents said 30 minutes max. for commuting to campus, other than that I will be living on campus because in the end it will save me a lot of money and time. I also plan on being very involved with on-campus activities and my classes, I am paying for the college so I want to get the most out of it and not feel like I am rushing home and to school all the time!

 

If you plan on being involves on campus, then live on campus, and don't forget the gas prices that are always climbing higher and higher. Driving at night can be a problem if you don't like it either, I know I don't so there will be no way I am doing this!

 

Carefully consider all options, I will have to live on campus for my first year because every school that I will be applying to requires it, which isn't too bad.:glare:

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I decided living on campus would be best.

 

First off, price of a reliable car to drive. Then there's the gas and the unexpected repairs that will inevitably pop up. Also, the insurance.

 

Also because I would like to be involved in sports/clubs and it would be nice to be able to use the library there at night and always have a reliable computer and printer to use.

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Your family moving to an area out of the city sounds like a really nice change. :) But I also wouldn't suggest such a long commute. I'd look into different options. You may be able to find a situation near to the school where you could get free room and board in exchange for light housekeeping, babysitting, light caring for a single senior, etc.. I know you want to care for your mom, but with such a long drive, you wouldn't have much time for her during the week anyway. Maybe you could arrange to go home for weekends and you can help out there then. You might also ask at the college if there are any opportunities to work in exchange for a free room - I know they do that for RAs, but they are usually at least sophomores. 120 miles a day is a looooong commute.

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Having just come back from Freshman orientation, I'd suggest not driving more than 30 mins for a commute. There's just so many opportunities available on campus for study groups, tutoring (either giving or receiving), etc. to be too far from campus. Since they know most "kids" consider 9am the crack of dawn, they accommodate by having many group things in the evening. Also, that late night in the library plus a long drive home is dangerous!

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I decided living on campus would be best.

 

First off, price of a reliable car to drive. Then there's the gas and the unexpected repairs that will inevitably pop up. Also, the insurance.

 

Also because I would like to be involved in sports/clubs and it would be nice to be able to use the library there at night and always have a reliable computer and printer to use.

 

This is a wise choice and you can always visit your mom because you won't be that far away, which is a big plus. I am going to be living on campus as well, but my parents want to move so I am not so sure where we will be in the next year or two.

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