Value of living away for college

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gunny2
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by gunny2 »

tibbitts wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:39 pm After graduating high school, I attended a college just a few hours away and lived in the residence hall. I hated every minute of it and did very poorly academically. After two semesters I went back home and commuted to another college and that was better in every respect. My parents were away from home 2 weeks every month due to work so I did get some experience of living by myself, which was much more valuable than the experience of living in a dorm.

So going away to college had zero - actually negative - value to me and I discourage anyone from doing that.
No offense, but discouraging everyone from doing something just because your single and very unique experience was a particular way doesn't seem very logical. Anecdotal evidence is only that. And going away to college doesn't automatically equate to living in the dorms.
RetiredAL
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by RetiredAL »

Glockenspiel wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:14 pm The biggest value of college is living away from home and learning how to do so. Commuters make no friends. Living on-campus in the dorms, you're guaranteed to make some of the best friends you'll have your entire life. Commuters and people living on-campus have entirely different experiences.
+1 50 years later, DW and I have several friends from our college years.
SnowBog
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by SnowBog »

RetiredAL wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:30 am
Glockenspiel wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:14 pm The biggest value of college is living away from home and learning how to do so. Commuters make no friends. Living on-campus in the dorms, you're guaranteed to make some of the best friends you'll have your entire life. Commuters and people living on-campus have entirely different experiences.
+1 50 years later, DW and I have several friends from our college years.
As a counterpoint, I did not retain any significant friends from college... Had lots of fun, but we all went our separate ways as we left/graduated.

Spouse on the other hand, did end up meeting one of their best friends in college.

So, it can definitely happen, is arguably more likely to happen when living on/near campus, but is not guaranteed... :beer
tibbitts
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by tibbitts »

gunny2 wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:46 pm
tibbitts wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:39 pm After graduating high school, I attended a college just a few hours away and lived in the residence hall. I hated every minute of it and did very poorly academically. After two semesters I went back home and commuted to another college and that was better in every respect. My parents were away from home 2 weeks every month due to work so I did get some experience of living by myself, which was much more valuable than the experience of living in a dorm.

So going away to college had zero - actually negative - value to me and I discourage anyone from doing that.
No offense, but discouraging everyone from doing something just because your single and very unique experience was a particular way doesn't seem very logical. Anecdotal evidence is only that. And going away to college doesn't automatically equate to living in the dorms.
That's a very valid point except that many colleges - at least in my day - required residence in dorms during at least the first year of college, unless you had a pre-existing local presence. Admittedly I was basing some of my reply on that assumption, which could be wrong. I don't know if that's the case today or how prevalent it may be, but I'm sure someone else will comment.

However later during college I also had the experience of living away from home not in a dorm - for some time alone in an apartment and later with a roommate. Living alone in an apartment was largely a non-experience compared to my previous responsibilities of living alone half-time at home, simply because a house needs more attention than an apartment. Living in an apartment with a roommate I would only suggest doing with someone you already know very well (and that was the case for me); that wouldn't have been possible for me until toward the end of college. That did have some value for me.

I do believe my response directly addressed the request "Can anyone comment on the value of living away for school."; I believe the OP was indeed asking for everyone to respond with anecdotal evidence and "single and unique experience(s)", and mine was that the experience - as I envisioned it would be available in the OP's situation - wasn't valuable.
SnowBog
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by SnowBog »

tibbitts wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:41 am ... I believe the OP was indeed asking for everyone to respond with anecdotal evidence and "single and unique experience(s)", and mine was that the experience - as I envisioned it would be available in the OP's situation - wasn't valuable.
FWIW my guess was the comment was directed less at your experience/anecdote, and more at your statement "and I discourage anyone from doing that" .

Obviously you didn't have a great experience. Others obviously had great experiences. The rest fall somewhere in-between... But "discouraging anyone" (aka everyone) feels like an overstep... (As does saying that someone is "guaranteed to make best friends", which I pushed back on.). While the "extremes" are possible, it's more probable people will have an experience in between.

You also had a unique set of circumstances, with having your home to yourself roughly 50% of the month, eventually moving into your own apartment, and eventually having a roommate. Those all gave you opportunities to gain independent living skills that someone without those circumstances and who followed your original advice to "stay home" wouldn't have experienced (especially if they followed the advice for their entire college duration).

Which I think is the point that most of the people advocating for "going away" to college are trying to make. Not that every experience will be "sunshine and rainbows", that's unrealistic... Some might even include some "tough experiences", "adversity", or taken in isolation "bad" experiences (I had more than 1 roommate or college experience I would have liked to have changed)... But "taken as a whole", the opportunity to learn to "live independently" - which for many of us started (or accelerated) when (if not required) we "moved away" to college - was usually a net positive experience in our lives.
DarthSage
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by DarthSage »

It really depends on the student, and the financial circumstances. Going way into debt, just for the on-campus experience, is foolish IMO.

