Transitioning to College for Commuters

Transitioning to College for Students and their Families

Commuter students face many challenges similar to on-campus students: making new friends, managing time, finding ways to get involved on their campus, and handling finances for college. 

Many students choose to commute for several reasons:

  • Finances
  • Family life
  • Desire not to live in residence halls
  • Cultural standards to keep family members together
  • The comfort of their own house, privacy, and the family menu

Tips for Students Transitioning to College for Commuter Students:

  • Get involved on campus. Getting involved on campus helps students meet friends, feel more connected to their college experience, and gain valuable leadership skills. You can get involved by joining a student organization, participating in intramural sports, attending athletic events, and participating in other programs on campus. For more information, visit
  • Working on campus. Working on campus will help you make friends, get to know university administrators, and learn valuable skills that will benefit you in the future. For a listing of available opportunities, visit
  • Connect with the Rutgers Commuter Student Association (RCSA). RCSA is a volunteer student organization whose primary interest is to advocate and fulfill the needs and interests of off-campus and commuter students. They hold twice-monthly meetings where students’ voices, concerns, and opinions can be heard and delegated to appropriate members of the Rutgers community. RCSA also encourages student involvement through a variety of events and programs. For more information, visit

Tips for Parents and Family Members for their Commuter Student:

  • Acknowledge the commute. Recognize that your student is spending time waiting for the bus or train to get to school. Help by checking up on the traffic and bus/train schedule. Assisting in the commute will help your student feel that you think their commute is important to you.
  • Acknowledge your student’s commitment to academics. Open your flexibility for family household responsibilities because college curriculum is more demanding than high school. Be proud of your student’s academic accomplishments.
  • Be alert to stressful times. Midterms, finals, group projects, and quizzes are very stressful for your student. Lightening the load at home by taking over chores, providing treats, or filling the gas tank during tough times are much appreciated by your student.
  • Encourage your student to make friends at Rutgers by staying on campus during athletic events and other student activities. Students feel more committed to college when they’re involved more on campus.
  • Be aware of campus news and events. By acknowledging the importance of what’s happening at the university, your students will too. 

For more information on transitioning to college for students and their family members, please visit the Rutgers University New Student Orientation website.