The Pros and Cons of Staying on Campus During the Summer

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  • Staying on campus during the summer can be a good way to work, see friends, and take courses.
  • Living on campus during the summer can also be expensive and make you miss home.
  • Each school maintains a different policy for summer housing.
  • Whether or not living on campus in the summer is the right call depends on your situation.

Staying on campus during the summer is a choice that many students make at some point during their college careers. In recent years, the number of students living in on-campus summer housing has grown at many schools.

There are many pros to living on campus in the summer, including taking summer courses, seeing friends, and living on your own. But there are also some drawbacks. Read on to learn more about how to make this choice.

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Can You Live on Campus During the Summer?

Many schools offer some type of student housing over the summer. This housing could take the form of on-campus dorms or off-campus apartments or houses. In general, you can apply for this housing as soon as you finish your first year of college; however, policies and rules vary by school and campus.

In most cases, you can swipe into buildings and amenities like the student union, the rec center, the gym, and the dining hall. The library often remains open during regular hours throughout the summer.

Nevertheless, the availability of facilities varies by school, so check your college's website.

How Does Summer Housing Work in College?

Summer housing works differently at each school. Some schools use a lottery system, requiring students to fill out an application. Others award housing on a first-come, first-served basis.

Some schools charge the same rates for student housing during the summer as they do during the fall and spring semesters, while others offer special summer rates.

In most cases, you must sign up several months in advance to indicate your interest in summer housing. Sometimes, student housing is only available for students taking summer classes. Other schools open up summer housing to students who are doing research with a professor or working another on-campus job.

Check your school's website and ask around at the residence life office to determine summer housing requirements at your school.

The Pros of Staying on Campus in the Summer

There are several advantages to living on campus during the summer. Read on to learn about five of the biggest pros of summer housing.

You Get to Experience Campus in the Summer

Sometimes, campus just feels different over the summer break. There are usually fewer students around, and the general energy feels more relaxed. You can explore your town or city and the areas surrounding campus and take advantage of the rec center and library without the crowds.

If you go to school in a rural area, you may be able to go hiking, kayaking, or canoeing. If your campus is in a city, you can explore new neighborhoods, restaurants, and the general culture.

Either way, the pace of a college campus is usually slower during the summer, offering a different experience from that during the school year.

You Get to Continue Living on Your Own

Many students love college because of the independence they feel living on their own, often for the first time. By staying on campus over the summer, you can continue to enjoy that independence. You can choose how to spend your days and take responsibility for your schedule and to-do list.

You may also get to live with a new roommate over the summer semester, which is a great chance to make friends.

You Can Take Summer Classes

One of the main reasons to stay on campus over the summer is to take summer classes. The summer semester is a great time to get ahead on your major, even if you only take one course. This can help you graduate more quickly, enter the workforce, and start making money.

Sometimes, departments offer different classes in the summer. This means that summer classes offer the chance to take a unique course and learn something new.

You Can Keep or Find a College Job

If you are working a student job throughout the fall and spring semesters, you can get summer housing to keep working that job year-round. If you don't have a job during the school year, it might be easier to find one during the summer with a lighter course load and fewer students applying.

Depending on your major, you may also be able to use the summer to assist a professor with their research. Research jobs often include a stipend.

You Can Hang Out With Friends That Stayed

One of the main reasons to stay on campus during the summer is to continue to spend time with the friends you've made in college. With a lighter workload during the summer term, you and your friends will likely have more time to hang out.

As those bonds deepen, you can also explore the area surrounding campus together, whether by hiking, attending concerts, or eating at new restaurants.

The Cons of Staying on Campus in the Summer

Although living on campus over the summer offers plenty of advantages, there are also several drawbacks. Here are four of the biggest cons.

Staying on Campus Can Be Expensive

Unfortunately, living on campus in the summer isn't always free. While you can earn some income with an on-campus job or research position, on-campus housing can still be expensive. You must also consider additional costs like food and transportation.

In some cases, if you have a research position or on-campus job, off-campus housing might be more affordable. Living at home and working in your hometown can also help you save on many costs.

You Won't Be With Your Family and Hometown Friends

Even if you love your college friends, you've just spent at least eight months with them. You may want to see your hometown friends and family. If you have a dog or cat, you probably want to spend time with them, too, since they've surely missed you throughout the school year.

At the same time, it could be fun to invite your family and hometown friends to your college town over the summer so they can see you in your element.

Staying on Campus Can Be Lonesome

Staying on campus over the summer can sometimes be lonely, especially if your friends went back home. You might also miss friends and family from your hometown. The campus can seem empty, and it can feel tougher to fill your time.

However, if you enjoy additional solitude and quiet, this can actually be an advantage of staying on campus for the summer. You can enjoy all your school's amenities — including the gym and library — without as much hustle and bustle.

Summer Classes Can Be Demanding

Students who stay on campus for summer classes can expect coursework to be fairly demanding, as the courses cover a lot of material in a condensed period of time.

This can prove risky, as you may burn out on your studies or find a limited selection of classes to take. Some colleges also maintain different financial aid rules surrounding summer courses.

Before enrolling in a summer class, make sure you have the bandwidth for intense studies, and check your school's financial aid policy.

Should You Stay on Campus Over the Summer?

Whether or not you should stay on campus during the summer depends on your individual goals and circumstances. If you want to take in-person summer courses, spend time with college friends, work an on-campus job, or explore the local community, living in summer housing could be a good fit.

However, if you need to save money, are ready for a break from school, or want to see family and friends in your hometown, you may want to head back home for the summer.

Neither decision is inherently better than the other. Neither choice is strong or weak. It really depends on you, your situation, and what you hope to accomplish over the summer.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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