The first major life decision many students make is whether or not to attend a college. Next is whether to attend one close to home, a little distance from home or a long way from home. The location of the schools considered is important, but there is no set answer for every student. Let’s take a look at what each location has to offer, both positively and negatively.
Choosing to attend a school while living at home can be great for some students. Some of the positive things about this arrangement are:
- It is often less expensive
- There is regular contact with familiar friends and family
- The area is familiar and the change to a college environment is less drastic
Some of the major negative things about choosing a college near home are:
- No chance to experience dorm life or many other social events
- Family tends to treat you as they always did rather than as an adult
- Less chance to discover yourself without the influence of family
For those who are not yet ready to become fully independent, this environment offers a great chance of success. Having the nearby support of friends and family can help keep the experience from becoming overwhelming. If you yearn for a chance to see what life is like in other places, meet new people or feel stifled at home, success will be harder to achieve as you feel a general discontent.
A Short Distance
For this category, think in terms of locations less than one hundred miles or a two hour drive. At this distance, you get the positive things like:
- Chance to visit home frequently, such as every break or weekends
- Independence with the knowledge that if it becomes too difficult family can get to you quickly
- The chance to meet new people and fully engage in college social life
Locations at this distance can have the following negative traits:
- Very little private time
- Everything is unfamiliar and may feel overwhelming
- You can’t visit home if you don’t have transportation
For students who need quiet in order to study or those extremely close to family, this may create a situation where grades suffer due to inability to concentrate or homesickness. Students who can handle studying with constant noise and those seeking a chance to become independent without constant family interaction will thrive in these locations.
This category covers locations that are more than 100 miles from home. They can be across state, in another state or even in another country. The positive benefits of these locations are:
- A chance to become completely independent
- Meeting new people, trying new things and discovering who you are as a person
- No family obligations taking time away from study
The negative traits of a long distance college are:
- The most expensive of your choices
- No family support readily available
- Chances to visit home are few and far between
Students coming from restrictive or chaotic family backgrounds will be more successful in these locations, as will those wishing to move quickly into the next stage of life. For students who need the familiar and want to keep close ties with family, homesickness and a feeling of being alone can hinder the learning process.