That said, I currently have 3 college students--all at the same university, 4 miles from home-- and 3 different approaches:

DS26 is autistic (high-functioning) with anxiety and depression. He's also super introverted. Living on campus, for him, would have been a disaster. He currently works full-time, goes to college part-time, and lives at him (he may never launch). He'll graduate after his sister.

DD20 is a junior, and lives on-campus. Next year, she's living in an apartment off-campus. It's really the best of both worlds for her. She has ADHD and anxiety, and she has the local comfort/familiarity and can maintain the same doctors. She stops by to see the dog, mostly, maybe to cadge food. She's able to keep her local job. Although she did bring laundry home over Easter, she did it herself. She's very outgoing, and made some great friend by being on-campus. It was the right choice for her. She even got a small scholarship to live on campus.

DS18 is a HS senior who's been doing dual-enrollment at the same university. Obviously, he commutes for that. He's been wait-listed at his top choice school, so we're proceeding as if he'll be attending this same, local university in the fall. We said we'd pay for him to live on campus--he's ready to go, and should do fine. He got a larger scholarship than his sister, but didn't get into the honors program like she did. I could see him potentially moving back home after a year or two in the dorms, mostly for the space/quiet, but we'll see.

In our case, we can afford the campus living costs. That's a big factor.
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

Doom&Gloom wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:11 pm
When I go to my HS reunions and see the people who chose to commute to college, it makes me sad.

Makes you sad - how come?


To the OP - totally depends on the individual. Many, many, many people in metro Boston choose to commute to the many, many, many non-world-famous colleges here. They grow up. Get apartments. Make friends. Have lives. Best wishes to your daughter - whichever fork/s in the road she takes!
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hand
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by hand »

The value of living away for college depends on the goals for college.

If goal is simply to attain a college diploma, there is little value to offset the cost of living away from home.

If goal is to have an immersive college experience, build lifelong relationships and take advantage of the many opportunities outside the classroom that exist on a college campus, there is a very high value to living at a college instead of at home.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by nisiprius »

At many colleges, there are extraordinary opportunities to do things like engineer or announce at a student radio station, build kayaks in a well-equipped outing club workshop, work on a really big, really expensive model railroad... it varies of course. These sorts of things are much harder to find after you leave school.

My daughter was able to get a summer job in a the university's "adaptive laboratory," buying, configuring, and teaching students to use various assistive devices for people with visual challenges, and so. No, she didn't go on to make a career of it, but this kind of out-of-classroom experience can be extraordinarily educational.

As far as that goes, participating in "student government" is totally different in college, because in addition to attracting the people who actually know Robert's Rules of Order, student government actually has money to spend and the decisions that are taken are meaningful.
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rkhusky
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by rkhusky »

Glockenspiel wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:14 pm The biggest value of college is living away from home and learning how to do so. Commuters make no friends. Living on-campus in the dorms, you're guaranteed to make some of the best friends you'll have your entire life. Commuters and people living on-campus have entirely different experiences.
False absolutes. Likely false on average too.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by Glockenspiel »

BorqaZ wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 6:45 pm Nearly all of my good friends are from college and grad school.

I accelerated my independence by a couple of years just in the first semester of college.

Some of my best memories of my youth is in college.

College, for those who can afford it, should be a required right of passage.
Exactly. I would even argue that some of the best memories of my entire lifetime are from my very first year of college.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by Glockenspiel »

rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:27 am
Glockenspiel wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:14 pm The biggest value of college is living away from home and learning how to do so. Commuters make no friends. Living on-campus in the dorms, you're guaranteed to make some of the best friends you'll have your entire life. Commuters and people living on-campus have entirely different experiences.
False absolutes. Likely false on average too.
You think college commuters make more friends than students living on-campus in the dorms, on the average?
Bobby206
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by Bobby206 »

I am a big proponent of living away for people who can afford it. I think going local, and especially community college, is great for people on very tight budgets/borrowing but the value of living away is huge in my opinion. As others have stated easier to meet lifelong friends, easier to study/meet with professors, and most importantly learning some level of independence. I like the slow transition of a year or two in the dorm where you aren't fully independent but a little bit... and then transitioning to an apartment. Good luck!
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by cshell2 »

I would not advocate living away if doing so would be a financial hardship, but if one can afford it, there is a lot of value in leaving the nest for college. I believe this so much that even if my son would have chosen to attend one of the local colleges I would have pushed for staying in the dorm for at least freshman year to establish friendships and get involved with campus activities.

