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Many of our students live at home while studying - it's a great way to limit the costs of going to university. However, some students who are considering living at home worry that they may miss out on part of the "university experience" or struggle to integrate well with the other students on their course.

Here we speak to Catherine and Lee, two students who are living at home, to find out more about their experience.

Catherine - BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology

Why did you decide to stay living at home while studying at university?

I did look to moving away at first, but because Southampton Solent University offered the course and facilities that I was looking for I decided that this was the place for me.

I live in Totton (a town on the outskirts of Southampton) and it seemed pointless to spend extra money living in Southampton when there are good bus and train routes into Southampton so I decided to stay at home and commute.

Did you have any reservations about living at home while studying, and if you did to what extent were these realised?

I was not worried about living at home while studying because I knew that in the long term I would be more financially stable but looking back on my choice now, I sometimes wish that I had moved out because I found my first few weeks at university pretty lonely. 

Do you think living at home has had any affect on your academic success?

As I've never lived away from home it is hard to comment but I think that living at home has improved my academic success because I have had the support of my family and no other worries other than that of my work and my social life to contend with.

What do you see as the benefits of living at home while attending the University?

The major benefit of living at home is that there is no financial pressure. I have a part time job at my local Asda and they are very flexible and know that my coursework comes before them. This means I can earn enough to support my social life and put some money into savings without having to worry about where the next month's rent will come from.

Another plus about living at home is that I have the support of my family. I have to say that my mother is an angel as she adapts to the different times that I come in and out and she makes sure that I balance my life equally. She's also a great help when I get stressed over deadlines of work by providing countless cups of coffee and telling me when I need a break.

Do you think you think you are in a better position financially because you live at home?

Definitely. I have not had to take out a student loan and only work a few hours a week part time to cover my socialising costs and the cost of buying books and materials for my course. I have friends who have taken out the student loan and who work all the hours they can get because they have to pay rent and such like, and I've seen them trying to do coursework the day before the deadline because they've spent all their time working.

How do you feel your experiences differed from students who live in student accommodation?

I found myself feeling quite lonely in my first month at university because I seemed to start two or three weeks after other students had moved into student accommodation together. When I arrived I felt as though most people had already made friends, and to be honest I felt like a bit of an outsider.

I spent my first week with one person and didn't attend any of the freshers events in the evenings. This was because I didn't know what was on or even how to find out what was going on; but also I had no-one to go with and did not feel safe commuting into Southampton and back again by myself when I didn't know what I was doing. It was a lonely time but as soon as we got placed into our tutor groups I made friends and discovered that most of them were commuters too and had gone through similar feelings as me.

Do you have any advice for prospective students considering studying while living at home?

I'd say be aware that the first couple of weeks can be quite lonely even if you are prepared to go out and find out what's going on. Also it is sometimes hard to make friends but don't worry too much because you will make friends, as I have, and your social life will improve.

Work out how you will get to your university - i.e will you travel by train or bus, or if you drive think about where you will park and how long it will take you to get there. Go to the freshers' fair and find out about the travel discounts available to students and if it applies to your area.

Don't work too hard, and that doesn't mean go out clubbing and drinking at every opportunity. It means try to find a balance between your social life, your coursework, and the part time job that you will most probably need.

Lee - BA (Hons) Business with E-Commerce

Why did you decide to stay living at home while studying at university?

For cost and convenience - I was local to the University anyway so thought that moving out would probably be an unnecessary expense.

Did you have any reservations about living at home while studying, and if you did, to what extent were these realised?

I have a large family and get distracted, as there is always a lot of noise.

Do you think living at home has had any effect on your academic success?

Possibly. It has meant that I haven't had to work as many hours so I have had more time to study. Also, my parents have been able to see how hard I've been studying, so have been willing to help me financially where possible to take the stress of money worries away. 

What do you see as the benefits of living at home while attending the University?

As my home is in Southampton, it is very convenient and I can keep in contact a lot more with my family and friends - which is very important to me as I can go and see them for advice or to relax and have fun when things are getting on top of me.

Do you think you think you are in a better position financially because you live at home?

To be honest no, because none of my friends from Southampton are students, so when we go out it is usually on weekends to premium priced venues! It is mainly my own fault though as I am very bad at managing my finances (therefore I would have no money no matter where I lived)! 

How do you feel your experiences differed from students who live in student accommodation?

I was never made aware of any student social events during the first year and didn't get to meet many people from other courses. 

Do you have any advice for prospective students considering studying while living at home?

Invest the money from your student loan in to making your bedroom into a home office (desk, computer, comfortable chair, shelves for books etc.). Ensuring you have enough space to study is essential. Also, make sure that others who live with you will respect the time you need to spend on your own studying, without distractions.

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