High school graduation marks the transition into adulthood. It is a time of excitement as one life chapter ends so that another begin. Those who look to continue their education are faced with a very important decision as they seek out colleges: stay in-state or go out-of-state?
This is a crucial decision to make, as choice of college determines a lot in where you will go after college and how you’ll proceed with your field of study. Like many important decisions, your choice of college should be well thought out. Here are some pros and cons to studying out-of-state to aid in the decision making.
Better programs. Schools that are in your state may not be the best for the field of study you choose. When searching for colleges, it is possible that the college that will provide what you need is in a completely different state.
New experiences. College in and of itself leads to brand new experiences, but those experiences increase when your college is not in your home state. There will be lots more to do and see, as well as new people to meet and befriend.
Enhanced independence. The increased distance from your parents means you truly have a chance to be independent. With all the fun and excitement of college also comes more responsibilities and potential pitfalls. Living out-of-state truly offers the opportunity to learn how to fend for yourself.
No safety net. On the other hand, when it comes down to it, you really are on your own. Should something go awry during college, be it a misunderstanding that leaves you without a place to stay or a medical emergency, getting help will be more difficult, if possible at all. This is especially daunting during the first year of college, when everything is new and unfamiliar.
More expensive. Colleges cut local students a break with tuition and other expenses in order to appeal to them more. The consequence is that out of state students pay more out of pocket. There is also less financial aid available to students who aren’t considered residents; residency requires at least one parent or legal guardian to reside within the state for a specific amount of time with the dependent student. This could range anywhere from a few months to a couple of years.
Looking for the right college is best started during your junior year of college. Starting early allows the time to do extensive research on what college is right for you, as well as how far away is too far. If you are more comfortable staying close to home during the first year, there is the option of transferring later on after accruing class credits. Community colleges within your hometown typically make transferring credits easy later down the line.
Whatever choice you make, make sure it is the choice that works best for what your goals are and what you personally want. College is more than an extension of education related to your ideal career, it is a memorable experience that, if done right, will be remembered fondly later on in life.