Living Off-Campus: How to Make Your Commute Productive

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  • Commuting gives students more housing options than on-campus living and it can be cost-effective depending on the place.

    Staying with parents means extra savings when it comes to tuition, and usually apartments a bit further from town cost less.

    Living off-campus can also mean long, tiring commutes and little time spent on campus.

    These long train, car, or bus rides can mean time lost, but with a little forethought, students who live off-campus can make the most of their travel time.


    Having a reliable mode of transportation is essential when you commute. If you carpool, the other drivers can serve as an insurance policy against you missing class in the event that your own car breaks down. Carpooling also saves on fuel costs and wear and tear on your vehicle.

    Beyond having someone to pass the time with and split the driving costs and responsibilities, you and your fellow carpoolers can also have study sessions during the drive. You can use the time to quiz each other or discuss the finer points of reading assignments and complex concepts. A car accident attorney recommends you have schedule to keep up with regular car maintenance if you drive regularly.

    Make Use of Your Stereo

    Drive time doesn’t have to be lost time. Some of your assigned readings may be available as audiobooks, which you can listen to on your way to campus. If you are learning a foreign language or have to memorize large amounts of material, you could record yourself reading the information. As you drive, you can listen to your recording.

    Set up your audio files before you get onto the road so you don’t need to touch the stereo controls while you drive. In the event of poor driving conditions, pause your recording so you can pay attention to the road.

    Schedule Strategically

    If possible, schedule your classes back to back or consolidate them to two or three days out of your week. Fewer days of required driving or commuting means you have more open days for studying or working. This also cuts down on fuel costs, potential driving incidents, and parking tickets.

    Find Your Study Niche

    When you live off-campus, there’s a fair chance you will have some downtime between classes. You’ll be much more productive during these blocks of time if you establish a study spot. It could be a coffee shop table, a library carrel, or a couch at the student center. Knowing where your study niche is every day means you don’t have to waste time searching.

    Commuters face some challenges that their on-campus counterparts do not encounter. With careful planning and creative use of your commute, you can ensure you use your time efficiently.

    Off-to-College reference:

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