Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
Developing an affinity for your college, becoming involved in campus activities, and forming friendships are strong predictors of college success. It can be more difficult for commuter students (students who live with their parents or elsewhere and commute for college classes) to form form these essential college bonds and their college success may be impacted.
Many commuter students have a hard time making new friends at college and fail to become engaged in the campus. This can cause these students to become unhappy with their college experience, and can even cause them to drop out of college. As an involved student on campus, you can help commuter students to feel a part of the college.
Forming friendships with other college students may be difficult for commuter students because they do not spend as much time with fellow students in close quarters the way residence hall students do. Many students who reside on campus form friendships with fellow residence hall students because they spend so much time together. However, students who live off campus (commuter students) do not have this opportunity. They may feel alone if they are attending a college where the majority of students have already formed friendships in their residence halls. It can help commuter students if you reach out to the commuter students you meet and include them in your activities.
One reason that commuter students may be less involved in their college's activities is because clubs and activities are often not advertised in locations where commuter students frequent. Residential students often find out about campus news by reading flyers that were posted in their residence halls or by being informed of them during a program held in their residence hall. If the information is not posted elsewhere or the commuter students do not know where to look for the information, they may be unaware of their participation options. You can help bring about positive change by making sure that advertisements for student groups and activities that you are part of are placed in areas where commuter students are likely to see them.
Being a commuter student can make it difficult to connect to your college and form important bonds. You can help commuter students who attend your college by reaching out to them and helping to make them feel welcome. Taking action in little ways can help your fellow classmates have a positive college experience.