If you’re like many students, college is the first time you will be living away from your family. You might be excited about going to college, but also a bit nervous about moving away from home. As the Director of Residence Life, I can tell you that’s very normal!
While your academics will be the cornerstone of what you gain from college, you’ll also learn from a variety of real-life experiences, including living on your own. You’ll gain greater independence, acquire practical skills, strengthen your communication skills, and learn how to live within a community – all valuable knowledge that will serve you well even after you graduate.
One question I am often asked is why students should live on campus, rather than in an apartment or with a family member who lives nearby? In fact, there are a number of benefits of living on campus:
You’ll be closer to your classes, avoid issues with traffic, and be near campus resources such as the learning center, library, and dining hall.
Living on campus makes it easier to get involved – and research shows that it’s key to making friends and finding your place at college.
College room and board fees often cover room rent, utilities, and more. For example, at Meredith, our fees cover laundry machine use, a meal plan, and access to the campus health center. And students can use the College’s fitness center, which provides all the benefits of a gym membership at no extra cost. Also, your college is your landlord. Many off-campus apartment complexes change ownership or management, which can cause headaches for you.
Getting together for studying or class projects is easier. You’ll also learn about different personalities and cultural backgrounds, which will help you in your future workplace because employers have come to expect global and intercultural fluency.
Living on campus also allows you to access a broader support system, including residence life staff. At Meredith, to support our students as they transition from living at home to living on campus, every first-year residence hall has a full-time residence director and resident assistants on each floor. These staff members are trained to help students connect with others in their building and across campus.
Along with all these benefits, living on campus is just plain fun!
One final word of advice: when visiting campuses during your college search, be sure to check the campus’ residency requirement. Many institutions of higher education have a residency requirement stating how long a newly enrolled student is required to live on campus, or the school may set a limit on how far a student is permitted to commute to campus.
Where you decide to live will definitely help shape your college experience, so consider some of these additional benefits when you’re weighing the best choice for you.