You had heard this could happen. You’ve even seen it happen to friends, or friends-of-friends. You never thought it would happen to you: your child wants to leave home and attend school…out-of-state.
It’s understandable that you may have some misgivings about letting your baby bird fly far from home. No more family dinners? Do they even know how to do laundry? And what if you aren’t on-hand if they need you? Alright, enough wallowing. You may be holding your child back just because you want them close—often the best thing you can do for them is to let them go. Here’s why:
Attending school out-of-state allows students to explore a new area and get outside of their comfort zone. Whether that’s a big metropolitan area or a small rural college town, your child will benefit from a new environment. This offers them the opportunity to explore a new place and create their own home—a life-long skill they will take with them through phase after life phase. Really, you are giving them the best gift you can by letting them explore on their own.
A big draw for students to study out-of-state is the opportunity to create a new social space for themselves, and to meet people who are different from those they’ve grown up with. Attending school out-of-state means that your child’s freshman class will be more diverse, or at least that it will feel more diverse to them. They won’t be surrounded by people who grew up in the same social circles, neighborhoods, or with the same influences. This will not only broaden their world but force them to connect with people of different backgrounds. They will have a greater opportunity to learn about new cultures and new perspectives. This can help them to develop new ways of thinking, while also teaching them how to better articulate their own ideas and beliefs. Again, this is a life-long skill they will be able to take with them throughout life. Are you sensing a pattern here?
Recommended Reading: Does it Matter Where You go to College?
If they can’t yet do laundry for themselves, they soon will be able to! Attending school far from home requires your child to develop greater independence, life skills, and self-reliance in a short period of time. Your child will be responsible for creating and maintaining their own schedule, completing assignments on time, shopping, taking care of chores/errands and budgeting. While they might find it overwhelming at first, there is no better crash course in “adulting”. Yet another gift you’re giving them—you really are too generous. Plus, you won’t have to deal with them showing up on your door every week with a giant bag of dirty laundry, so you’re giving yourself a gift as well!
If your child wants to study marine biology, but you live in Iowa…an in-state program is probably just not going to cut it. Or maybe your child hopes to pursue a career in the arts, and there’s no better place than New York City. Forcing your child to apply to and attend in-state programs can severely limit their options and ability to succeed in their desired field. While few students are truly committed to a particular career path upon entering college, you should absolutely give your child the chance to pursue a passion of theirs at the best program available to them, regardless of where it is located.
In the end, the most important thing is to speak openly and honestly with your child about why they want to attend school out-of-state, and whether they will be able to handle it (they probably can, trust us). Listen to what they have to say and remember that this decision is theirs to make. It may be difficult to let them go, but it’s important that they attend the school that will best enable them to succeed as an adult.
Now, read up and get smart:
- College Parent FAQs
- Supplemental Essay Analyses 2018-19
- Admissionado College Case Studies
- Admissionado’s Guide to Senior Year
- Admissionado’s Guide to Junior Year
- Essay Brainstorming Guide
- Admissionado’s Guide to Elite College Admissions
That’ll get you started. Still have questions? Reach out, and let’s gab.
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