College Dorms vs. Home


One of the most important decisions for incoming college freshmen is deciding where to live. Students attending a university close to home may choose to continue living at home while commuting to campus, while others may opt for the more traditional college experience that on-campus living provides. A student should consider the benefits of each living option before making a decision, because the living environment can impact academic performance.

Dorms: Convenient

  • Living on campus puts you close to classes, offices and services such as the library, tutoring labs and dining halls. On-campus residents also benefit from live-in staff members such as hall directors and resident assistants who are trained to help guide and mentor students.

Dorms: Personal Growth

  • Dormitories offer residents the chance to learn through living. While sharing a living space, students learn the value of compromise, respect and responsibility. The living environment also allows students to form connections with residents from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities facilitating an appreciation of those differences. Residents tend to be more involved in student organizations and participate in more campus events than students who live off campus. The interaction and camaraderie provides support and community necessary for freshmen to feel a part of the larger campus environment. According to the American Council on Education, living on campus allows students to feel connected to the university, facilitates higher GPAs and increases the chance they will ultimately graduate.

Home: Saves Money

  • While living in a dormitory can offer a positive student experience, living at home while commuting to campus may be a better option for some students. Dormitory living can be expensive especially when students can continue to live at home at no cost. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average in-state cost for tuition and fees is $8,655, at the time of publication, with an additional $9,205 in room and board charges. Students at private institutions can expect to pay tuition and fees of $29,056, at the time of publication, with an additional $10,462 for room and board.

Home: Stability and Support

  • Some students may not be ready for the responsibility that comes with moving away from home. These students may benefit from the stability of their home and the support of their family. The costs of living on campus -- in addition to required tuition and book expenses -- may be too big of a burden for some families. Living at home may provide enough savings to make the difference between a student attending college -- or dropping out.

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