Tips For Off-Campus Students Commuting To College

Posted on August 18th, 2017

Living off-campus and commuting to college can be a great way to save on college costs.

But it’s not always the most ideal for making new friends. One of the downsides of commuting is missing out on the college dorm experience, which facilitates many friendships.

Commuting also comes with some expenses and inconveniences, such as dealing with traffic, extra time spent in the car and transportation costs.

Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to make friends even if you’re not living on campus and reduce the hassle and expense of commuting to college.

We’ve put together a list of tips on making commuting to college easier. Check them out below.

How To Make Commuting To College Better

  • Join clubs, intramural sports and student groups. You don’t have to live in a dorm to make friends. Getting involved on campus gives you many opportunities to make friends with like-minded people and can help you feel more at home, even without living at college.
  • Get a job on campus. Not only will getting a job help offset transportation costs, it will provide another opportunity to make connections with classmates. Consider working at the campus dining hall–many offer free meals to workers, which is especially convenient if you’re not on a campus meal plan.
  • Find someone to carpool with. Driving by yourself and dealing with traffic every day can be draining. Finding someone to carpool with is a great way to make the drive go faster, and splitting the cost of gas and/or parking can help you reduce your expenses. If the other person has a car, you can also take turns driving to school.
college commuter student

Commuting to college comes with some challenges, but it can save you a lot of money compared to living on campus.

  • Listen to textbooks on tape while in the car. There are many options now for listening to textbooks or lectures through your phone while commuting. Take advantage of the time spent in the car by getting some studying or classwork in.
  • If possible, take public transportation or use a ride-sharing service. While these expenses can add up, you can avoid the cost of parking and dealing with traffic and get some additional time to study or sleep on days when you really need it.
  • Pack snacks and meals to eat on the go. When you don’t live on campus and don’t have a dining plan, eating between classes can be difficult and inconvenient. Pack a healthy lunch in a cooler bag and keep your car stocked with snacks like granola bars, nuts and water to avoid going hungry between classes or being forced to visit a drive-thru.
  • Keep a change of clothes in the car. Keep athletic clothing in your car if you like to hit the campus gym between classes, and pack some nicer clothes so you can go out with friends after class without having to drive all the way back to your house.
  • Make friends with someone who lives in a dorm. They can help you stay updated on campus events, and hanging out in their residence hall will give you more of the dorm experience. If you can keep some essentials in their room, even better.
  • Keep an umbrella, snow brush and car toolkit in the car. Be prepared for changes in weather and avoid letting a car issue keep you from making it to class on time.
  • Invite friends over to your place. Every college student loves getting off campus for a change of pace. Host dinners, parties or study sessions in your house to stay connected with friends.
  • Take advantage of on-campus common spaces when not in class. Sneak a nap in at the campus lounge, meet new friends in the rec center, use the gym showers to freshen up and head to the library to get work done between classes.

What other tips for college commuters do you have? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter.


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Category: College Costs

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