Living away from home gives students a chance to immerse themselves in new academic and social worlds. But that kind of college experience is available only to an increasingly privileged few.
"But the arguments for living on campus are complicated at every turn. In reality, dorm life, especially at selective schools, can be alienating for first-generation minority students struggling to relate to peers with private school diplomas and plenty of pocket money. To low-income parents, many of whom have more traditional values, talk of non-academic engagement can sound pretty frivolous and even suspicious, as if easy access to frat row were being recast as a pillar of a well-rounded education. To these same parents, staying at home doesn’t seem at all unconventional. In high school, my peers and I understood going away to college as going away. Separation from family was part of the deal. This is not a universally accepted notion in Latino and Asian family traditions in which multi-generational households are quite common."