Although many college students take the giant leap away from home to pursue their education, a lot of us also prefer to stay close to home. Gannon is just 20 miles away from my house.

There are some obvious benefits to commuting — like saving on room and board. But there are some cons, too. Read on and I’ll shed some light on what to expect as a commuter.

If you’re staying close to home, you have lots of things to take into account so you can plan appropriately. One important thing is transportation. Whether it is riding with your parents, taking the bus or driving your own car, make sure that you allow for transportation time. No one wants to be the kid who’s constantly walking into class late, and your professors won’t take kindly to it either. If you’re going to a school in the snow belt, be sure to plan for winter travel time. Sometimes traffic can get a bit backed up when we get that lake effect snow.

Also, you need to plan accordingly for all the classes that you’ll have each day.  Since you won’t have the convenience of an on-campus room to keep all of your stuff, be sure to take all of your textbooks for that day as well as any notebooks and binders that you might need. Different departments and the Commuter Corner offer locker space to commuting students, so that is something to look into once you are on campus in the fall.

Another hurdle that you may experience by living at home while going to college could be your parents. The rules your parents set for you in high school may or may not apply while you’re in college. Sit down and have a conversation with your parents and make sure you’re on the same page prior to the start of classes in the fall. This will help you avoid any sticky situations in the future.

Getting involved in campus activities is important for all students — but perhaps especially for commuter students. Commuter don’t have the same luxury of meeting floormates and roommates like on-campus students do. By getting involved in clubs and organizations, you meet tons of new people while building your co-curricular transcript.

Although living at home is different than living on campus, you’ll still have a full college experience if you plan well and get involved.

Check out Chelsey Klube’s Res Hall Survival Guide for students living on campus.