Last time I discussed some basic information about college housing options. Now let’s dig into an often overlooked college housing option: Living at home. Here are some items to consider if you are thinking about living with your parent(s) or guardian(s) while attending college.
First let’s talk logistics. Living at home can be a convenient option if you already live in the same city or general area as your college. So ask yourself, do you plan to attend college close to home? Although it is possible to live at home and attend a college that is an hour’s drive away or more, keep in mind that the further you live away from your school, the more difficult it may be to stay focused on school. You may feel more tempted to skip class if you don’t live near campus. Of course if you take all (or mostly) online classes it may not matter how close you live to your school, but it is worth it to consider how your distance from campus will affect your life. As with any off-campus housing, you also need to be sure that you have reliable transportation to and from school.
Do your parent(s) or guardian(s) have a home that could reasonably accommodate you continuing to live there? More importantly, do your parents want you to live at home while attending college (or are they at least okay with it)? Are YOU okay with the idea of living at home? Are there personal or family circumstances (mental or physical health/disability, cultural expectations, family expectations, etc) that would make it more convenient or responsible for you to stay at home? On the other hand, are there personal or family circumstances which would make it better for you to move out? Carefully consider what you are hoping to get out of your college experience and weigh your expectations against your life circumstances and family responsibilities.
Do you have space that is your own? Are you hoping for a lot of personal freedom as a college student living at home? If you’re expecting to be treated like an adult and your parents expect to treat you the same as they did in high school, you may be in for some conflict down the road. Talk to your parents about your expectations for personal freedom and see if they are open to the possibility of renegotiating some house rules to better fit your stage of life.
Your responsibilities (chores, home maintenance, caretaking, etc ) will likely be similar to what they were in high school. However, you should step up your home responsibility a notch, even if your parents aren’t asking you to take on a few extra chores or contribute to the household budget. Taking more responsibility at home will prove that you are growing up and may come with the added bonus of more freedom and privacy. After all, if you expect to be treated like an adult, it would be best to act like one.
Living at home is often the cheapest option. Some parents may ask you to start paying rent or contributing to bills (if you weren’t already), but even this is usually considerably cheaper than all other housing options. Living at home could potentially save you thousands of dollars in debt down the road.
In our society there is a lot of pressure for students to ‘get out on their own’ after they graduate from high school. Continuing to live with your parent(s) or guardian(s) may give you less privacy and freedom than some of your peers in college, but it is a financially smart option for some students.
Stay tuned for the next installment in the Campus Housing Series: Living on Campus.