Frat parties. Dorming. Football games. Meeting new people. The college experience is widely expressed as the time where you really get your first taste of freedom. Moving out, spending too much money on food and the ability to be wherever you want whenever you want, has become part of the “college life” package. However, this is not true for all students who begin their journey of higher education. According to the Sallie Mae "How America Pays For College 2017" report, half of current college students live at home. The decision to live at home for college can be due to finances, family situations, location and other factors. Regardless, these are the groups of students commonly forgotten in movies and stereotypes when college is brought up.
1. Jenesa, Class of 2021
"I am currently taking classes at Sac City, CRC and Folsom Lake Community College. I plan on transferring to San Jose State after. Originally, I was going to go straight into San Jose, but I wanted to stay home and transition into the college life. I felt as if I wasn't ready to dive right into a very competitive school just yet. I am quite happy with my decision. I'm learning the ropes about how to juggle going to work and school at the same time, so I am getting a better understanding of how far I can push myself without failing. Time management is something that I am becoming much better at. Some perks, I would say, are getting to stay home with my sister and my dog. Another perk is not starting over. I have a hard time with making friends so staying close and staying somewhere I'm familiar with puts me at ease with college. This gives me a chance to only focus on my school work. A definite disadvantage of staying home though is not having the freedom to experience a college life away from my parents; the chance to learn how to be independent. If I was given the chance, yes. I would change my mind and leave for college."
2. Jason, Class of 2021
"I chose to stay at home for college to take off some financial burden off my parents. I feel like I'll be missing out on the experience of living on my own, but I can make [up] for that later in my life. The best perk of staying at home is having home-cooked meals. The major con of staying at home for college is not getting to act/feel like an adult. Staying with family, they are bound to keep treating you like a child. I have thought about getting a masters degree at another, more well-known university, but that's just one of my future plans. I don't regret my decision to stay home and I wouldn’t change it, I think the pros outweigh the cons."
3. Jazmin, Class of 2020
"One reason for me to stay was financial reasons, my parents couldn't afford for me to move away and at the time I had to undergo surgery for my knee, which took up a lot of money and time. I feel a bit torn about not going away to college because on one hand, I like saving money and being able to be home with my family, but then I feel restricted and I feel as if I can't receive the full college experience. The biggest perk is being able to eat home cooked meals and not waste money on outside food. Another thing is that I save a lot of money on classes and on my books. I feel very suffocated at times, especially because my parents didn't go to college, so they don't understand the workload that comes with going to school. Most of the times I can't concentrate on my work because I'll have other obligations at home. I plan on attending San Jose State University next year, where I can make up for the things I missed out on my first years. Although the college experience appeals to me, I would not change my decision because saving money is worth it."
4. Gerardo, Class of 2018
"I chose to stay home for college because of financial reasons. Although I would have loved to move out, I feel like I made the right choice. The biggest pro of my decision is the amount of money I am saving, like I literally pay for nothing, not even food or gas. Staying home I don’t get much freedom. Having Latino parents means that going to college or even being 18 and responsible doesn’t let you have freedom and continues to make things difficult. I don't think I would have chosen to leave though. When I first started college the idea was for me to experiment with classes and find a major. I didn't want to do it in a setting that felt like I was wasting a lot of money."
5. Tabitha, Class of 2020
"I really didn’t have a choice of whether or not I wanted to stay home for college because I didn't apply to any universities. Honestly, I wish I would have because I would have loved to experience new things. The perks of living at home while attending college would definitely be saving money and maintaining a close relationship with my family and friends. The cons of staying home for college would be, we can all agree, not experiencing the college life. I mean, who doesn't want to be in a dorm with three other people up at four in the morning telling each other that Bethany on the second floor had her 17th breakup with John? I live for that kind of chisme! Another con would be the lack of independence high school graduates have to face where as some of us who stay home are still being fed lessons along with the lack of freedom. I definitely want to transfer and move out. But as for now, I wouldn’t have changed my decision to stay because I have seen how stressed out my friends who left for college can get, and I understand that that's life but I wouldn't change the things I experienced from staying home. If anything, it's prepared me to be able to stay on my own two feet when I do move out."
6. Jacob, Class of 2018
"I stayed home for college to save money. I was a little sad about not being able to leave, but overall, saving money is definitely worth it. I wish I would experience the real college life, but hopefully I will be able to transfer to a university that allows me to experience it all. Because of the option to transfer, I don’t regret not moving away for college."
7. Kim, Class of 2020
"My dad didn't want me to go away because he knew that I was going to pursue the major that I wanted and not what he wanted. I didn't end up applying for a four-year because I would save a lot more money by going to a community college. It's cool to not pay as much as university students but I still wish I would have gone. The biggest perk is saving money for sure, and a lot of my friends stayed home for college so I get to see them all the time. Going away for college gives you so much freedom to do literally whatever you want, but staying home for college makes you feel a lot more cooped up than university students. I plan to transfer to San Francisco State University! I wish I would have left but I also kinda like being home because I don't have to pay for anything and I like not being broke, but I feel like I'm missing a lot of new experiences by staying home for college."
8. Josh, Class of 2020
"I currently go to Cosumnes River College, but will hopefully be transferring to Cal Poly. The primary reason I stayed home was because I did not receive nearly enough financial aid for the four-year university I was originally planning on attending. Staying home and going to community college for a couple years is saving me a lifetime of debt. At first I was a little sad to see all my friends go away while I stayed back, but now I'm not ashamed that I stayed home anymore. Plus it helped that my best friend also stayed back and went to community college as well. Honestly, saving money is by far the biggest perk of staying home. The college I attend waves my tuition fees and I get aid for textbooks, whatever aid I have left over I am saving for when I go to a four-year. Not to mention, I don't pay rent for living at home so that's just one less thing I have to worry about for now. Every little bit helps. I've never felt like I had less freedom than my friends that went away. Even though I'm free to come and go as I please though, I still very much look forward to the day where I won't have to let anyone know that I'm going out or be bombarded with questions about my day. I think another con of staying home is not having that change of scenery that everyone who moves away gets to experience. I try to combat that with traveling as much as possible. Looking back, yeah. There's a big part of me that wishes I'd just taken the plunge into overwhelming debt and gone for it, but the rational part of me has made peace with my decision."
9. Scott, Class of 2018
"I go to Long Beach City College. I stayed home because LBCC had the major I was interested in and it's cheaper. A lot of people are sad that they didn’t move away for college, but I’m actually happy I didn’t. I was able to keep my job and most of my friends stayed home too. The con of staying home, for sure, is not getting to experience as much college life. However, I wouldn’t change my decision to stay home."
10. Claudia, Class of 2021
"I go to Cal State Long Beach. I didn’t move away for college because of finances. I am honestly pretty sad I didn’t move away. I feel as though I'm missing out on a huge part of the college experience. Cons of staying home are that I don’t have much freedom, I don’t get to meet many new people and, of course, the college experience. If given the chance, I would choose to leave for college instead."
Eating home-cooked meals. Saving money. Being around friends and family. These can also be what your college experience is. There is no shame in staying home for college. The greatest thing about pursuing a higher education is the freedom to go through the journey the way YOU want to. College itself is just growing up. So grow how you want!