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By Ajay Kumar Raja


After the elation of being accepted to college subsides, practical concerns can arise. For some, living in dorms is the obvious (and perhaps even compulsory) choice but not everyone will find college dorms to their taste. Today, there are so many residential choices for students, from dorms to apartments off-campus to living and traveling from home or a relative’s pad. Many times, the final decision on whether or not to be a commuter student will depend on financial and socio-emotional situations.

For me, being a commuter student was the more viable option but it isn’t without its cons:



  • Reduced cost: if you already live near your college’s campus and can travel from home, then you needn’t pay the additional cost of living in dorms.
  • Safety: College dorms are often rife with drinking, drugs, and disease. It can be safer to live at home or in a less-heavily populated building.
  • Age: for students like myself who are under 16 and going to a very urban, high-crime area campus, it is often a good idea to stay off-campus. As long as there is a reliable source of transport to and from campus, younger commuter students can enjoy a sense of safety and security by living at home or with a relative.



  • Difficulty with social integration: Commuter students, especially those who live by themselves or with parents, often have difficulty making friends on campus. It can be harder to connect with your fellow students if you do not live, work, and eat with them day in and out.
  • Special events: Many events are often held in or around the campus in the evenings or weekends, so commuter students may have to miss them. Also, commuter students may have to leave campus immediately after their classes to catch a ride home, making it harder to attend these events.
  • Transportation: If commuting between the residence and campus is difficult or costly, if the weather is unpredictable, if parking is unsafe or ridiculously expensive, or you don’t drive and the thought of lugging all your books and materials daily is overwhelming, it may make practical sense to live on campus instead.


The choice on whether or not to commute to campus may be difficult to make and it’s wise to spend some time identifying the arguments for and against. Once you have decided, it helps to know that you will be able to revisit the choice every semester or at least every year.

Should you stay in dorms or commute? Reach out to The Homeschoolist for ideas.


Ajay is a fully homeschooled math lover who is currently, a rising sophomore at a top research university, majoring in pure mathematics. Learn more about Ajay at