4 Ways to Get Involved on Campus as a Commuter Student

This post is part of a week-long series to help new high school and college students prepare for their freshman year. Throughout this week, visit the Varsity Tutors blog for advice, tips, and tricks for this critical transition.

College is a unique environment that challenges you to step out of your comfort zone and welcome opportunities for growth. The first piece to branching out of your comfort zone is getting involved on campus, a task that can be particularly intimidating for commuter students. Without the luxury of constant bonding with floormates, commuter students must find ways to feel at home on campus. Commuter students can get involved on campus by participating in on-campus activities, taking advantage of campus facilities, and exploring major-specific opportunities.

Are you living off campus this fall and worried about finding your niche? Keep reading to learn four ways to get involved on campus as a commuter student.

1. Get involved as a commuter student by participating in on-campus activities  

Schools typically host an activities fair at the start of each semester where students can obtain information about many of the available clubs and resources on campus. As a commuter student, it can be more challenging to find a group of individuals who share your interests, but on-campus organizations can provide that network. Activities fairs often have a plethora of options for you to consider, ranging from student government to club sports.

Even though it may seem intimidating, task yourself with finding two to four clubs or student activities that hold your interest. Gather information about these organizations, and attend  meetings to see which may be the right fit. Don’t feel the need to overload yourself with extracurricular activities, though. The point of these activities is to help find your place on campus. It’s also important to note that living off campus doesn’t stop you from participating in most organizations. Identify groups that interest you, and find ways to thrive in them as a commuter student.

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2. Get involved as a commuter student by taking advantage of campus facilities

When you live off campus, it can be tempting to only stay on campus for the duration of your classes. It’s key to make staying on campus a habit as much as possible. Dedicate time to exploring the grounds and facilities your school has to offer. There are many ways to get involved on campus through available facilities, including:  

  • Visiting different locations that students typically socialize, such as the student union or the quad

  • Studying in the campus library, as opposed to at your home or another off-campus location

  • Exploring campus recreational resources like a pool

The more you get to know your campus, the more people you’ll meet along the way who’ll give you reasons to frequent the school.

3. Get involved as a commuter student by exploring opportunities in your intended major

Regardless of if you’ve declared your major, finding ways to get involved in your area of interest can help you feel more at home on campus. Academic departments typically have clubs geared toward that specific subject matter where you can meet professors and other students. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to learn whether or not you want to pursue this major long-term.

Inquire with teachers in the department you’re interested in to see what organizations are available and how to join. This is two-fold: you’re able to get involved on campus, while meeting others in your major who you can network with in the coming years.

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4. Get involved as a commuter student by spending time in the residence halls

You’ll likely make friends through your classes and activities with people who live on campus. Take advantage of this and spend time with them in the residence halls. This can open you up to a new network of friends and help you feel more ingrained in the campus lifestyle. These students will also often know of campus events that you may not know about, giving you more opportunities to get involved.

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While living off campus poses a slight challenge, everyone is generally in the same boat as you—anxious to make friends and fit in. Explore opportunities that’ll push you to step out of your comfort zone and appreciate all your campus has to offer.

Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at blog@varsitytutors.com.