I spent my weekend trying to convince parents of high school seniors to let their children live college dorms rather than commute. These were seniors who were accepted to local colleges that provide housing. Finances were not the problem, as the parents could either afford the costs or financial aid would cover the majority of these costs.
Living in college housing, if available, is a huge benefit of the college experience. In fact, students who live in student housing usually do better academically than those who do not.
As June 1 is the housing deadline for many colleges, try to convince a parent you know to let their children live in dorms. Jazmin Robles, a first generation graduate of UC Santa Barbara and I have developed five pros to living in the dorms.
5 Benefits of Living in the Dorms
1. Students will be safe.
A parent recently shared her fear that her daughter would be raped on a college campus. In fact, her daughter would be safer on the college campus than in her home community. The large majority of campuses are tremendously safe, as campus security guards escort students to and from different parts of campus 24 hours a day. Dorms only open with key cards, with doors that cannot be propped be open, and there is always someone at the front desk. There are resident advisors in all dorms that students can contact at any time.
2. Students can dedicate themselves to their academics.
Living on campus will enable students to attend all classes, participate in study groups, visit professors, study in the library, and participate in campus-based academic projects and support communities. Living in housing, students can set their own study schedules, form study groups, and not lose time commuting. Their dorms have study halls and computer rooms, and students learn as much from their peers as they do from their professors.
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3. College is much more than academics.
College is a time for students to immerse themselves in clubs and organizations, to attend university and student events, and to meet students from all around the country. While living on campus, students can explore all different kinds of campus activities and get engaged in internships and outreach projects. Jazmin joined a multi-cultural sorority, got a job at the community teen center, and did a lot of community service in the local community because she was immersed in her college experience by living in the dorms.
4. Living in dorms builds self-confidence and the exposure to diverse communities.
Jazmin says that living in the dorms helped boost “my self-confidence, and helped me develop a sense of responsibility and embrace my identity." She goes on to remark, "my choices were guided by the morals and values learned at home, yet I used to be so intimated by people who looked different from me. Living with diverse students exposed me to this diversity. It helped me in my future work place because I feel more confident to communicate and interact with different cultures.”
5. Living in dorms leads to making lifelong friends.
Students get to meet friends in all different ways, especially at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, amazing times to just eat and converse with the most interesting peers possible. Jazmin says she and her college friends from the dorms “were able to form a support group amongst ourselves. We helped each other with our homework and motivated ourselves to graduate with a B.A. Having that support group that understands what you are going through was really helpful. It gave me hope that I was not the only one going through the same experiences. I also now have friends who are lawyers, veterinarians, teachers, and community activists. I have a network that I can access because I met so many different people.” Students meet people that become their lifelong friends.
Also, just remember, parents won’t have to do that their child’s laundry (unless he or she brings dirty clothes home for vacations), and there are so many interesting things they can do with their bedrooms while they are away.