Quote from svdbygrc2k9
I live in Long Island and I take LIRR to get to NYC, which is about an hour worth of travel. The on-campus housing rates are pretty astounding! So expensive! You think it's ok for me to commute from Long Island everyday with all the classes that I'm gonna be taking? :/
Well, I think that really depends on three things:
a) your travel options
b) your present living/financial situation
and c) your tolerance for traveling.
I also grew up on Long Island, so I'm quite familiar with the LIRR and its joys lol. I presently live in Brooklyn (Fort Greene) I'll relate your question to my own living situation and hopefully it will help!
Where I live in Brooklyn I'm about a 30 minute subway trip to NYU door to door (I'm actually rather close to Manhattan, but live off the G train which has no direct access to Manhattan, thus extending my trip a little bit). The way I see it these are my access options:
Train (with transfers)- 35 mins
Bus (to train)- 30 mins
Cab/Car- 10 mins with no traffic, around 30 with
Bike- 25 mins
Walking/Running- about an hour (I'm slow lol)
So if the MTA decides to go all haywire for any reason, I still have 3 non-MTA options that get me to NYU in under an hour. Take a look at the LIRR schedule for your branch. Do trains run frequently enough that you have multiple options for when to come in/leave the city? (in case you have an early/late meeting, clinical, etc). I grew up off the Montauk Branch and trains weren't super frequent, plus transferring in Jamaica= no fun. If the MTA whacks out do you have an alternative to get in? A bus line? A car?
Aside from that, your living situation. I presently live in an awesome rent-stabilized one bed that I pay $1295 a month for with heat and hot water included (WAY WAY WAY under market rent for my neighborhood). If I get in and have to quit my job for 15 months I'll likely sublet my place and move a little deeper into Brooklyn with some roommates to save money. There are plenty of Brooklyn neighborhoods that are convenient to NYU (via the R for example). I know I can find a room somewhere for $500-$900 a month depending on how nice of a place I want and how many roommates I'm comfortable living with. $800 a month in savings? Worth extending my commute by 10 minutes or so to me. Do you live at home? Or are your living expenses really reasonable?
Third, what is your tolerance for public transit? Mine is limited lol. I currently work in Yorkville (Hospital for Special Surgery), and my door to door commute is an hour in the AM and an hour and a half in the PM (with traffic, ugh). That's because my AM commute is early, before rush hour really gets going and my PM commute is at the lovely traveling hour of 5 pm. I make the best of it though- I usually get on when the train is pretty empty so I just grab a window seat and read the whole time. In that sense the train ride can be a good thing- an opportunity to force yourself to sit there and study. But if you get on at a station where the train is usually crowded by the time it gets to you that changes things.
So in summary, if you live pretty cheap where you are, have an alternative to the LIRR in case the MTA sketches out and can tolerate some pretty hefty reading time on the train, I would stay there. That said, the experience of living in the city is really great and if it something that interests you at all (and wouldn't be too hard to manage financially, etc) I would go for it. But I would skip the dorms and go the roommate route personally.
Hope that helped a little