Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
If you are a commuter student (a students who lives off campus) you may have a difficult time making friends, finding out about campus activities, and developing a connection with your college. Unless you find a way to make connections on campus, you could have an unhappy college experience
While you may have to make a greater effort to engage in the campus community than residential students, your college experience can be just as rewarding. A few things that you can do to connect to the campus are below:
Check your college email Many colleges send important information to students' campus email, which often includes information about campus activities. Therefore, it is important to check your campus email regularly. If you have multiple email addresses but you would rather check one email, look into mail forwarding.
Read your campus newspaper Most colleges have a student newspaper. It's important to read the campus newspaper because it can help you stay informed of important events on campus and it can provide other important information that is helpful to know.
Watch for flyers Many organizations will post flyers in the student union, cafeterias, or at other locations with high student traffic. Find out where information is posted at your college and check those locations regularly.
Check student-oriented websites Many campuses also have a Web page where important college information is posted. Explore your college's website and look for the Web page where information for current students is posted.
Join campus organizations Involvement in campus activities is a great way to meet new people and develop a connection to your college or university. Find an organization that you are interested in and become a member.
Consider joining or forming a commuter student organization. This will give you an opportunity to meet others in situations similar to yours.
Befriend students in your major Students in your major are students with whom you already have at least one thing in common, an interest in your chosen field of study. You could join a major-related club, form a study group, or simply make an effort to talk to the person sitting beside you in class.
Being a commuter student in a residential college can make it more difficult to meet fellow students, stay informed, and to feel connected to your school. These difficulties could lead to an unpleasant college experience, and in some cases, they can cause students to leave college. However, the strategies above can help you have the same rewarding college experience as residential students typically experience.