McMurran Hall

The Pros and Cons of Living On or Off Campus

There are a lot of important decisions to make about going to college and possibly one of the most vital choices is where to live.

With on-campus housing deadlines and room lottery fast approaching, there are two choices for students: either live on campus as a residential student who lives in the dorms, suites or apartments, or off campus as a commuter. Both options have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

As a resident, being a part of a campus community allows students to connect with their fellow students on a different level. “You learn how to be social,” said Adam Holmes, a first-year history major and current residential student. “You do make friends when you live on campus.”

This isn’t Holmes’s first time at Shepherd University. He grew up in Martinsburg, W.Va., and he attended Shepherd a couple of years ago as a commuter. He returned as a residential student, stating it’s a “privilege” to live on campus. “Be prepared to come out of your shell,” Holmes said.

The close proximity to classes is another advantage to living on campus. Students living in dorms and apartments don’t have to travel a far distance to go to class. Living on campus allows students a few transportation options to get across the campus other than driving.

Travis Sluger, a senior from Germantown, Md., lives on campus and enjoys walking to class as well as riding his bike. “It’s a good environment,” he said.

The PanTran is another way to get across the campus, according to Bina Malapur, a senior biochemistry major from Charleston, W.Va.

A disadvantage to living on campus is the issue of privacy. When living in the dorms or the apartments, students most likely have roommates and have to deal with a Residential Advisor or RA.

Although she lived on campus for four years, Malapur now lives off campus and commutes. “It’s nice to have your own place,” she said.

Sluger, however, doesn’t enjoy dealing with his RA, claiming that some of the job duties are “unnecessary.”

Even though living on campus costs more in terms of room and board and meal plans, some students don’t view this as a problem. “It [the price] is fairly reasonable,” said Kristi Veach, a first-year English major. Veach does understand why some people commute when they live close to the campus: “It’s pointless if you live 10 minutes away to pack up all of your stuff and move on campus.”

An advantage to living off campus is having more privacy. When students have their own place, commuters don’t have deal with the RA or roommates. Some commuters live on their own or with their parents, relatives or friends.

David, a commuter student from Charles Town, W.Va., doesn’t have to worry about the RA “telling you what to do.” However, if given the choice, he would rather live in the dorms, stating it is “one less aspect of stress in my life.”

A major and perhaps most prominent disadvantage for students either living on or off campus is the parking. It is a daily battle to find a parking spot that other students also want, causing headaches and impatience.

Sluger complained that residential students have to park in certain areas or lots on campus and he hopes for “better parking” in the future.

What do you think about these pros and cons about living on or off campus? Do you have one that wasn’t listed here? Which do you prefer? Tell us at

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