Building your College List: Location, Location, Location
- How far are you willing to move for college?
- Is a one-hour commute too close?
- Would you consider leaving the state?
Distance is a huge factor when deciding on your college list. Of course going to college close to home has its pros and cons, but if you are itching for a new environment, here are some things to consider when considering schools outside of your home state.
The weather will affect many aspects of your life in a different state. The weather impacts the way you dress and your day-to-day activities. It is also shown to impact people’s mental health.
Studies have found that people experience the winter blues, or more seriously, Seasonal Affective Disorder, in areas with low exposure to sunlight. If you are tired of the sudden thunderstorms and the heavy snowfall here on the east coast, consider looking at schools in sunny California or Florida!
The local culture should also be a huge factor in your decision making process. Even if you move to a different area of your home state, you might experience some cultural differences.
For starters, the colloquial language can be very jarring. Even the food can be very different! What is considered pizza in the West Coast, is not considered pizza in the East Coast. Bay Area Pizza is thin crust and filled with toppings–some even come with a herb dipping sauce. Even if you might be thrown off by the different social and food cultures, college is a time to broaden your horizons. If you always wanted to experience life in a different city, take this opportunity to make the move.
When you are not on campus attending class or studying for an exam, you will be off-campus. Not only will you be spending that time exploring the new environment, you will also be responsible for finding a new dentist, gym, and housing (if you are not planning to live in the dorms).
Remember, attending college in a new environment will only enhance your independence! You will be making new friends, finding favorite spots in the neighborhood, and ultimately becoming the adult of your dreams.
You will make most if not all of your connections in college! These connections become vital when you graduate and enter the workforce. Therefore, it is very important to consider where you might want to relocate to. Research into the college’s alumni network and where the alumni end up working. If you are considering majoring in music, you might want to consider schools in Los Angeles and New York over cities in the midwest. The connections you make in college will impact your adult life, make sure you choose wisely!
If you move out of state, you will be unable to drive home during the weekends or even holidays like some of your high school friends! You will be unable to rely on your parents for support the further you move away from home. Most importantly, be prepared to experience homesickness. I know, feeling homesick sounds far fetched, but promise me, you will feel it. If you do not feel it at the beginning of your term, you will feel homesick when you are exhausted after midterms or finals.
Make sure to purchase plane tickets months in advance and utilize Zoom and FaceTime to keep in touch with friends and family back home. Even if you are unable to keep in contact with close friends and family members, remember that every cloud has its silver lining; you will be way more independent and self-sufficient after you graduate.
Building Your List
Of course, all of these factors are trivial when the school you are looking into is nationally ranked in the major of your interest. However, when relocating to a different area of the country, these factors can make or break your college experience! Make sure to do your research thoroughly before you apply to each school.
If you need help with building a college list and researching each college, don’t be afraid to ask for help! And if anything, make sure to ask your friends and family if they also believe moving to a new area will be beneficial to you.
Want more expert guidance? Check out our Roadmap to College program, where we guide you every step of the way in building the best college list and optimizing your chances of getting in to your dream school!