The Commuter Student: Transitioning into a Space of Your Own

It’s no surprise that more students than ever before are going to college locally and living at home or finding a place to settle into off campus to cut costs. If you’re a commuter student, you’re one of the many newly minted adults who want independence but also want — or need — to save money by living off campus. But how do you start?

To begin, set up a space of your own that accommodates your personal style and study habits. If you prefer to live off campus, there are things you can do to cut costs while enjoying your own personal domain.

Have a Heart-to-Heart Talk

“It’s important to be honest with yourself about your needs and expectations during your college experience,” says Sally Rubenstone, senior advisor at, a community for college-bound students seeking guidance. Once you transition to living off-campus, parents and guardians may still want to hold on to the nightly routine of family dinners. However, your schedule may not allow for that as you get into the groove of classes, work, and other school activities.

“Be sensitive to your parents’ feelings and values,” says Rubenstone, “but explain that they’re doing you a disservice by keeping such strict control over your time.” Now that you’ve made your priorities clear, you can focus more of your time on making your space feel like home.

Accept That Small is Fine

To help manage the price of off-campus housing, lower your transportation costs by moving closer to campus. That may mean finding a smaller space than you anticipated to stay close to your classes.

If you find an apartment or rent a room in a house, you will need furnishings to make it feel like a space of your own. Regardless of the size of the space, outfit it with amenities that will make you feel right at home with kitchen essentials such as a coffeemaker and microwave to create the perfect first apartment feel.

Upgrade to Adulthood

If you’re moving into an off-campus space and have moved past the furniture from your childhood home, upgrade your look by removing all the elements that say “kid” while keeping it stylish.

Keep the clunky wooden desk at home and replace it with a sleek yet compact model and all of the organizational components that go along with it. In addition, if there’s room in your new place, ditch the twin bed. Leave your childhood bed behind and transition to a double or queen size, if you can fit a slightly larger mattress into your new space.

Form New Commuter Friendships

Many colleges and universities have commuter lounges, where like-minded students gather to meet people and form new friendships. It’s the perfect place to meet people and ask friends to study or have dinner in your new digs.

By living closer to campus, you save yourself time and money on transportation costs on your daily commute. In addition, furniture rental provides a temporary solution to your furnishing needs. CORT Furniture Rental makes the rental process easy for off-campus college students, so your time is spent hitting the books rather than furniture shopping.