There is so much to think about when you are preparing to send your young adult children to college. Whether they are out of the state, in-state or local, there is a lot of planning involved. Both of our daughters attend college locally at the University of South Carolina, and commute back and forth. It was a united family decision that they both live at home at least for the first two years of college. It has been about 3 years now since my older daughter, Chardonnay started at USC and it has worked out with the commuting aside from the complaints of early wake-up times, traffic, or simply feelings of 'not wanting to drive today'. I've shared those feelings of not wanting to drive for many years (carpool pick-ups/drop-offs, sports, after-school activities, and more).
I asked Chardonnay to give me her personal list of pros and cons of living on campus vs off and here is what she came up with.
Pros of living on campus:
• Easy access to everything on campus, easier to get involved
• Easier to make friends because you have roommate, suitemates, people on your hall
• You can wake up 30 minutes before class starts and still be on time
• Don’t have to deal with traffic
Cons of living on campus:
• Might not have a car, so you might feel as if you’re stuck on campus
• More expensive to live on campus (cost of housing, meal plan, etc.)
• Limited meal options because of meal plans
• Not much privacy
Pros of living off campus:
• More privacy and independence (depending on where you live)
• Home-cooked meals
Cons of living off campus:
• Have to get up much earlier to get to campus on time
• You can feel disconnected from campus
• Not as easy to make friends
• Spend more on gas
• Feeling of missing out
As a parent, I think that being there for your new college student both emotionally and physically are key to helping them make that transition. There were so many adjustments to be made during the first full year. One of them is when you decide to let you student have their own car. I'm sure my daughter must have been sick to death of me nagging about driver safety. An 18 year-old may think they know everything, but they have so much to learn when it comes to being responsible for their own car.
My husband had to go through so many details in regards to fueling up the vehicle, when you need an oil change or service, and using common sense to determine if there might be an issue with the tires or brakes. She has experienced a couple of minor fender benders, but seems to finally have a handle on being cautious and responsible when behind the wheel of a car. She never gets a single mile over the recommended oil change time, and gets her tires checked regularly. I guess on the perks of living at home is she can get assistance right away if there is any issue with the car.
Are you a parent of a college student or have a high school senior preparing for their next journey? You can share your stories or moments on social media using the #BeThereMoments hashtag and check out the stories on the Be There Moments website by Michelin. As parents, it is so important for us to simply be there for our college kids, don't you think?