ok (within reason I am not talkiing about an extra 300/month here) your time is more valuable in my opinion- maximize your time per day by limiting commute makes sense to me but w/out specifics I can't really speak to your case
I chose to make sacrifices to live closer to school. One of those sacrifices was the additional money for rent each month, but the bigger sacrifice was in living in a neighborhood that is a little...sketchy. To me it is worth it knowing that I can walk to and from school each day and, if I forgot something, make a run back to the homestead.
I guess it depends how *far* away you're thinking. I decided to get an apartment about 20 mins away from campus, because it was bigger, in better condition, in a safer/quieter neighborhood and less expensive. I wanted to live close very badly, but the partying, unsafe neighborhoods and teeny tiny apts I found turned me off, and I started looking in the suburbs.
I am planning on doing a lot of my studying at the library anyway, after classes, and then going home for the day, not going back and forth. Also, getting a good amount of sleep is VERY important to me, and I can't stand loud neighbors...the place I'm in is smack dab in the country, and it's super quiet. The walls are concrete, so you can't hear your neighbors much anyway. (And my downstairs neighbor is married with a baby, and in dental school. SCORE).
I chose to pay more for a closer apartment. Part of this is a time issues, esp since I plan on staying in the same place all four years so I think I will value my time alot during third year rotations. When I am that short on free time I don't want to be spending it in traffic on the I-10 for an hour a day. The other is that the reason I chose a medschool located in a city (and specifically in New Orleans) is because I love cities (specifically New Orleans even more than other cities, except NYC which I just couldn't afford to live well in yet). Why on earth would I chose an urban school just to go spend my free time in suburbia where everything looks the same. My home has the character of the city that I love so much. I love the fact that I am so close to the life of the city whenever I have time to be a part of it. For heaven's sake, you can hear Jazz Fest from my front porch. In my mind, all of that is worth more rent each month, as long as it stays within your budget I would say go for it.
time is of importance, especially when your stuck in traffic. Lets face it gas is not getting any cheaper aither. So take those factors into consideration. But if your more comfortable living farther from school than you should just go for it.
my ex swore by paying more to live ultra close to school...this was in DC...so i guess in a big city it's even MORE important since you are looking at dealing w/ public transport on a daily basis versus not. i guess it depends on you...i am always a person who puts a big value on conveinence and all. plus, with 1st year you're meeting people and all and going out a decent amount, at least at first, and living close really enables this.
I'm opting to pay a little more to live within walking distance. I figure I'll get some of that back in saved parking costs at the school, and in gas & maintenance on my car, which I will probably rarely use my first two years. Of course, the neighborhood is also really nice, so that helps. And as psipsina said, I love being in an urban area. Why commute out to the boring suburbs when there's so much right around school? I've commuted all summer, and I'm thrilled that I can go back to walking to school again come August.
I chose to live further away from my medical school. I had a 30-minute commute by subway but I loved using that time to preview for my courses or relax before getting home. If I drove the commute would have been about 25 minutes door to door but I hated worrying about my car and paying for parking so I was a subway mole for the first two years.
Many of my classmates lived on campus in the graduate school housing but moved out after first year because they were just tired of the "dorm" atmosphere. During first year, you spend loads of time in the Gross Anatomy lab so you are not home that much anyway.
As a surgery resident, I have a 15-minute drive to the hospital. I like not living too close to any hospital because I cannot stand the ambulance noise and extra traffic. I also do not like having loads of folks standing around near my neighborhood as they wait for public transportation.
I live in a wondeful, quiet neighborhood with a huge lake practically in by back yard. My dogs and run in the woods without worry and my neighbors are great. I also feel a part of a community rather than just another urban dweller.
My wife and I decided to move further out from the chaos of D.C. A lot of my classmates live within a 5 min walk of school, while my commute is 25 min by metro. The time on the metro is long enough to get in some decent study and get ready for the long day of classes.
I chose to live close to school. I agree with the others here, it all depends on you and your preferences. For me, I will prob move further away during my 3rd and 4th year, but for now, I'm staying close to school for the convenience.
I pondered this same question recently while looking for a house in albany. During a random conversation with a 4th year, he mentioned he was on beeper call or optho, and wanted to go home and only return if he got paged, but his house was 20 minutes away and he ended up just hanging out in a student lounge. (he said with his luck he would open the door to his house right as a bus full of nuns got into a head on with a toothpick truck-hehe) anyway, that influenced my decision quite a bit. -- don't really know how often that scenereo will come into play but whatever. also being able to go home for lunch (yeah, its a bit antisocial) is nice and saves some cash.
I'm living right next to my school, literally six houses away. I very much love being in charming downtown Charleston, and I'm planning on enjoying the three-minute pedestrian commute, but I haven't actually started classes yet. So I should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, I'm excited about the prospect of my walk between different destinations on campus actually being longer than my walk from my house to the classroom.
I guess that you have to take verything into consideration. For me, I can't read/study on the bus. I had been working at the school I am going to go to and while I was working I had a 45 minute commute by bus. At that time, I opted for the nicer, bigger, newer place to live because I didn't care as much about the commute. Now that I am going to school, I moved close enough to where to commute by bus is 15 minutes. I figured that was a good enough distance away to feel the separation from school, but close enough to where I am not wasting time not being able to study.