My oldest graduates college next month two hours away and there's been a lot of growth just in having to learn to be responsible for himself. He had to learn to use public transit to get around, how to coexist with roommates, how to shop and cook, how to find an apartment and pay bills every month...all of that was just as important to his future success as linear algebra. :D
rkhusky
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by rkhusky »

Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:48 am
rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:27 am
Glockenspiel wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:14 pm The biggest value of college is living away from home and learning how to do so. Commuters make no friends. Living on-campus in the dorms, you're guaranteed to make some of the best friends you'll have your entire life. Commuters and people living on-campus have entirely different experiences.
False absolutes. Likely false on average too.
You think college commuters make more friends than students living on-campus in the dorms, on the average?
I am saying that it is likely that more than half of commuters make a friend in college. And that it is likely that less than half of students living on campus make a best friend in their life in college. And that less than half of college graduates find that independent living is the best value from college.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by Glockenspiel »

rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:40 am
Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:48 am
rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:27 am
Glockenspiel wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:14 pm The biggest value of college is living away from home and learning how to do so. Commuters make no friends. Living on-campus in the dorms, you're guaranteed to make some of the best friends you'll have your entire life. Commuters and people living on-campus have entirely different experiences.
False absolutes. Likely false on average too.
You think college commuters make more friends than students living on-campus in the dorms, on the average?
I am saying that it is likely that more than half of commuters make a friend in college. And that it is likely that less than half of students living on campus make a best friend in their life in college. And that less than half of college graduates find that independent living is the best value from college.

I agree to disagree.
rkhusky
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by rkhusky »

Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:45 am
rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:40 am
Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:48 am
rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:27 am
Glockenspiel wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:14 pm The biggest value of college is living away from home and learning how to do so. Commuters make no friends. Living on-campus in the dorms, you're guaranteed to make some of the best friends you'll have your entire life. Commuters and people living on-campus have entirely different experiences.
False absolutes. Likely false on average too.
You think college commuters make more friends than students living on-campus in the dorms, on the average?
I am saying that it is likely that more than half of commuters make a friend in college. And that it is likely that less than half of students living on campus make a best friend in their life in college. And that less than half of college graduates find that independent living is the best value from college.

I agree to disagree.
Fair enough.
oldfatguy
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by oldfatguy »

SnowBog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:47 pm
But the "life lessons/independence" side couldn't be more different... When living at school (be that dorms, apartments, rental house, etc.), "parents" aren't there telling you to go to bed, waking you up in the morning for class, making sure you eat (and not just junk food), making sure you do your homework, etc.
I think you may be underestimating the "helicopter" parenting that many of today's college students experience. Technology allows the apron strings to extend many hundreds of miles these days. There are very many parents who are, indeed, monitoring their college students' bed times, making sure they are awake for class in the morning, telling them what to eat, registering them for classes, writing emails to their faculty, and even submitting their assignments for them in the class management software.
moneyman11
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by moneyman11 »

There are a ton of very enjoyable and memorable things I did in college - all while getting a degree that served me very well - that I never would have been able to do if I had lived at home ... and I'll just leave it at that.
barnaclebob
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by barnaclebob »

Assuming you can afford it, living away should be a default for nearly all college bound children if it wont impact their academics in a meaningful way.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by tibbitts »

SnowBog wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:29 am
tibbitts wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 12:41 am ... I believe the OP was indeed asking for everyone to respond with anecdotal evidence and "single and unique experience(s)", and mine was that the experience - as I envisioned it would be available in the OP's situation - wasn't valuable.
FWIW my guess was the comment was directed less at your experience/anecdote, and more at your statement "and I discourage anyone from doing that" .

Obviously you didn't have a great experience. Others obviously had great experiences. The rest fall somewhere in-between... But "discouraging anyone" (aka everyone) feels like an overstep... (As does saying that someone is "guaranteed to make best friends", which I pushed back on.). While the "extremes" are possible, it's more probable people will have an experience in between.

You also had a unique set of circumstances, with having your home to yourself roughly 50% of the month, eventually moving into your own apartment, and eventually having a roommate. Those all gave you opportunities to gain independent living skills that someone without those circumstances and who followed your original advice to "stay home" wouldn't have experienced (especially if they followed the advice for their entire college duration).

