As college students continue to adjust to new economic realities, many are now considering living at home during college. Whether for just a semester or the whole four years, living at home can offer a host of benefits if executed correctly.
First, it should be noted that if the dorm experience is truly important for a student, they should try to find a way to make it a reality. Many a lifelong memory is made in the halls of a college dormitory; those who miss out may regret it for years to come.
However, the traditional college experience is certainly not for everyone. Not all students relish the thought of a creaky twin bed, a moldy shower, and a complete stranger sleeping and snoring just a few feet away. While colleges now offer a wide variety of living arrangements, most of them are quite pricey. Living at home is (usually) free (for a while), and thus students for whom finances are an issue should at least consider it.
When students and parents sit down and scrutinize the contents of the college tuition bill, they’re often surprised to discover the true cost of a dorm room. When their costs are broken-down month to month, most dorms are far more expensive than the priciest apartment in any college town. With apartments, of course, one always has the option of splitting costs with a roommate. Dorms, on the other hand, have the downside of built-in, non-discount-producing roommates. Moreover, unlike apartment roommates, dorm roomies are often randomly-selected and accompanied by a host of annoying habits. Living at home, in addition to being completely free, is also free of strangers and their assorted tics.
Besides the obvious financial rewards, living at home is also a good way to ease the inherent stress of college life. Attending college for the first time is a huge adjustment, but living at home wipes part of that stress away. Students can thus transition into college, rather than experiencing the boot camp of the first few weeks in a dorm. Students also benefit from having mom and dad close by, as all sorts of problems are bound to crop up freshman year. While students should avoid leaning on their family too much, those who live at home are undoubtedly helped by a built-in support system.
As with any aspect of college, living at home is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Students who consider it should carefully consider all of their options, before deciding on what is most likely to lead to long-term gratification. More money and less stress are tremendous advantages both during and after school, so students should focus on these benefits in particular before making a final decision.