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If I were to go to UVA as a college, am I allowed to leave campus, go home, and then come back to campus the next day? Basically am I allowed to leave campus any time I want and drive? – Ryant

Most colleges do not have restrictions on students’ ability to come and go. Sometimes, and you’d have to check this with UVA, they do limit the ability of freshmen to have a car on campus. A residential university like UVA prefers students to spend most of their time on campus. And, faculty will expect you to attend classes regularly. They might even grade you in part on attendance and/or participation in class. That said, if you want to go to classes and then take off for the day, you are typically welcome to do so. Specific to UVA, take a look at their residential and student life policies to see that they will work for you personally.

If I am planning to go to college about 30-35 minutes away from home, do you recommend living at home or on campus? – Glenda

The answer to your question depends on several personal factors. The first is financial: you would save a good deal of money if you live at home. The second factor relates to your readiness to live away from home in a dormitory with a new group of people. The third is your level of self-discipline and time and study management skills. As you would suspect, dormitories are noisy, bustling residences and not the best settings to study and get proper sleep. The most successful students find quiet places on campus to get their work done. You should determine for yourself if you are ready to take on the required focus, discipline, and time management to do well if you were to live on campus. There is a great deal to be gained socially as well as maturational in adjusting to campus living. Just decide when you are most ready to take this on.

Do I have to live on campus? – Angel

No, but you might want to, depending on the school and your personal circumstances. Many residential liberal arts colleges and universities tout the fact that they have housing for all or most of their students, especially for their first two years of college. If you prefer not to live on campus, then you might be better off attending a community college or a campus of a public state university, which typically enroll mostly commuter (non-residential) students. That might enable you to stay with your family, for example, if that is important to you. This option can also save you some money.

You should consider, though, especially for your overall personal and educational development, the benefits of living and learning in a more residential college setting. Many educators and students believe that a large proportion of your learning in college goes on outside the classroom, through the interactions you have with faculty, staff, and other students in dormitories, student centers, and other places on campus. You are more likely to have more of these interactions during more daylight and nighttime hours if you live on campus.

My daughter wants to major in Equestrian Studies. She is attending a riding camp this summer at William Woods University, which offers this major. Do you think she will get a good idea of what the college would be like to attend by going to this camp? She will be staying in the dorms and eating in the cafeteria. – Sandi

This is an uncommon major, not offered at many colleges. A camp such as the one your daughter is considering will give her an idea of campus life and the environment there, though she will miss the full experience of interacting with actual students who attend the school. Thus, it will seem a little, well, campy, compared to the regular academic lifestyle. If she is interested in equestrian studies, she might also look into more general pre-veterinary medical programs to broaden her options.