As you visit prospective colleges and begin to identify your top choices, you might run into this common dilemma: Should you attend an out-of-state school? Deciding whether this is an option for you can help you narrow your focus – or expand your options, as the case may be. As you continue to plan your campus visits for next semester and next summer, you should consider these pros and cons of moving far away for a school.
Pros: Your exact preferences might vary, but some students report the following reasons as positive motivations for going to school out of state.
- You might feel a greater sense of independence.
- You might break away from your core group of high school friends, and possibly open yourself up to a wider range of experiences.
- You could access a major and career path that is less available in-state.
- You might make this choice in order to attend a specific, prestigious school.
- Even in the United States, there are cultural differences. Moving out of state can broaden your experiences and perspectives.
- You could experience a drastically different climate, depending where you choose to go. Are you interested experiencing snowy, cold winters?
- Going to school out of state might increase your odds of eventually landing a job in that state. Are you interested in permanently relocating to another part of the country? Why?
Cons: Everyone is different, and some (or all) of these might not bother you. But here are a few potential downsides of moving so far away.
- Losing touch with high school friends is a real possibility. While you can certainly keep up via phone calls, social media, and visits, it’s not quite the same as experiencing college with your closest friends.
- The same goes for your parents; you’ll hardly lose touch, but their support will feel farther away.
- Travel is expensive, and you might not be able to come home as often as you’d like. Are you okay with staying on campus, in a mostly deserted dorm, over some school breaks?
- Moving out of state is a huge commitment. If you don’t like the school, or get homesick, it could be more difficult and expensive to transfer and move to a university closer to home.
- You won’t be able to access any state-based grants or scholarships from your home state. Of course, the lower tuition or cost of living might offset that potential loss, but it’s something to keep in mind.
- You might hate your new climate, or dislike something else about the general area.
Really, these pros and cons depend heavily upon any individual’s unique preferences. Some students view moving out of state as an adventure, while others feel it would be their last choice. Just be honest about what really matters to you, and keep your options open as you continue to explore different schools. Campus visits, preferably more than one, are still the best way to “try on” a potential school. We feel confident you’ll find the right match for you.