Which I think is the point that most of the people advocating for "going away" to college are trying to make. Not that every experience will be "sunshine and rainbows", that's unrealistic... Some might even include some "tough experiences", "adversity", or taken in isolation "bad" experiences (I had more than 1 roommate or college experience I would have liked to have changed)... But "taken as a whole", the opportunity to learn to "live independently" - which for many of us started (or accelerated) when (if not required) we "moved away" to college - was usually a net positive experience in our lives.
Those are good points. I should have said - and really meant - that if someone hasn't already determined that they want to move away from home for college, I would discourage them from doing that. I feel that it's something someone has to consciously want to do and shouldn't be a default.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by SnowBog »

oldfatguy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 11:46 am
SnowBog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:47 pm
But the "life lessons/independence" side couldn't be more different... When living at school (be that dorms, apartments, rental house, etc.), "parents" aren't there telling you to go to bed, waking you up in the morning for class, making sure you eat (and not just junk food), making sure you do your homework, etc.
I think you may be underestimating the "helicopter" parenting that many of today's college students experience. Technology allows the apron strings to extend many hundreds of miles these days. There are very many parents who are, indeed, monitoring their college students' bed times, making sure they are awake for class in the morning, telling them what to eat, registering them for classes, writing emails to their faculty, and even submitting their assignments for them in the class management software.
While technology may have made this "easier", this isn't necessarily "new"... Seems like it's the "tale as old as time"...
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by rkhusky »

cshell2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:05 am I would not advocate living away if doing so would be a financial hardship, but if one can afford it, there is a lot of value in leaving the nest for college. I believe this so much that even if my son would have chosen to attend one of the local colleges I would have pushed for staying in the dorm for at least freshman year to establish friendships and get involved with campus activities.

My oldest graduates college next month two hours away and there's been a lot of growth just in having to learn to be responsible for himself. He had to learn to use public transit to get around, how to coexist with roommates, how to shop and cook, how to find an apartment and pay bills every month...all of that was just as important to his future success as linear algebra. :D
You don’t need to live on campus to make friends and get involved in campus activities. AFAIK, college groups and clubs don’t discriminate based on where you live.

Our kids are also learning about commuting by living at home.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by firebirdparts »

I have to say it was a very good experience for me, and by that I mean DIFFICULT. I am a big strong ugly dude so lots of physical hazards of being there do not apply. I have weak emotions. Nobody wanted to pressure me into being his peer. Death by alcohol poisoning wasn't going to happen either.
But that's not what I am posting to say.

Most universities, I think, have about a 40-60% graduation rate. So where are these folks going? I found that homesickness was a very real threat to people at first. It is the initial threat to derail your education. I gave a couple of local girls a ride home one weekend in September of 1984, and they did not go back. It happens. The second threat, coming close behind it, is a delusion around the issue of your test scores, quiz performance, and homework, and the need to study. Delusion related to school itself. Possibly entangled with brain chemical activities like computer games or romance. They will blunder through a whole semester saying they'll straighten it out at the end. Heck, even those of us who didn't do that still have nightmares in which we do, right? As far as I know, everybody with a university education has the same recurring nightmare.

I mention this because if she's at home, that's going to be a very different scenario. In your case, maybe it doesn't matter. If she washes out she can go to the local school.

P.S. I am very sure that helicopter parenting was not invented then. Saw lots of evidence.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by alfaspider »

I think it depends a lot on the student. A more outgoing person may not be hamstrung socially by commuting as much as an introvert. The type of school also changes things. A school where most of the students are commuters is very different from one where most are residents. Some kids may find the prospect of moving away exhilarating while others may find it intimidating. Some may handle going away responsibly, others may use it as an excuse to party away from watchful eyes.

As a relative introvert, I think living away was crucial for making friends (who I have stayed in touch with for almost 20 years now). Most of my friends from college lived in my freshmen dorm or were friends of those who did. They were people I did not have to seek out contact with. More outgoing types may have an easier time because they will actively seek others out.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by cshell2 »

rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:13 pm
cshell2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:05 am I would not advocate living away if doing so would be a financial hardship, but if one can afford it, there is a lot of value in leaving the nest for college. I believe this so much that even if my son would have chosen to attend one of the local colleges I would have pushed for staying in the dorm for at least freshman year to establish friendships and get involved with campus activities.

My oldest graduates college next month two hours away and there's been a lot of growth just in having to learn to be responsible for himself. He had to learn to use public transit to get around, how to coexist with roommates, how to shop and cook, how to find an apartment and pay bills every month...all of that was just as important to his future success as linear algebra. :D
You don’t need to live on campus to make friends and get involved in campus activities. AFAIK, college groups and clubs don’t discriminate based on where you live.

Our kids are also learning about commuting by living at home.
You don't need to, but it's a lot easier when you're actually living with your classmates. I was a commuter to college and I was never very connected to the campus outside of showing up and going to class, especially since I kept my high school job and evenings were spent working. It's probably easier for extroverted people that put themselves out there, but that was not me so I never really had anything more than a casual relationship with other students and definitely no friendships that lasted past graduation.

