Close to Home or Far Away?

You’ve gotten accepted to two excellent schools: one is a half hour away from home. The other is across the country. The pros and cons of both are the same in every other way. Now what do you do? How does location factor into which college you decide to attend?

Some questions to consider:

How often do you think you’ll want to visit your parents?

This depends on your relationship, your level of independence, and assessing your own personal needs. If you think the transition from living away from home is going to be incredibly difficult for you, maybe consider a school closer to home. If you’re itching to get out and explore this big wide world, maybe you’d do better farther away.

What kind of weather/climate do you like?

Ok, this obviously shouldn’t be your first deciding factor, but if you’ve got to think of something to help you decide…will you miss building a snowman in winter if you go to Los Angeles? Will you be depressed if your skin gets pasty white in Providence?

Do you like your hometown?

Many students write off going to college close to home because they think it’s not the “right thing to do.” There is no “right thing” in this situation – there is only the “right decision for you.” If you seriously love your hometown and you love the college there, why not stay? Visit the school, take a full tour, see the library, eat in the dining hall, and while you’re checking it out, pretend it’s out of state to help you get a fresh perspective.

What kind of campus do you want?

If you grew up in suburbia, maybe you want a more urban or maybe a far more rural campus. If you grew up in a small town and liked it, maybe you should go to a small rural college. If you grew up in a rural area, liked it, but think you want to experience a different way of life, then pick a more urban or suburban campus.

Will you learn independence if you stay close to home?

If you stay close to home, will you continue to rely on mom and dad to take care of you? Will you be able to manage your own study schedule, your own basic needs of eating and bathing and cleaning? Will you be able to socialize the way you’d want to? If convenience is the only reason you want to stay close to home, reconsider. College is a time to learn to be independent. If you’re the type of person who can be independent in close proximity to your parents, then staying close to home may be fine. But if you think you may need that little extra push, distance might be just the thing you need.

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