Is it a bad idea to live at home during university?

You'll save money and get some peace and quiet. But do the pros of staying at home for uni outweigh the cons?

You’ve trawled up and down the country, sat in numerous lecture halls hearing about how brilliant the course is and scouted out the local nightlife.

You’ve finally made the life-changing decision of where you’ll be studying for the next few years of your life. But now you need to decide if you're ready to leave home or not.

With loans for tuition fees and further loans for living costs to consider, it seems more students-to-be are debating whether to fly the nest at all. Why not stay in the comfort of your family home and save loads of money on rent and living costs? After all, you've got the rest of your life to be independent.

Staying home: the pros

You'll be saving money
This is perhaps the biggest plus about staying put. If your commute is short, saving your pennies and waiting until you’re in full time employment before moving out can seem appealing.

TSR member Sarah1778 commutes to uni from her family home. "The up-side is I have saved a lot of money," she says. "My monthly travel pass is around £66 whereas the monthly fee of uni accommodation would have been around £400 excluding food.” 

It’s worth calculating the amount you personally would be shelling out for rent, food and the general cost of living if you moved, and weighing it up against the cost of staying at home. It’s likely there will be a considerable difference, and you could possibly even start putting some money aside for post-grad life if you’re already holding down a job.

There are no massive lifestyle changes
Talking of which, staying home also usually ensures minimal disruption to your routine and lifestyle – it’s likely you’ll still be holding down the same part-time job and group of friends, which can be appealing if you’re a creature of habit or perhaps a mature student. 

No messy or loud flatmates
Then there’s the reassurance of not putting up with the messy or disruptive housemates that can frequent halls – there are many smells preferable to that of an overflowing, rotting bin becoming part of the furniture. Revision and studying in general are also considerably easier to crack on with when you haven’t got music blaring through the walls or Becky from next door screaming down the corridor...

Peace and quiet
Living in halls isn't all rosy – it has many disadvantages. For example, when it comes closer to exam times, you won't have the peace and quiet you need. Finding the time to cook decent food can get tricky once exams come around, leaving you eating crap and being unhealthy. 

Staying home: the cons

It's less sociable
So you’re saving money, possibly still working, but is it enough? Many students complain about a less sociable experience if they don’t move out. Factor in leaving social events early for the last train or just not being present when plans are made and you’ve got an outstanding recipe for FOMO. 

Living in halls or a student house puts you at the centre of the action, giving you the opportunity to bond with new people, cement stronger friendships and get invited out more frequently. For TSR member Eärendil, it's all about connecting with your uni mates. "Think about the times you've stayed up chatting to your flat mates until the sun rises. These are the tiny things that solidify friendships and relationships."

It's harder to get involved
There are also many societies and extra-curricular activities that your university will offer that could prove difficult to attend if your commute is longer. Plus, you're probably not going to bother travelling into uni for a society if something falls on a day when you have no classes.

You may also be less likely to take full advantage of facilities, like your library, so could spend more on study materials when you get desperate – an important aspect to consider for your staying-at-home budget.

"Is saving a bit of money really worth missing out on an essential part of uni life?" says Super_kawaii. "The social and extracurricular side of uni is just as important as the academic side for graduate jobs; your final grade is nothing but a tick in a box."

Lack of independence
The thing you’ll probably appreciate most about moving out is independence. Having freedom and privacy for the first time is refreshing. Gone are the days of waking up your family when you fall in the door at 4am or updating your mum with your whereabouts every hour. 

"A huge part of university is personal development," says Drewski. "You'll miss out on 99% of that if you're living at home."

Obviously you’re going to be flying the nest at some point anyway, and university is a great starting point as it enables you to still use the support available. At least you can rest assured that you're in the same, protected boat as hundreds of others on your campus! 

The verdict

No matter what advice you get from anyone else, the decision is yours to make and will depend on your personal circumstances. 

What might work for one student could be potentially horrendous for another, so it’s a good idea to sit down with an impartial outsider and weigh up your own personal pros and cons list. Good luck!

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