The dorms have organized activities designed to foster friendships. My son's dorm freshman year was all college of science and engineering students and there were organized weekend field trips, evening study groups and tutors on site in their dorm. Since most of the students were all taking similar classes freshman year that was very helpful. It's also where he met the guys he'd eventually room with off campus. His experience is so different than what mine was.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by alfaspider »

firebirdparts wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:30 pm

Most universities, I think, have about a 40-60% graduation rate. So where are these folks going? I found that homesickness was a very real threat to people at first.
I don't think the evidence really backs this up. The top universities have very high graduation rates even though the vast majority of students are living away from home. For example, Harvard has a 97% graduation rate. If it were homesickness, you'd see a higher graduation rate at commuter schools when the opposite tends to be the case. I went to a school with almost no commuters. I do know of a few who transferred closer to home due to homesickness but none who dropped out of college entirely.

The most common reason for dropping out of college is lack of funds (either directly or due to economic needs within the student's family), followed by academic unpreparedness. There are a surprising number of college students with food and housing insecurity. That sort of situation makes studying difficult. There are also a lot of students who go on to college due to expectations rather than a real academic desire.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by bloom2708 »

Kid 1 was about 7 miles away. Kid 2 is about 9.5 hours.

They both made it work. I do not enjoy when Kid 2 has to drive home in the winter.

9.5 hours is really too far to drive frequently. I don't like the added risk of all the driving, but she is making it work.

The value would be independence. But, you can get that 5 miles or 500 or 5,000 miles away from home.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by blaugranamd »

Surprised how many folks here have only positive on campus experiences. I have plenty of HS friends who went away to college and only came away with $50k+ in debt, poor grades, and a great beer pong game and ended up back at the local community college. Some of them never seemed to recover well financially from it.

All my ongoing 15+ year friendships are from medical school where we all had our own houses and families and commuted 🤷
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by tibbitts »

blaugranamd wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:53 pm Surprised how many folks here have only positive on campus experiences. I have plenty of HS friends who went away to college and only came away with $50k+ in debt, poor grades, and a great beer pong game and ended up back at the local community college. Some of them never seemed to recover well financially from it.

All my ongoing 15+ year friendships are from medical school where we all had our own houses and families and commuted 🤷
There is some selection bias involved; people who had those experiences you described may not be in a position to be interested in investing and therefore not be participating here.
knowledge
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by knowledge »

I think you should commit to living on campus your first year. It's such an intense social period that's not repeatable. And if you hate it, as a certain percentage of folks that I met did, and others in this thread have stated, you can move back home after. But give it at least the first year.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by gips »

I received zero financial support from my parents for college, I considered living at home and using a scholarship to a good state school, basically a free ride but decided that I needed to get away from our dysfunctional home.

It was a life-changing experience and I credit most of my success to that decision. I am by nature an introvert, junior year I applied for an ra position. it was a competitive process, I interviewed and was selected. it forced me to learn how to create community, present to large groups of people and work through people challenges. the decision also forced me to work two part time jobs throughout college, which positively influenced my work ethic.

I'm sure everyone can connect the dots as to how that decision influenced my career and personal relationships.

best,
Last edited by gips on Tue Apr 02, 2024 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
rkhusky
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by rkhusky »

cshell2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:38 pm
rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:13 pm
cshell2 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 10:05 am I would not advocate living away if doing so would be a financial hardship, but if one can afford it, there is a lot of value in leaving the nest for college. I believe this so much that even if my son would have chosen to attend one of the local colleges I would have pushed for staying in the dorm for at least freshman year to establish friendships and get involved with campus activities.

My oldest graduates college next month two hours away and there's been a lot of growth just in having to learn to be responsible for himself. He had to learn to use public transit to get around, how to coexist with roommates, how to shop and cook, how to find an apartment and pay bills every month...all of that was just as important to his future success as linear algebra. :D
You don’t need to live on campus to make friends and get involved in campus activities. AFAIK, college groups and clubs don’t discriminate based on where you live.

Our kids are also learning about commuting by living at home.
You don't need to, but it's a lot easier when you're actually living with your classmates. I was a commuter to college and I was never very connected to the campus outside of showing up and going to class, especially since I kept my high school job and evenings were spent working. It's probably easier for extroverted people that put themselves out there, but that was not me so I never really had anything more than a casual relationship with other students and definitely no friendships that lasted past graduation.

