Some students can’t wait to get away from their hometown to explore somewhere far from home, others are a little hesitant to venture too far. This is a big conundrum that many (if not most) students face during their college search process.
But a lot of factors go into picking which college you attend, and though geography may be a big contender, it is affected by other factors. So when you’re considering near or far, keep these things in mind:
Which college has the program I’m interested in?
It might be that no nearby colleges really offer the best geology courses that you want to pursue—this may cause you to look a bit farther off in terms of distance. Maybe during your research, you found the ideal college, but it’s all the way across the country. How badly do you want to pursue that geology degree? Passion and academic interest play a big part.
Or maybe you’d like to get out of your area, but the best English programs are at the college not two hours from your hometown. Do you want to move away more than you desire a great program? You have to balance out your interest and make compromises in certain areas.
How does financial aid affect my decision?
Some students are hesitant to go out-of-state because of the hike in tuition or the superior financial aid programs in-state. For those who are worried about their financial situation but are interested in an out-of-state school, speak with their financial aid office to see if there are any special programs that help out out-of-state students! Some even offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students in certain situations. Do your research to find what opportunities are available!
The reduced sticker price of in-state tuition is appealing to many students as well and for good reason. College is expensive, and the cost can be greatly reduced by seeking out all of the aid opportunities—in-state tuition, scholarships, grants, etc. Staying put may be beneficial to your wallet.
Even the most ambitious “I can’t wait to move away” type students get a little homesick sometimes. For students who went to college near their hometown, it’s relatively easy to swing back for a weekend at home—where mom can do your laundry and dad can cook up a great home meal and save you from a diet of ramen and leftover pizza. Distant students don’t have that luxury, and can sometimes only come home on breaks or for certain holidays (if then!). But there are ways to lessen homesickness for those who can’t as easily travel home for a visit. This is definitely something to keep in mind when picking a college near or far.
If you’re eager to get out there and explore different areas of the country, how different of a place are you looking at? If you’re moving from a city to a rural area or vice versa, it might take you some time to adjust to a new style of living—which can be difficult as a freshman. On top of new responsibilities, independence, and living situations, getting used to a new cultural feel can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s not to say it’s not worthwhile, of course, but it is another adjustment to make. Finding the right college fit is important.
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