Choosing a college close to home probably sounds like a dream to your parents. They probably love the idea of having you close and maybe you do too, but going to school in the ballpark of your hometown isn’t the right fit for everyone.
So, for those of you trying to decide if staying close to home is right for you, we’ll lay out the pros and cons of choosing a college around the corner from your hometown.
1. Food – Not Microwaved
Ramen and nuked mac and cheese can only hold you over for so long. You can only substitute an actual meal with a granola bar for a few weeks until your craving system starts screaming for some food made by Chef Boyar-mom, rather than Chef Boyardee. A quick trip home for a Sunday night dinner gives you a relief from the microwavable meals in the dorms.
2. Escape From Campus
Sometimes a college campus can get a little constricting. You do everything on the college grounds – you eat, study, go to class, hang out with friends, and sleep on campus. Your entire life happens in the same area, and it might leave you feeling trapped mid-semester.
Running home for a quick nap in your own bed or a snuggle with your loving pet can be a relief for the soul and an energizer to finish out the remainder of the semester.
3. No FOMO
The thought of missing out on your little brother’s first home run or your cousin’s final dance recital can give you some serious FOMO (i.e. Fear Of Missing Out). Going home for an hour-long recital isn’t a problem when home is a quick road trip away.
4. Avoid Clothing Clutter
Stuffing all of your clothes for an entire year can be quite the task. Figuring out where to put your winter jacket while your denim shorts take precedence in the early months of classes is a little tougher than you might expect. Finding room for your warm-weather clothing is easier while your cold-climate stuff waits patiently at home.
It’s tough to expect when the weather will take a change for the colder, so having your snow boots nearby to pick up is a definite benefit for choosing a school close to home.
5. Laundry Load
Laundry rooms in the dorms are typically packed, and taking the time out of your busy schedule to watch your clothes dry (which is comparable to watching paint dry) is means for wearing those dirty jeans to class just a couple more times.
But, if you’re close to your mother’s clothing washing talent, you might be able to bribe her into doing a few loads of laundry for you.
6. In-State Tuition
In-state tuition is cheaper than out-of-state – a lot of times, it’s thousands of dollars cheaper. If you’re already fretting about the cost of college, consider your in-state options!
7. Parent Visits
You won’t have to wait for parents weekend to get a free meal. Your parents will miss you, and taking you out to dinner will be a perfect weekend activity for them and you. It’s a good opportunity to keep them updated (and to ask for a little extra cash if they’re feeling generous).
8. Small Holiday Weekends
Unfortunately you won’t get a weeklong break for every national or religious holiday (though it’d be nice…). On those holidays like Easter and Labor Day, you won’t miss out on the yummy meals and unparalleled family memories.
9. Move-in/Move-out Ease
Stuffing your entire life into a U-Haul behind your car is hard enough. Having to make it fit in one trip is even harder. With a campus closer to home, you might be able to con your parents into making a couple (few) trips to get that last bag (or two) of clothes to your dorm.
1. Can’t…Let… Go
So, your parents love you. They might joke about getting you out of the house, but they’ll miss you. They’ll miss knowing where you are at all times and knowing that you’ll be home on curfew (or at least close).
Having you close to home might make your parents feel like they’ve still got you for a couple more years. They may have a harder time letting go of being your guidance, making it hard for you to grow independently.
2. “Hello” Marathon
If you go to a college close to where you went to high school, you’ll also be close to the people who went to high school with you. You could find yourself walking to class and feeling like you’re back in the halls of your high school. Seeing familiar faces can be nice, but saying hello to that many people might make the college experience feel a little too familiar.
3. Scenery Clone
Your close-to-home campus is probably surrounded by a lot of the same stores, interstates, and sceneries. Driving from campus to run errands will make you feel a bit of déjà vu, like you’re running to the grocery store for you mom.
4. Too Many Home Visits
Though it might be nice to grab a quick home-style meal from your parents, you might catch yourself doing it a bit too often. You’ll miss out on the college experience if you let yourself run home every weekend. We get it, it’s comfortable there. But, being in uncomfortable situations is part of college!
5. Parental Expectations on Visits
So, maybe you’re not all about going home every weekend. You enjoy your newfound independence. But now mom is like, “honey, I made your favorite dinner tonight. Aren’t you going to come home?” She lays the guilt trip and then you find yourself feeling like you have to make the trip home for that plate of spaghetti.
6. Missing Out on Mr./Miss Independent
Taking your laundry home sounds nice and convenient, but you won’t be able to ask your parents to do your everyday responsibilities forever. Letting yourself avoid those responsibilities could put off your process of growing up.
Making new friends is seriously important in college, and it all starts in the dorms. Hanging out with people from high school is fine, but it can turn your blinders on to possible new friendships. New friendships in college open up your eyes to appreciate the differences in people, and surrounding yourself with high school friends could limit the possibility of making a more diverse group of friends.
Ultimately the decision is yours. If that means you’re 1000 miles away on a campus that you’ve always dreamed about or one you never thought you’d like but it feels like home then that’s great! If you feel that same “this is it!” feeling 5 miles from home? That’s great too. You have to choose the situation that is right for YOU.