Mapping Your Future: To be or not to be a resident of the dorms


To be or not to be a resident of the dorms

By Catherine Mueller

April 02, 2018

As a college student, you face many decisions that can affect the rest of your life.

Some of the important decisions you will be making include selecting a college, choosing a program of study, and deciding where to live. Deciding where to live may not seem like a big decision compared to the myriad of other decisions you are making right now. However, deciding whether you live in the dorms or choose to be a commuter student may be just as crucial to your success as other decisions about your college education.

In some cases, the decision about living on campus or off is one made for you. You may be attending a school or college that doesn't have any dorms; you may choose to live off campus because of the cost; or you may have to live on campus as part of the college's requirement for all freshmen.

If you are making a decision, here are some factors to consider:

  • Participating in campus activities. If you want to be active in campus functions, living off-campus can make that a challenge.
  • Sharing the college experience. If you want to make new friends – those who understand what you are experiencing as a new college student – the best way to do that is to live in a dorm.
  • Aligning living arrangement with your personality. Living off campus can make you feel a little bit like an outsider looking in, or you may feel that living on campus is constraining and limits your independence.

Deciding where to live may seem unimportant to your education, and true research in the area, indicates mixed findings. Some studies report that students who live off campus (commuter students) are less engaged and are less likely to complete their education. While other studies report findings that both on-campus and commuter students do well if their program of study is academically challenging.

When it comes to choosing living in the dorms or to commuting to campus, neither decision is bad. It's important that you choose a living arrangement that best fits your needs and personality and will enable you to succeed in college.