Commuter students face many of the
same adjustment-to-college concerns all students face: making new friends,
finding ways to become involved, time management, handling college finances,
and learning new study skills. There are also some unique challenges for
students living at home or off campus.
Commuters often believe their
classmates who live on campus have more time to engage socially and therefore
have more fun, friends, and freedom. Commuters can have the same opportunities
as residential students, but where they live means they must approach those
opportunities somewhat differently.
Family Can Do
Family who understand the unique
challenges of commuter students can help make the college experience better for
- Acknowledge the commute. Recognize the time your
student spends waiting for a bus, riding to school, driving, or finding
parking. Scheduling a checkup on the car, will show your student that you
think his or her commute is important.
- Acknowledge your student’s commitment to academics. By
talking about changes in family chores and granting more flexibility for
household responsibilities, you will let your student know that you
understand and respect that college is demanding.
- Be alert to stressful times; mark them on your
calendar. Midterms and exams are particularly difficult times for
students. Taking over chores for your student, providing treats, or
filling the gas tank of the car are valued gifts during those difficult
- Encourage your student to stay on campus between
classes and to attend athletic events, concerts, and other student
activities. Students feel more committed to college and have a higher
success rate when they participate in activities and share experiences
with other students.
- Assist your student by purchasing or encouraging them
to purchase the Commuter Meal Plan. Eating on campus is another way
students can connect to each other and develop important peer networks of
- Most commuter students work. There are benefits to
working at an on-campus job. The support of college-based supervisors and
the time on campus are beneficial.
- Be aware of campus news and events. Ask your student to
explain the things you don’t understand. If you acknowledge the importance
of what’s happening at the college or university, your student will, too.
Last Updated 9/17/10