The dorms have organized activities designed to foster friendships. My son's dorm freshman year was all college of science and engineering students and there were organized weekend field trips, evening study groups and tutors on site in their dorm. Since most of the students were all taking similar classes freshman year that was very helpful. It's also where he met the guys he'd eventually room with off campus. His experience is so different than what mine was.
My dorm was just a mishmash of students. There was no one on my floor, or perhaps the entire dorm, who was in my classes. It was fun living there, but nothing special. I lived too far away to commute and I paid for all my schooling. I suppose dorms are fancier now, we had about 50 double rooms per floor, with community bathrooms and showers. We had a cafeteria, so I didn’t need to cook. There was a laundry in the basement, which all 1000 of us shared - if you left your stuff in a machine for more than 5 minutes, someone took it out and put it on a table, wet or dry.
Last edited by rkhusky on Tue Apr 02, 2024 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
cshell2
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by cshell2 »

alfaspider wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:41 pm
firebirdparts wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:30 pm

Most universities, I think, have about a 40-60% graduation rate. So where are these folks going? I found that homesickness was a very real threat to people at first.
I don't think the evidence really backs this up. The top universities have very high graduation rates even though the vast majority of students are living away from home. For example, Harvard has a 97% graduation rate. If it were homesickness, you'd see a higher graduation rate at commuter schools when the opposite tends to be the case. I went to a school with almost no commuters. I do know of a few who transferred closer to home due to homesickness but none who dropped out of college entirely.

The most common reason for dropping out of college is lack of funds (either directly or due to economic needs within the student's family), followed by academic unpreparedness. There are a surprising number of college students with food and housing insecurity. That sort of situation makes studying difficult. There are also a lot of students who go on to college due to expectations rather than a real academic desire.
Studies show that commuters have a higher drop out rate. I'm assuming a lot of that is due to financial difficulties and the fact that a lot of commuters are having to work and help out at home. The flagships by me are 80-85% graduation rate (MN and WI) the local schools where there are a lot of commuters it's a lot lower. More in the 50-60% range. While to be taken with a grain of salt since all the statistics I saw were at universities when going on accepted student days, many cited that living on campus for just the first two years resulted in a 30% higher graduation rate over those that commuted.
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papermario
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by papermario »

As others have said the value is really dependent on the child. My situation was a bit unique. I went to a local school but I had a housing scholarship and chose to actually live on campus for all four years, even though home was literally 10 min away. I was quite the introvert and very close to my family, and I knew if I lived at home, my social life would be non-existant due to my own tendancies. Living on campus was a good hedge for me, although I still looked with some envy at kids who lived out of state as having a "bigger" adventure. Once I graduated, I pushed myself further and moved out of state for work, and honestly those two years when I was far away from everything I knew was where I did most of my personal growth. So from my experience, the child needs to reflect on what they need, and also know that there are different opportunities at different points in time where that growth can happen.
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beyou
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by beyou »

Social and academic/career issues are two different topics.

Socially there is no comparison, it's very personal and only you and your child can answer what's best.
If they are very independent and social, they probably would thrive away. If still immature, sensitive to noise, rigid in their daily habits,
the tumult of college dorm life could be too much.

Academically and career wise depends on the school's on campus resources and off campus regional opportunities.
I was able to get a coop job during school just a subway ride away from campus that led to my 4 decade long career.
Had I stayed home and gone locally to college, there is no doubt in my mind, my career would have been 100% different.
I was exposed to options in the city I lived that I might not have encountered in another city.
Either choice could be better, depends where you live, where the other school is located, and how well regarded the schools are by local industry. People were eager to hire college students as intern/coops/fresh grads at my uni, and given the industry nearby it was easy to go explore and for them to come to campus and meet students.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by muffins14 »

tibbitts wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:39 pm After graduating high school, I attended a college just a few hours away and lived in the residence hall. I hated every minute of it and did very poorly academically. After two semesters I went back home and commuted to another college and that was better in every respect. My parents were away from home 2 weeks every month due to work so I did get some experience of living by myself, which was much more valuable than the experience of living in a dorm.

So going away to college had zero - actually negative - value to me and I discourage anyone from doing that.
This is pretty extreme to actively discourage people from going away to college just because you personally had a suboptimal outcome.

Of course you know other people have a multitude of different, often more positive, experiences
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by alfaspider »

blaugranamd wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 3:53 pm Surprised how many folks here have only positive on campus experiences. I have plenty of HS friends who went away to college and only came away with $50k+ in debt, poor grades, and a great beer pong game and ended up back at the local community college. Some of them never seemed to recover well financially from it.

All my ongoing 15+ year friendships are from medical school where we all had our own houses and families and commuted 🤷
That doesn't track my personal experiences. I can't think of any high school friends who dropped out of a residential college except for one that had pretty significant mental health issues (he is a genius level intellect and has donr well regardless). None of my law school friends attended commuter schools. I did have a high school friend who commit suicide his freshman year at the local commuter school. I can't blame his suicide on commuting but I think social isolation of commuting did not help his situation. He wasn't someone that anybody suspected was in danger of that.

