Drive to campus. Find a parking spot. Walk to class. Walk back your car. Drive back home. Repeat.This is the typical day-to-day schedule for students who commute to college.
For resident students, it’s rolling out of bed, getting ready, briefly seeing their roommate or suitemate and walking out the door to class.
But for most commuter students, they wake up in the morning in their own room and bed, get ready for school in their own bathroom and as they walk out the door they pass by their roommates as well. But their roommates aren’t their fellow college stuªdents, they’re their parents.
Commuter students make up 50 percent of the student body at Castleton State Colªlege. There are those who live at home with their parents, those who live in off-campus apartments, parents with chilªdren at home and full-time workers
Some commuters complain that they’re missing out on that the full college experiªence when it comes to making friends and socializing outside the classroom.
“First-year students should definitely live on campus. I know a couple people who commuted from home and did not get to know as many people as I did,” said Shannon Gallagher who lived in the resªidence halls her first two years at Castleton.
Gallagher considers herself a social butterfly and believes she would not have made as many friends if she had lived at home. So even if that means paying the extra money for room and board, she says it’s worth it.
“I would never live at home. I think it’s stupid to commute because you’re missing out on your college experience,” she said.
Some commuter students agree with Gallagher.
Sophomore Alyssa Alberico has commuted for two years and agrees it is difficult to make friends when your only interaction with other students is in the classroom.
“I just drive here and then just go home. You don’t get to meet anybody. You’re just in and you’re out,” Alberico said.
But Alberico said there are drawbacks to living on camªpus too. She said if she were to live on campus, her academªics would suffer and she would most likely fail.
“I wouldn’t be able to conªcentrate at all,” she said.
Although she said she does have friends on campus, she doesn’t like the idea of roomªmates.
“I wouldn’t be able to live with other people anyway, and plus the dorms are too noisy,” she said.
Tuition at Castleton for an in-state student is $7,992, but to live on campus is another $7,808. For some commuters, living at home is about ecoªnomics.
Sophomore Alison Clark commutes from Pawlet. She claims, besides the fact she’s not a real big social person, the main reason she commutes is because of the money.
“I’m like the cheapest perªson alive,” Clark said with a laugh. “And it’s just cheaper to live with my parents.”
Although students have said it’s easier to concentrate on school work when they are at home, for Clark it’s a different story.
“I have to go to the library to get all my work done. There’s a lot of distractions at home,” she said. “I don’t know maybe it’s just my family.”
Residential students live, study, eat and socialize with one another in the residence halls and get to be more soªcially integrated with the camªpus community. Commuters only get to interact with other students in a classroom atªmosphere. Junior Jodie Hard agrees it is difficult.
“It’s hard because you just make friends with the people you have class with,” Hard said. “I usually just hang out with my boyfriend and my sisªters.”
According to a study by UCLA professor Alexander Astin, peer group interaction positively affects critical skills, cultural awareness, leadership development and academic development. So by not living on campus, commuter students miss out on these opportunities to connect to the university and other students and to enªhance their learning and develªopment.
But not all commuter stuªdents buy that theory.
Alyssa Ray lived on campus her freshman year, but decided to move back home because it was cheaper. She said nothªing has really changed for her socially since she has moved back home.
“I like it and I liked living on campus the first year as well,” she said. “But now I can sleep more.”
A junior now, Ray still beªlieves although she is living at home she feels she is still getting a great college experiªence.
“I enjoy the friends know from my first year make friends every day class,” she said.
Sophomore Michelle ªby feels the same way. lived at home the first semester of her freshman year and ªcided to move on campus second semester. She she actually like commuting better because of the cost found it less distracting having suitemates.
Even though she decided live at home, Crosby claims she has made close friends with her classmates she everyday.
“I don’t think commuting should make a difference making friends, and the ªrience of it, although I personªally did like to try both,” said.
Dennis Proulx, dean students, believes it doesn’t matter whether you live residence halls or at home. says it’s easier because Castleªton is a smaller college ªfore you can get the same ªperience either way.
“It’s easy here. We places of community you just plop down and absorb,” Proulx said.
Director of Student Activiªties Melissa Paradee echoes Proulx.
“They (commuters) all the same privileges resources that the resident ªdents have,” she said.
Paradee said the key commuters to get the experience is to get involved with activities on campus whether it is a club, athletics or just attending events on campus.
“Whether you’re a ªmuter or resident I encourage everyone to get involved,” said. “Once you get involved could change everything.