One of the big questions every young person is faced with when they decide to go to university is “should I live in student accommodation?”.
For me the answer was clear straight away. I was moving over 4hrs away from my home, my friends and my family, so living on campus in order to make friends and transition into the university life style a little easier was a total ‘no brainer’ for me. For others, this decision is not so easy. At the end of the day however, whether we have made the right decision really comes down to our experiences and the final determination of whether on-campus living is worth it.
There are so many pros and cons to living on campus and there are many aspects of student accommodation that can both greatly better your education and experience, as well as hinder it. I made so many great friends on-campus, that I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t have lived on campus during my first year of university. On campus, there’s a huge network of resources you can use to help you with assessments and studying for exams, all essentially right at your front door. Another greatly appealing aspect for many students of on-campus living is the social life. There’s always events and parties, the next ‘uni night’ at the pub, or just a few friends around the corner to hang out with. For me this was the most appealing idea of on campus living, but I never really considered the impact such a heavily filled social life would have on my university grades.
My project proposal is to find out what the students of the University of Wollongong have to say about how living either on or off campus affects your marks at uni. To do this I propose to ask a series of questions about how living on and off campus affected students’ experiences of the first year of university via interviews and/or surveys.
In the article by The Conversation ‘The campus experience is changing all over the world’ , Lodge states that “Australian domestic students are less likely to live on campus than students in other parts of the world… [students] are spending less time on campus and indicated they were less engaged with their peers.”
In my research, I am hoping to get a sense of the experiences of students both on and off campus, and find out if as a university there should be a push to encourage more students to live on campus, that is, if it is really worth it.
In a study conducted by the NSSE (national survey of student engagement) they stated “A supportive campus environment plays an important role in academic success and persistence” (NSSE, n.d.; Tinto, 2005; Anderson & Carta-Falsa, 2002; Tinto, 1987). In her honours thesis, Ashley Holland (2014) found that “students that lived on campus receive higher grades than those who don’t, students living on campus tend to be more focused on their studies and the immersion into the college experience translates into higher grades”.
I personally did not take advantage of any of the resources available to me on campus, such as the group study sessions, computer labs and study rooms; but I still managed to achieve HD’s and D’s all year. I also found that studying whilst living on campus could be difficult due to noise levels and other distractions such as friends and social events.
Given that research has shown that students who live on campus receive higher grades and immerse themselves into their work and the experience of university, I will be interested to see what some of the students of UOW will say about the issue.
Lodge, J. (2015). The campus experience is changing all over the world. [Blog] The Coversation. Available at: http://theconversation.com/the-campus-experience-is-changing-all-over-the-world-46866 [Accessed 14 Mar. 2018].
ACUHO-I and NSSE (n.d.). The Relationship of On-Campus Living with Student Engagement. http://nsse.indiana.edu/pdf/presentations/2015/NSSE%20ACUHO-I%20Presentation.pdf
Holland, A 2014, ‘How Residency Affects the Grades of Undergraduate Students’, Senior Honors Thesis, State University of New York, https://digitalcommons.brockport.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com.au/&httpsredir=1&article=1084&context=honors