You have just been accepted to University, your excitement is bubbling, nervous about what’s to come, thinking about university, Live at Home or Stay in the Dorms, tough choice. Many will opt to live at the Dorms, Freedom at last, away from Parents, siblings, the crowded house, always having to share a bathroom.
Remember when I first got accepted to a University, I received a room and board scholarship, because the university was 700 miles away, so of course I would live in the Dorms, but had I lived near my college or university I think I would have opted to stay home despite the craziness of living at home, the lack of privacy, still feeling like you haven’t fully grown up, consider it.
The Tough Choice Ahead
For those going to college hundreds or thousands miles away well yes, then you will need to live in the dorms, but all too often we choose colleges that are close to home within 40 miles, not close enough to go home for lunch, but far enough where you can drive and still sleep in your own bed every night. Growing up in Los Angeles, a slew of colleges nearby within 20 miles, but I hear all too often students opt to live at college.
It’s understandable you want the experience, the college life, the party’s, the ability to walk 50 yards to your dorm and have everything there. Like I mentioned having lived in dorms myself, I have the mess hall, the library, classrooms, offices and everything I would need there. Sounds convenient right? Well it is but it comes at a cost, I will repeat the convenience comes at a cost that may not be worth to you.
Living at home while in college is a huge money saver, savings you literally thousands of dollars over the course the average time in college, costing anywhere from $8,000 to $13,000 per year, that would be at a top cost of $52,000, but depending on the college or university especially if it’s Ivy League can cost much more, that of course doesn’t include tuition, board, books, fees and other costs.
Living at Home keeps your expenses at the lowest possible, really only focusing on the costs of tuition, books, fee and anything else related to your education only.
Food is probably the next biggest expense, especially at college, living at the dorms can be especially expensive which includes boarding costs, ranging anywhere from $6 to 10 thousand per year, yeah we need to eat, unless you want to live on Raman noodles five days a week, which many of you may say well that is fine, I can do that, more power to you, but many of us cannot do that. Living at home gives you the ability to eat a somewhat normal balance meal on the cheap.
Some of you may be wanting to live in the dorms for other reasons other than education, like trying to get away from volatile family environments and in those cases, I completely understand where living at the dorms and the additional cost may be worth the peace of mind. For those who have good family support systems, this is one of the areas, I strongly suggest thinking about because the family can be huge support to you emotionally, mentally and even physically. I personally didn’t have a strong support system going to college. Yes, my parents felt proud of me going to college, but when it came to emotional support when I was going through the difficult seasons, I didn’t have the support I need to push forward at a time.
You can’t really put a price on family support, because you will know on that day you graduated, many times you will thank your family for supporting your dreams, working with you all those years to get you to finish and most importantly encouragement.
Some of us have no issues seeing the same classmates every day, living in the dorms, seeing your roommate if you have one but living home, you have the ability to leave that environment. Many will see the college is a lot like a job, sometimes you need to get away, not be around the campus can feel almost like a prison at times. Living at home gives you the ability to have two separate lives a college life and a home life.
Living at home would require you commute each day from home to college, which depending on where you college is, can be 10 miles or 40 miles away, so really take that in consideration when deciding to Live on campus or at home, it’s a lot like when we choose to work for a company depending on where that company is. On one hand, you would be spending more money on gas, car repairs and maintenance.
I was definitely a commuter, my college after I decided to leave my first college closer to home, I drove about 25 miles and I had an older car, a leaky older car that broke down and was a real gas guzzler so that dipped into my pocket each time. Compared to living in the dorms, I hardly left campus, my car just sat in the parking lot. In addition, there is usually a cost to parking your car at college, so there is always a cost no matter what, it just depends on what costs you’re comfortable with going to college.
Lack of Involvement
Living at dorms gives you a better opportunity to be involved in college life, Sororities and fraternities, Student activism, clubs, the lists goes on. Now to say that you can’t be involved in these types of activities, but living at home can limit how much time you can spend off-campus always worrying about getting home and still being your family.
Lack of independence
This is probably one of the biggest reasons many decide to live in the dorms, lack of independence because realistically it can be difficult to have independence when grandmother wants to take her to drug store or dad needs to help the garage.
I had this growing up and living at home, although I love my family, I was constantly being interrupted to help them when I had my own life. Joseph can you do this and that, clean your room, or can you take me here, it was exhausting and frustrating at times.
Living at home, you are under the rules of those who live with such as parents, be home at this time, and you don’t get to make your own decisions at times. Living at home deprives you of that while living in the dorms allows you to learn to be on your own.
Do College your Way
It’s important to remember to weigh the options of living at home versus living in the Dorms, yes there can be a high cost to living at the Dorms, but your mental and physical health are also important. We as people have to weigh if the cost is worth it. For me, I think I would have preferred living in the dorms, but the cost for me was unattainable. My home life was not the best, but it was manageable where I could go and leave like I wanted and had some freedom, but I still had to go a home that wasn’t always stable.
It’s important to communicate with those in your life that you trust to help make your decision, but ultimately it’s yours to make. If the cost is not an issue then go live at the dorms, if you on a budget and wish to stretch out your finances, living at home may be the best option. In many cases, your family may want you to live at home for their own reason, but make sure you follow your reasons to Live in the dorms or at Home.
There are Pros and Cons
The tough choice ahead is your’s so I know it may be difficult, to best prepare you, know what kind of budget you are working with if you have family financial support. Students who are essentially on your own with no family financial support, think about your financial future, especially if you have student loans.
Be patient in your new adult decisions, it can a daunting task, feeling overwhelmed, know ultimately no decision is final trying living at the dorms for a term, see if you like it and if not home could be the best option to finishing out your college career.