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  • Living at home during college cuts down on costs like room and board, groceries, and laundry.
  • For some, choosing their childhood bedroom over a college dorm means paying off student loans more quickly.
  • One drawback of living at home during college is feeling removed from the social aspects of college.

Living on campus is thought to be a critical step in the process of going to college, so one may think that living at home means giving up a part of the college experience. But living at home during college might just be one of the best decisions you make.

Saving money is just one of the many reasons it might make sense for you to live at home during college. Here are some of the other benefits, as well as some drawbacks, of living at home in college.

The benefits

1. It's healthier

Whereas your parents can restrict the pantry to healthy items, the college cafeteria is a free-for-all for sugar-filled sodas and trans fats—not to mention the dessert options. For many, living at home means making healthier, more nutritious choices. Plus, all that brain food will make you better and more focused at studying.

Also, you can use the time you spend at home to pick up some cooking skills from your parents, so you can continue to practice healthy eating habits after graduation.

2. It's cheaper

Avoiding the college cafeteria can amount to considerable savings. By skipping paying for room and board, you could save thousands each year—which will cut down on your out-of-pocket costs, as well as the amount you may have to borrow in student loans.

3. It's quieter

For some, living at home means avoiding potential roommate conflicts and having more quiet time to study. While dorm life can be fun, it’s also full of distractions. Use this time to get ahead academically and set yourself up for future success.

Other benefits of living at home in college include having the support of your family and not having to share your room. Many students also live at home for the first two years while attending a community college to earn credits and save money before moving to their dream school.

The drawbacks

1. Less social activity

Living at home could give you a bad case of FOMO—and for good reason. It's easy to feel removed from college culture when you're not there all the time. Depending on how far away your parents live, commuting to on-campus events may feel like a trek. And the less you’re on campus, the harder it can be to build friendships.

2. Your independence

For students living on campus, college offers a time to explore their independence. That can be trickier when you’re living with your parents. Some parents have a hard time adjusting to the fact that their child is now an adult. To make living at home work, it’s important to set clear expectations from the get-go.

3. The commute

No matter where your parents live in relation to your college, chances are, getting to campus won’t be as easy as just stepping out of your front door. There’s also probably a bit of expense to factor in. Are you driving? If so, make sure you budget for gas, parking, car payments, insurance, and repairs.

Tips to make living at home work

1. Set expectations with your parents

If you decide to live at home, it's important to consider your relationship with your parents. After all, you're no longer in high school but your parents might have a hard time making that mental shift. Make sure to have an open discussion with your parents about your—and their—expectations. Will you have a curfew? How will you help with chores and cooking meals? Will you contribute financially to the household?

2. Make time for campus events

The temptation to stay at home might be strong, but make an effort to go to campus events—both during the day and at night. This will make it easier to make friends and feel like part of the college community.

3. Join a club or sports team

A great way to take advantage of the college culture is to join the college culture. Whatever your passion, chances are there’s a club that represents it. Sign up so you can meet like-minded friends and create opportunities for impromptu social interactions.

4. Save money

Remember, one of the reasons you’ve chosen to live at home is to save money. Make sure you take advantage of this time and put away some cash, pay back student loans early, and set yourself up for financial success early in life.

Is living at home right for you?

Deciding if living at home in college is right for you is a personal decision that depends on many factors. Consider your financial situation, the proximity to your college, your relationship with your parents, and your ideal college experience. Weigh the pros and cons and figure out what’s best for you.

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