All that being said, the smartest person I know at my F500 company went to a commuter school and thrived there. It very much depends on the student.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by tibbitts »

muffins14 wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:13 pm
tibbitts wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:39 pm After graduating high school, I attended a college just a few hours away and lived in the residence hall. I hated every minute of it and did very poorly academically. After two semesters I went back home and commuted to another college and that was better in every respect. My parents were away from home 2 weeks every month due to work so I did get some experience of living by myself, which was much more valuable than the experience of living in a dorm.

So going away to college had zero - actually negative - value to me and I discourage anyone from doing that.
This is pretty extreme to actively discourage people from going away to college just because you personally had a suboptimal outcome.

Of course you know other people have a multitude of different, often more positive, experiences
I guess I need to edit the previous post with a "see my additional comments below." Done.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by Carl53 »

I guess I grew up in a different generation. Being the first to attend college in two generations (grandfather had gone one semester), there was no way I was going to burden my family with the expense of me going away to school. I had an offer that would have covered some of my away school expenses, but living at home I could attend the local university that had a decent engineering program, avoid the room and board expenses, keep my HS job at Kroger's that got me plenty of spending money and covered my school expenses outside of my first quarter that my grandfather funded. I even bought a new car with my spare funds and had a fun Bronco as a second vehicle. Every year I was able to reduce my hours worked as I got pay raises but did not need the extra bucks but did need more study time as I got in the upper level classes. I will acknowledge that I did not have a lot of time for social events but my goal was to get through school debt free.

College friends as a commuter, yes I had some, some were also commuters. Still in touch with a couple that were classmates nearly 50 years later but now mostly just a Christmas card however we did get together off and on for 25 years. Life happens and folks who were your friends but because of distance are most a pleasant memory. Neighbors, family, church and work friends provide plenty of life enrichment. Somehow I never felt like I missed out on those beer bashes where someone often had a exciting encounter or near encounter.

Both of our kids did live away at college, 1 and 3 hours away. I can't say it benefited them at all(the living away that is). Definitely messed up DS and it took him another half dozen years to mostly recover. Not sure if their coursework or degrees aided them much in their careers or financially. Definitely gave them the opportunity to be exposed to a bunch of screwed up group think. DD did meet a friend that invited her to OZ on a work/study visa. Still there, and I have no doubt I would not have a near 24 hour commute to see her had she not made that college connection that she rarely ever connects with. I love to visit Australia, but at our age the number of trips our bodies are up to is getting fewer.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by rockstar »

Depends on the kid.

Some move away and fail out their first year. Others adapt and grow up faster. Hard to know what will happen. And bad roommates can be problematic.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by rkhusky »

alfaspider wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:20 pm … but I think social isolation of commuting …
This is a fallacy. There is no reason that commuting leads to social isolation. There are plenty of activities and clubs and groups in which commuters can, and do, participate. A person can be socially isolated while living on campus too. It all depends on the person and what they want to do.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by alfaspider »

rkhusky wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:59 pm
alfaspider wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:20 pm … but I think social isolation of commuting …
This is a fallacy. There is no reason that commuting leads to social isolation. There are plenty of activities and clubs and groups in which commuters can, and do, participate. A person can be socially isolated while living on campus too. It all depends on the person and what they want to do.
That's great if you are naturally a joiner and extrovert. Others need to be forced into social proximity to branch out. Like in my post, it depends on the type of student. However, there is something unique about living with people that is different from just seeing them at social events. Another point is that schools that are mostly commuters tend to attract students with other commitments (kids, family, work, etc.) who don't always have the time and inclination to make new friends.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by zeeke42 »

I think it somewhat depends on the school. If there are lots of commuters, commuting isn't bad. If 95% of their classmates live on campus, commuting is going to be awful. I went to WPI, which is very focused on group projects. People avoided working with the few commuters because it was a pain in the ass.

Living away at school is also great training wheels for being an adult. You have to manage your budget, but your housing and meal plan is paid for, so if you blow all your money for the semester at the beginning, it's going to teach you a valuable lesson, but you're still going to eat and have a place to live. Then you can move off campus in a later year and learn how to deal with that. You get to crawl, walk, run into adulthood with a large group of peers doing the same thing.

Another factor is, if you go away for school, you can focus on school 100%. I know if I had lived at home, there would've been tension between attending family events and both my social life and school work.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by gunny2 »

SnowBog wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 1:29 am FWIW my guess was the comment was directed less at your experience/anecdote, and more at your statement "and I discourage anyone from doing that" .

