By Kelsey Corley, Student Editor of The Kayseean
Whether to live on or off-campus is one of the biggest questions students face at the start of each year. For many, the decision is an easy one, either due to distance from the school or transportation options. For those still contemplating, it’s important to weigh each option individually.
Benefits of Commuting: 79% of King students currently opt to commute to campus. Some of the benefits that commuter students observe include never having to leave family, pets, and all the other comforts of home. Commuters typically have more freedom as they must have transportation and are thus never bound to campus. More recently, commuters have a much easier transition in and out of quarantine; should it be necessary, all they have to do is simply not leave home. Not the least of the advantages of commuting, though, is saving money as on-campus room and board can cost over $9,000 each school year.
Drawbacks of Commuting: When comparing costs, however, you should take into account how far away you would live, gas prices, car maintenance, and any possible rent that you would pay to live off-campus. With all of these factors in play, residency might be the cheaper option for some individuals. An additional element to consider is the commute time’s opportunity cost, which can be unpredictable due to traffic conditions or weather. If you spend an hour in total commuting back and forth from campus, you begin to wonder how else you could spend that time. Other common, though perhaps lesser, criticisms of commuting are limited things to do in between classes and feeling isolated from the rest of campus, as they see fewer opportunities to meet people and get involved.
Benefits of Residency: The most apparent benefit of residency is the accessibility of everything on campus. Those who chose to live on campus don’t need to worry over early morning commutes or about forgetting something important at home. They have near-constant access to the entirety of the campus and all of its facilities. Resident students are more likely to meet more people and make longer-lasting connections; nearly 50% of residents find that living on campus makes them more involved and interactive with the student body.
More advantages of ling on-campus are the convenience of the dining hall and having a private place to go in between classes. And while commuters may have a car, residents have the freedom of independence from parents or guardians. Some studies also suggest that students living in the structured environment of a residence hall tend to do better academically and accumulate more class credits than their commuter counterparts.
Drawbacks of Residency: This structured environment can be offset by some of the drawbacks of resident life. Some such disadvantages include small dorm rooms, difficult roommates, rowdy neighbors, the cost as mentioned earlier of campus housing, and all the stress that those situations may cause. For now, residents also face a higher risk of being exposed to Covid-19, as they live in close quarters with many other people.
There isn’t one living situation that will work for everyone, so it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of commuting and living on campus to find out what works best for you.
Further information for commuter policies at King can be found at https://www.king.edu/student-life/resources-for-students/commuter-students/commuter-student-policy/, and information of residence life can be found at https://www.king.edu/student-life/frequently-asked-questions/residence-life/.