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Should I Be a Resident or Commuter?

By Sophia Sharos

College students have the option of living in dorms on university property or commuting to school. At Barry, there are 1,048 residents and 1,378 commuters who are traditional undergraduate students.

Which option is more efficient at the university and what should students always consider before making housing decisions?

Residents typically pay around $2,500 to $4,500 a semester for a dorm room. The addition of a mandatory food plan for residents is an extra $2,500.

Commuting can be slightly cheaper. The average rate for rent for a studio one-bedroom apartment ranges from $1,100 to $2,000 a month depending on the area.

If a commuter meal plan is not chosen, students would be responsible for feeding themselves. This can become expensive if meal prepping is not involved.

Nonetheless, other factors can influence a student’s decision to live on campus or not.

For example, living on campus allows students to meet people and socialize after classes. You also can take advantage of attending university programming, enlisting in student organizations, and participating in different events.

Commuters, on the other hand, do not have that luxury. Most commuters go home directly after classes.

Still, places like Barry’s commuter student lounge and the union market in Landon have provided a location for socializing.

Sophomore commuter and international business student Nerea Urkidi likes the amenities found specifically in the union market.

“It’s nice to have the union market here to hang out in between classes. I don’t have a dorm to go to, so it makes me feel comfortable while I wait for my next class,” said Urkidi. “There’s coffee, food, and places to do my homework.”

Commuter soccer player Christian Fernandez studies business and shared some difficulties that may exist while commuting. He has to coordinate how he gets to classes.

“One major con is the timing. If I were to live on campus, I could wake up five minutes before class and stroll to class. Living off-campus, I have to plan for things like traffic and time. If I didn’t have a car it would make life more difficult as Ubers can be very expensive,” said Fernandez.

Junior athletic training major Serena Sauerwald agrees. She finds that other commuting expenses add up.

“Having to use gas every day for my car is a pain. Also, since I don’t have a meal plan, I have to find time to grocery shop in the week,” she said.

Nonetheless, for many, the pros outweigh the cons.

Sauerwald used to live on campus for her first two years at Barry. This semester, she re-evaluated her financial situation and moved off-campus. She comments that although she misses certain things, it was a good decision.

“I don’t feel much of a difference from when I lived in the dorms. I do feel like I am growing as a person and I am starting to enjoy this [commuting] lifestyle.”

Fernandez also explained why it was good for him.

“I get to enjoy the Miami lifestyle more,” said Fernandez.

Deciding whether to be a campus resident or commuter is a personal decision that Barry students must take. Nonetheless, it is important to consider both options to make the best decision for your circumstances.

It never hurts to try both to see what the best fit for you might be.

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