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Making the Decision to Live Off-Campus

Advantages & Disadvantages

On- or off-campus? Waking up at 6:30 am in order to make it to class on time might be a familiar scenario to many commuting students. But the ease and availability of living in your very own single room, right here in this park-like setting, and rolling out of bed just in time for class sounds a little more appealing to some . . . but there is no 'right' or 'wrong' choice—you must make up your own mind.

It is important to be well informed before making your decision. Mills' on-campus residential housing options are great! This is not your typical campus housing with cinder block buildings. Check out what's available so you can make the best decision for yourself.

If you have made your decision to live off-campus, remaining active on-campus and making new friends is integral to feeling at home during time spent at Mills. Being a commuter does not mean you have to miss out on the experiences that make these college years so great. As a commuter, you have the same potential as residential students to get involved in campus activities and organizations, and such involvement is strongly encouraged.

While meeting new people can be difficult—especially with residential students already familiar with each other from their hall interactions—a little initiative is all you need to introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you in class, and suddenly you will find that you have a new friend. Or strike up a conversation with a professor, and you'll likely make a valuable, lifelong contact.

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Four Common Concerns for a Commuter

The following are important issues to consider in making your decision to live off-campus:

Transportation Issues
How to get to campus, where to park, what to do if the car breaks down, what to do in bad weather, transit schedule changes, transportation costs, traffic, detours, coordinating transportation time with class schedules, etc.

Multiple Life Roles
How to coordinate roles of student, parent, employee or employer, spouse, volunteer, etc.

Integrating Support Systems
How to negotiate with family members and employers to get the support needed to attend college, negotiating with significant others for time away to study, establishing priorities, making time to get more involved on-campus, etc.

Developing a Sense of Belonging
How to feel like part of the college community, making time to build relationships with people on-campus, finding ways to get involved on-campus, keeping abreast of campus events and announcements, etc.

If you are struggling with these issues, there are resources on-campus to assist you. Stop by the Division of Student Life, in Cowell Hall, to research your options and/or troublshoot your concerns.

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Deciding to Commute

Off-Campus Housing

Getting to Campus

Commuter Lounge and Resources


Emergency Form


Contact Information

Division of Student Life
Cowell Building

P: 510.430.2130
F: 510.430.3235

Last Updated: 5/26/17