Is it better to stick close to home or go to school far away?

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Our counselors answered:

Is it better to stick close to home or go to school far away?

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Location, location, location.

It's improtant to know in which environments you thrive. Do you need the hustle of a big city to stimulate you, or do you focus well someplace serene and removed? Staying close to home can have benefits both financial and academic - many students will attest to saving money by living at home and making impressive grades without being distracted by the excitement of a freshman dorm. However, equal numbers will claim that exercising their independence by moving away from home was very benificial to their overall maturity. All of these factors can have an overwhelming affect on your experience as a student, and must be considered. However...Do not choose your college because it is close to the beach, has great weather, offers skiing as a minor, or despite not having anything academic to offer you, is in a city you've always loved. none of the above will benefit you in the long run.

Gail Goetz
Educational Consultant Private Practice

Location of school

It depends on the student. Some students need the safety net of being close to home and others need to be nearby due to other extenuating circumstances. However, if a student is willing to go farther, I always recommend it. It is such a learning and growing experience to experience life in a different part of the country and to also meet other students from all parts of the U.S.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Close or far?

The most important factor in choosing a college is its fit for a student, not its location or popularity. Remember, do not buy into the bumper sticker mentality! The ideal school may be close to home—or it could be in another state, even another country! Regardless of where the school is located, it should offer opportunities for intellectual growth, social experiences, and thinking critically. Warning! Just because your friend(s) are going to a particular college does not mean that you should. Most friends who attend school together have found other interests by the end of the first semester. Personalities develop significantly in college, and the right school will promote individual growth. Choosing a school because it is familiar or because your high school pals are going might prevent students from developing as independent, capable people with their own interests and passions. You are going to college to learn, and not just from books.

Judy McNeely

Geographic distances from home

In the 29 years I have done college counseling, I have learned that the distance from home has little to do with the decision of where to attend. The best way to express this is to say that I have had students find the right college and then distances became of little import. When truly involved on campus, even if only a few hours from home, the frequency of trips home is minimal [generally at Dec. break and possibly spring break]. The students are now adults and starting life in their new geographic location.

Reena Gold Kamins
Founder College, Career & Life, LLC.

Location! Location! Location!

Staying close to home is not better than going away and vice versa. Each has its advantages. If you stay close to home, it's easier to visit for long weekends or shorter breaks like Thanksgiving or Presidents' Weekend. But, if you're far away, you get to experience a new part of the country!

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

What are you ready for?

What do you want to do? When in your life will you get the chance to experience something new? When will you have the opportunity to live someplace different? Maybe you feel comfortable close to home, that's fine. Then stay close to home. Maybe you want to explore something totally different. If you are on the east coast, maybe you want to go South or southwest. If you are int he south, maybe you want to explore Philadelphia, New York, Boston, or D.C. If you are on the West Coast, Why would you ever leave that beautiful weather? :) There are some great schools out there that are not close to where you live. Explore them. As an aside, sometimes schools where the cost of living is less, their tuition,room, and board is less too. The difference in cost savings can buy a lot of plane tickets.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Is it better to stick close to home or go to school far away?

It depends upon what you are looking for in your education. The fundamental aspects of the academic experience will not be impacted significantly by how far away you go. However your personal development may be impacted and the informal aspects of your experience will certainly be affected. Things like not being able to return home as easily or as often will impact your developing sense of independence and self-reliance, while your distance from home is also likely to influence the kind of students who will be your classmate, thus impacting your broader educational experience. Too, there are likely to be financial aspects associated with being further away, especially travel costs, so keep that in mind. These types of things rather than the core academic aspects of your experience are the things most impacted by the decision to attend a school far away or close to home—but are important pieces of the equation you consider whether the school is a good fit.

Blake Wrobbel

Is it better to stick close to home or go to school far away?

It's not easy to give a definitive answer for if one should go to school far away or close to home. It really depends on what matters most to you. Some people love to the adventure of being in a place where they can start fresh. Some people want to be close to their parents and high school friends. Some people love (or hate) their home town, and there's nothing wrong with that! Consider the following - Going to school close to home - 1. You'll be able to see your parents on a regular basis. You'll be able to take weekend trips for small holidays. Family can really ease the tension of school when things get tough. 2. You might go to school with friends you went to high school with, which can make the experience that much more fun. 3. You'll likely be relatively (or very) familiar with the location and culture - some people do not like being the inexperienced "new" kid, and knowing about the local culture can set you apart as a good resource for people newer to the area, increasing your exposure which in this highly network driven world is a good thing. Moving far away for school - 1. You will experience the adventure of being immersed in a new city and culture. 2. You will meet an entirely different set of people. They'll have different ideas and ideals, and it can be refreshing to be around a different group of people. 3. Traveling gives perspective. It allows you to see the world from another person's eyes. It allows you to understand more about how the world works and how people interact, which will increase your tolerance and respect for others. It can also be very inspiring! 4. It can establish a feeling a pride and independence especially if it's not common for people in your hometown to travel far away to go to school. 5. It's a challenge to move - some people love that challenge.

Tira Harpaz
Founder CollegeBound Advice

Is it better to stick close to home or go to school far away?

There's no right or wrong answer here. Some students need to be commuters or attend a school close to home for financial or family reasons. Some students like the comfort of knowing that family is close by and that they can return home for weekends. Other students love the idea of traveling across the country for college, to experience a different state, culture or climate. And many students want to go to a school that is within driving distance of home, but not too close.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

Is it better to stick close to home or go to school far away?

Should I stay or should I go? These are questions that only you can answer. Some kids like to stay close to home so they can have mom do laundry, visit easily on weekends, or even live at home. Others like to venture further away and explore a new area of the country, live in dorms, and take advantage of amazing learning opportunities. I get sad when kids stick close to home because parents want them to. Of course, finances play an issue but there are many ways to finance attending a college that is further away. I believe kids should be able to go away and experience the joy of learning at the best college for them. Dorm life is unique and attending the best college for you is the goal. If you need help convincing your parents to let you go away, let us know. We have plenty of parents who have taken the big step and will speak with you or your parents.