I have been able to experience living on-campus in a dorm and apartment, as well as living at home while attending college, and there is definitely a different dynamic between the two.

Sometimes I think living at home is better, and other times I miss being on campus. There are pros and cons to either situation.

1. Roommates

Living with your family vs. living with your friends is very different. With your friends you can stay up until two in the morning, but at home you don't have anyone your age that is working on assignments or is still hyped up on caffeine. Family on the other hand have early mornings, so they don't usually stay up past eleven.

2. Food Budget

I don't have to go out and buy my own groceries now that I am commuting from home, but when I lived an hour away I had to make sure to take the time to make it over to the store in order to stock up for the week. It saves a bit of time and money living at home, but without going to the store yourself there can also be the problem of not having foods you like.

3. Diet

Home cooked meals? Yes please! It's nice not having to make food sometimes. It's also nice not to have to eat Ramen all the time because you're too busy doing everything else. Being at home also gives you the opportunity to cook whenever you want. Feel like making cupcakes? Good thing you're home where there are mixing bowls, mixers, and all the necessary baking supplies.

4. Bills

This takes a substantial cost off of your tuition bill. Not having to pay for housing means that you can spend that money on other classes and necessary things throughout the year.

5. Parking

On campus you need to have a parking pass, but at home you can park for free. The only thing you need as a commuter is a pass to park on campus for part of the day or to go to a ramp, rather than having to pay to keep your car there for a whole semester.

6. Curfew

Being on your own, even if it is with a couple roommates, means you can come and go as you please. At home your parents want to know where you're going and when you'll be back. It makes it difficult to stay out later since you don't want to wake them up, and you also can't have anyone over late/early to avoid grumpy adults in the morning.

7. Household Dynamic

With friends you figure out a schedule. You know how busy life is, and if someone can't get to cleaning the living room that day you aren't going to kick them out. At home, however, they expect whatever they ask you to do to be done pronto. They don't seem to understand that homework can't always wait, especially if it has already been waiting until the day before to be completed.

8. Study Environment

Studying at home isn't always the easiest, especially when you are trying to take an online quiz and people keep knocking on your door to ask you questions. Going to a coffee shop or another location where you can work uninterrupted is good in either of these living situations, however while living on campus, walking to the library is always a good option.

9. Sleeping

Since parents go to bed early, it makes staying up late difficult. Living on campus on the other hand, there is usually someone interested in staying up to finish another assignment or just talk with you.

10. Friends

You are a room away versus being a ten minute drive from someone to hang out with. This is good and bad when it's three in the morning and your next-door neighbor wants to go get burgers, and you would rather have food than finish your paper due later that day.

11. Personal Space

Having your own room at home is great, but sometimes it's nice to have the company. Who are you supposed to have movie night with when there isn't someone sleeping five feet away?

12. On-Campus Activities

Walking out the door and going over to the cafe or the academic buildings is much easier when you live closer to them. Having to go back and forth becomes a chore at times, especially if there isn't anything do for the couple hour break between classes or events.

13. Clothing

Having your whole wardrobe and your siblings at your disposal is nice. You don't have to worry about forgetting something at home on your way back to school after a long weekend. Living with other people who aren't family is also nice because their wardrobes can also be at your disposal.

14. Appointments/Getting Sick

Trying to find a doctor in a different city or keeping the one from home and setting up appointments can prove to be difficult. Getting sick also isn't fun, because no one wants to be too far away from home when you need someone to make you a can of chicken noodle soup while you're lying in bed with a fever.

15. Work

For me, going to work is less difficult from home. The commute is ten minutes shorter here than it was while I was in Grand Rapids, which gives me more time to focus on studies and sleep in if I have to work early.

16. Pets

On campus housing doesn't let you have pets without a good reason (unless it is a fish), but living at home, you get to have all the furry companions you want, or rather, as many as you can talk your parents into letting you get.


There are things you will like and not like about any living situation, and each person prefers something different. I don't know which I would choose half the time. I think that the best thing to do is just do what you need to do, and what will be most beneficial in your situation. There isn't a bad choice, just one that may be more appealing than the other.