Obviously you didn't have a great experience. Others obviously had great experiences. The rest fall somewhere in-between... But "discouraging anyone" (aka everyone) feels like an overstep... (As does saying that someone is "guaranteed to make best friends", which I pushed back on.). While the "extremes" are possible, it's more probable people will have an experience in between.

You also had a unique set of circumstances, with having your home to yourself roughly 50% of the month, eventually moving into your own apartment, and eventually having a roommate. Those all gave you opportunities to gain independent living skills that someone without those circumstances and who followed your original advice to "stay home" wouldn't have experienced (especially if they followed the advice for their entire college duration).

Which I think is the point that most of the people advocating for "going away" to college are trying to make. Not that every experience will be "sunshine and rainbows", that's unrealistic... Some might even include some "tough experiences", "adversity", or taken in isolation "bad" experiences (I had more than 1 roommate or college experience I would have liked to have changed)... But "taken as a whole", the opportunity to learn to "live independently" - which for many of us started (or accelerated) when (if not required) we "moved away" to college - was usually a net positive experience in our lives.
Exactly. Thanks for saying it better than I would have.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by gunny2 »

oldfatguy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 11:46 am
SnowBog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:47 pm
But the "life lessons/independence" side couldn't be more different... When living at school (be that dorms, apartments, rental house, etc.), "parents" aren't there telling you to go to bed, waking you up in the morning for class, making sure you eat (and not just junk food), making sure you do your homework, etc.
I think you may be underestimating the "helicopter" parenting that many of today's college students experience. Technology allows the apron strings to extend many hundreds of miles these days. There are very many parents who are, indeed, monitoring their college students' bed times, making sure they are awake for class in the morning, telling them what to eat, registering them for classes, writing emails to their faculty, and even submitting their assignments for them in the class management software.
I'd bet a year's pay such horrific parenting is extremely rare, and thank God...and I pity and child who has to endure (or worse, "needs") such excessive monitoring and baby-sitting. lol @ telling them what to eat and doing their homework for them. I'd be surprised if any parent that domineering would let a child move away from home. Like maybe ever. That sounds like a (comedy) movie script.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by wander »

My university was about 20 minutes from my parents' home so I could work full time to support my parents. I graduated with no debt. If my parents could afford housing and stuffs, I would choose to stay on campus to have more time on studying. In stead of spending time on driving, it is best to use it for reading and hanging out at library.
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by cshell2 »

gunny2 wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 10:27 am
oldfatguy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 11:46 am
SnowBog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:47 pm
But the "life lessons/independence" side couldn't be more different... When living at school (be that dorms, apartments, rental house, etc.), "parents" aren't there telling you to go to bed, waking you up in the morning for class, making sure you eat (and not just junk food), making sure you do your homework, etc.
I think you may be underestimating the "helicopter" parenting that many of today's college students experience. Technology allows the apron strings to extend many hundreds of miles these days. There are very many parents who are, indeed, monitoring their college students' bed times, making sure they are awake for class in the morning, telling them what to eat, registering them for classes, writing emails to their faculty, and even submitting their assignments for them in the class management software.
I'd bet a year's pay such horrific parenting is extremely rare, and thank God...and I pity and child who has to endure (or worse, "needs") such excessive monitoring and baby-sitting. lol @ telling them what to eat and doing their homework for them. I'd be surprised if any parent that domineering would let a child move away from home. Like maybe ever. That sounds like a (comedy) movie script.
You'd be surprised. I'm on a couple college parent pages and some of them are really "involved". :?
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by dmolesky »

I went away for college and it was totally worth it for me. Living on campus, meeting new people, and being fully immersed in the college environment really added to my experience. If your daughter feels comfortable with the away school and you can afford it, why not give her that experience?
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Re: Value of living away for college

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

oldfatguy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 11:46 am
SnowBog wrote: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:47 pm
But the "life lessons/independence" side couldn't be more different... When living at school (be that dorms, apartments, rental house, etc.), "parents" aren't there telling you to go to bed, waking you up in the morning for class, making sure you eat (and not just junk food), making sure you do your homework, etc.
I think you may be underestimating the "helicopter" parenting that many of today's college students experience. Technology allows the apron strings to extend many hundreds of miles these days. There are very many parents who are, indeed, monitoring their college students' bed times, making sure they are awake for class in the morning, telling them what to eat, registering them for classes, writing emails to their faculty, and even submitting their assignments for them in the class management software.
I had to gently explain to DW possible reasons why our DD wasn't tucked in bed in her dorm when she couldn't get DD on the phone and it was early in the morning....

It took DW a time to accept DD was adulting.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
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