Studying From Home vs On Campus in 2023 | The Five Biggest Differences

Studying From Home Vs. On Campus
Picture of Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Content Writer At Gradehacker

One of the biggest changes covid brought into our lives was realizing how possible it is to fulfill most of our obligations from our homes. And as college students, we realized that online classes weren’t that bad.

Of course, distance learning has existed since many years ago, but thanks to lockdown, most colleges suddenly had to adapt their lessons into a digital format. If we couldn’t go to college, then college had to go to us.

However, believe it or not, 2020 happened two years ago, and now it is possible to leave our confined life and go back to campus. Good news for those who missed attending classes in person, but a bummer for those who actually managed their lives better with online education.

Now that we have proved that it is possible to study from home, whenever we’re about to start a new course we ask ourselves: what is better, studying from home or on campus?

While it may seem like a tricky question, the answer is quite simple. It depends on what you want and what you can do.

Here at Gradehacker, we know how great online courses can be; after all we have years of experience helping students like you with essays, exams, and even entire classes!

If you are wondering which method you will choose next, after reading this article you will be more informed on what will be best for you. Here are the five benefits and disadvantages of online courses and going to campus classes.

Let’s begin!

Organization and Time Management

We are starting with the basics here: how can I organize my daily life with my college obligations?

Home vs Campus Student drinking coffee

Studying From Home

The best thing about studying from home is that you can manage your time as you wish! This is especially beneficial for those who have work, family, and other responsibilities. With online classes, you can fit your coursework into your schedule as you wish. Morning, afternoon, midnight, pick your time!

In other words, you have complete control over how to organize your work obligations, hobbies, and other duties. And it’s even better if you are taking an asynchronous class, where you don’t have to log in at a set time for a live lesson. Instead, you have required reading material that will guide you on how to complete the assignments and participate in the discussion forum. Sounds great, right?

Another advantage is that you will always have access to your books, notes, and other important materials. You won’t need to waste time searching for them because they’ll always be there, both on your computer and your class home page!

Home vs Campus Student taking notes

Studying On Campus

On the contrary, if you choose to go to campus, you’ll have to follow a strict class timetable. While the amount of hours it can take you depends on your college and career, it usually takes you more than two hours per day, and in many cases even more! If you have your job and other responsibilities, it might be hard to squeeze all those hours into your regular life.

While people with more flexible jobs will have it way easier than those with fixed obligations, adapting classes to your busy schedule is not impossible. Maybe it takes you more time to graduate since you attend fewer courses per semester, but you will be able to get your degree while keeping your responsibilities on track.

If you know time management is not your strongest point, then check out our 9 hacks to better manage your time! You’ll find the best tips to improve your time efficiency!


Studying On Campus

You probably already knew this, but commuting to classes is one of the principal drawbacks of going to college. There are just so many things that could happen while commuting there. Maybe you have car trouble when you leave home, or worse, you realize that you forgot a final assignment due today on your desk when you are about to arrive on campus.

And if you commute to college by public transportation, then expect to spend more hours waiting in lines and walking around the city streets. In addition, you will face traffic jams and unpredictable schedules. All these factors will inevitably add up to wasted time and lost productivity. Unless of course, you live close to your university.

Home vs Campus Student reading from bed

Studying From Home

However, online students have it much easier, and with the time saved, they can do whatever they like: wake up an hour later, have a nice and comforting meal, or even watch a movie! By studying from home, you spend less time on the bus and more study time in your home, with the sound of a crackling fireplace in the background.

As we mentioned above, it is your time, and you manage it as you wish!

Environment and Performance

The most significant change between both options is the environment where you study and learn.

Studying On Campus

Classrooms are prepared to keep your attention only in the room. There are almost no distractions to take your focus from the lesson, and you are surrounded by people who can motivate you to keep up and stand out. When you go to campus, you simply attend your class and plug into the amazing knowledge you are about to receive.

Home vs Campus Students with teacher

And you have more resources available. It is not only about having more study spaces like libraries and computer labs but human resources too! You’ll have access to professors’ offices and tutors, which can help you reach academic success faster. As a result, you’ll have more opportunities to gain knowledge, and you won’t need to wait until after work to participate in activities and parties.

If you still have a few questions after the lesson ends, you’ll see that in five minutes, your professor can clarify everything if you ask them before they leave! And who knows, maybe you even end up understanding more than the rest of your class!

Studying From Home

On the other hand, by studying online, you choose your own learning environment that works best for your needs: be it your bedroom, your office, the café across the street, or your local gym, listening to your instructor’s lecture as you run on the treadmill. Isn’t that awesome?

Still, online classes don’t get near to achieving the same environment college campus gets. It definitely can be more challenging, as you may find yourself easily distracted by your pet, family members, the fridge, the TV, roommates, and your bed!

Don’t forget about tech problems or limited access to equipment, which might also create a barrier to effective online learning. For several reasons, you might just find yourself not as motivated or productive. Studying from home will require stronger willpower than usual to stay focused and adapt those tried and true strategies in this new learning environment.

Home vs Campus Student distracted

With too much freedom to manage your schedule as you wish, it is easy to relax and save some readings or assignments for the last minute. But if you are not active enough, you could end up spending too many late nights sitting in front of the computer. Not only do you learn less, but you also perform poorlier. 

But as we mentioned, it only depends on you! If you need to strengthen your willpower, the best first step is to create a physical boundary between your study area and your relaxation area. This way, you can stay focused and study from home while keeping your hobbies and daily activities outside of your study space!

Social Life

Another visible difference is the number of social relationships you have in both scenarios.

Studying On Campus

Going to school on campus allows you to interact with classmates who share similar interests and goals. It is easier to form study groups, where you can all help each other out with assignments and share summaries before the exam. Not only does this help build a sense of community, but friendships too.

Home vs Campus Group of student friends

Studying From Home

On the contrary, with online studies, you are primarily by yourself. You read the material, work on the assignments, and prepare for exams independently, and you have minimal contact with your classmates

The online option is great because you can work from anywhere, but it can feel isolating at times. Unless you are comfortable doing most of your obligations alone, the lack of human touch might be hard to cope with. Yes, you can always chat and send emails to your partners, but if there is no reason, it is really unlikely that you find motives to do it.

Whether this is something good or bad relies entirely on what you prefer. If you like minding your own business and only care about complying with your obligations, you won’t miss much gathering and meeting your classmates. But if you work better in teams and enjoy people’s company, then online classes might be challenging for you.


We saved one of the most common questions for last: Which one is more expensive?

Although every case depends on the career you follow and the college you choose, generally online courses are cheaper than their classroom counterparts. According to a study conducted by OnlineU, 80% of public schools have lower rates for online out-of-state students, while 96% of private schools offer cheaper online programs. Moreover, more than one in three public schools charge in-state students less to sign up online.

Home vs Campus Group of students outside

Choose the one that best fits your needs!

So, which one should you choose? Campus or online learning?

As we told you at the beginning, it depends on what you want and what you can do.

If you have a:

then you should definitely consider online learning.

The best of online learning:

On the other hand, if you can manage to:

then in person classes are for you.

The best of studying on campus:

Still, we know that it is not as simple as “group A and B,” but every person has their unique situation. So, before you choose one for your next class, analyze where you are standing, what your available hours are, and which are your responsibilities and goals. Make a Pro and Cons list if you need to!

Once you finish, it will be clear which method suits your needs best.

If you want to continue learning about how to improve your college life, check out some of our related content: