When searching for a college, it’s important that you know the characteristics of each school. Is it public or private? Small or large? Is it a party school or are the students more studious? An often overlooked distinction is whether or not it’s a commuter school. Many of the students who attend these schools regret the day they set foot on campus because the college experience at commuter schools often don’t quite meet expectations.
A commuter school lacks the atmosphere of your typical college. A vast majority of its students don’t live on campus and therefore commute to school each day; hence the nickname. By early evening, the number of students who stick around is few because most of them simply attend their classes and leave. They have no desire to immerse themselves into the culture of the school, so membership in clubs and organizations – including the Greek system – is low. Attendance at campus sporting events is pitiful even when the team is performing well. School spirit is nonexistent; you’ll often see your fellow students wearing shirts and caps displaying colors and logos from other colleges, including those of more popular in-state rivals. The low morale often results in a lack of alumni support. Why stay loyal to a college you didn’t enjoy attending?
Commuter schools are typically located in urban settings and have low admissions standards. That means it’s the college of last resort for many students from the area. Often times, the average age of the student body is older than normal colleges because the location is convenient for adults who are already working full-time. If you can, check the amount of part-time students who are enrolled during a given semester. A higher number is usually indicative of a commuter campus. Of course, nothing can substitute for firsthand research. Visit the school yourself and get a feel for the environment. Talk to students about their experiences. Have they enjoyed their time in college? Do they have any regrets? Do they stick around on the weekends? Where are the area hotspots? If they provide satisfactory answers to those questions, you’re probably at a school where you’d have a fun and stimulating college experience – opposite from a commuter school.