The latest figures from the Higher Education Funding Council for England show that 23 per cent of 18- and 19-year-olds in England and Wales studying full-time for a first degree choose to stay at home in their first year. They are following in the footsteps of students in continental Europe, Northern Ireland and Scotland where it is common to head to a local university
Not only is it considerably cheaper and easier for families, but staying at home means a lot less debt as well and students are more likely to do well at university without the distractions of living with friends. But the question in a lot of student’s heads is whether they will miss out of university life if they choose to stay at home.
The financial freedom and being able to go out and experience a new life with new people is what tempts a lot of young people into moving away for university. The excitement of moving to a new city and living independently is definitely an advantage when considering moving away for university. But living at home does not have to be all doom and gloom.
The most usual reasons for students choosing to stay at home is to keep the debt at a minimum, this means saving money on food, rent, and bills. And also being able to get a part time job and saving money to move out after university.
The important thing to keep in mind is that each person is in control of their own university experience. This means whether or not you decide to move away, you can still create your own opportunuities and memories and its possible to live the same life whether away from home or living with parents. Being responsible for your own university experience is having to make similar choices as many other students, such as ‘should I go out tonight?’, ‘should I go to this party?’, ‘should I join a society?’. So only you can make the choices and changes in your student life, and your living situation doesn’t have to alter your experience at university.
Most universities have so much on offer to help their students meet new people. Join clubs and societies. Another good idea is to stick around after lectures and hang out with your peers, you never know what might come up and a few drinks or a meal out could be the best way to make new friends and have places to hang out other than where you’re living, whether that’s at home or by yourself. Going to as many events as you can during freshers week is also a great way to get involved in student life. And throwing yourself into anything and everything to make your university life is interesting is a nice way of keeping busy and staying sociable.
The best advice for students that choose to live at home but fear whether they’ll have eough freedom, is that if controlling or ‘nosy’ parents are an issue, talk about your expectations from them and ask them what they expect from you also. Leaving lots of room for negotiation is a very good way of keeping everyone happy and lessening the tension between parents and students. Make their life easier by doing your own washing and also help out with the cooking. Get a part-time job, buy some groceries, perhaps offer to help pay the bills. Help around the house. That way, your parents may be persuaded to give you more freedom than you were expecting.
Either way, whatever choice you make (or have made), make the most of it and remember, you are in control of your own experience at university.