Opposing Opinions: College Location

Jamie Lee ’19

Elliot Kim ’19

Question: Should students go to college far away from home?

For College Away from Home

Senior year is exciting.

After all, there’s so much to look forward to: prom, grad-nite, graduation. But, there’s another more stressful thing to consider: what am I going to do after high school? Though, as frightening as that question may be, the answer is just as exciting.

Most seniors plan to further their education at a college of their choice. Yet, no matter what institution they choose to attend, students should carefully think about housing. Even if it’s just another college near their hometown, students should move away from their parents.

First off, moving to a new area, without your parents’ constant watch will give you a new sense of independence. There will eventually come a time where you have to move away from home for good. Attending college away from home will prepare you for this because it will teach you how to live on your own. How are you supposed to learn and grow if you’re never allowed to experience what it’s like to do things alone? Of course, Mom won’t be there to help with laundry or to cook dinner everyday, but you’ll learn these basic life lessons and many more, like how to pay a parking ticket or how to pick up a prescription. You will make your own decisions and be held accountable for them, and you will take on adult responsibilities and experiences which may be your first real-world independence.  

Furthermore, going to college outside of your home region will allow you to get a fresh start. A lot of students want to try reinventing themselves or experiment during college, and going further from home will make this much easier. None of your high school mistakes or expectations will follow you. New friendships, activities and lifestyles will come naturally, without the shadow of your high school self dragging you down. For many students, it’s a refreshing way to turn over a new leaf.

Unfortunately, however, leaving home will give you a financial burden you’ve never experienced before. Learning how to deal with and overcome this problem will be a lesson you will learn from. Managing the pocket will become an art. Because your parents are no longer there to help you financially, you will learn how to run frequent errands and make smart purchases. The more you save, the more your weekend budget increases, which leads me to the next benefit of moving away from home: flexibility.

With no parents to give you strict rules and curfews, college life will inevitably be more interesting. A new place fills you up with intrigue; you will try places with friends that you couldn’t visit with the old-folks back home (and maybe stay up and hang out on a few late nights).

However, leaving home means leaving your familiar, best friends and your family. Although it will be difficult to keep in touch with your old friends, attending college away from town will teach you how to keep in touch with people who matter in your life. You will also learn of the people who bother to keep in touch with you and how much you mean to them and vice versa.

Leaving for college far from home is always an emotional event, since it implies leaving the nest and fending for yourself. But this is exactly why you should explore colleges away from home. Not only will you learn lessons about life, but you’ll have a chance to discover things about yourself that you wouldn’t have expected. At home, your mind and body are used to a few defined chores, tasks and experiences, but independent living brings out the hidden in you. You might realize that while your cooking is doomed for life, you might also discover that you are an excellent seamstress and cleaner of utensils. Go you!

 

Against College Away from Home

Every year, as seniors begin researching colleges, they are met with the same dilemma: is it better to go to school far away or close to home?

As a senior who is currently applying to college, I have thought over this question at great length. While independence is an integral part of adulthood and most people will eventually have to live on their own, I believe that the benefits of attending college near your home greatly outweigh these considerations.

First off, when it comes to choosing any college, one of the most important factors is the cost. While there are a few students fortunate enough to easily afford any school without financial aid, for the vast majority of students, higher education is a very large investment, and therefore affordability becomes a crucial factor in any college decision.

By attending an in-state public school, you get to enjoy a great education for a significantly reduced tuition ($13,900 in-state as opposed to $42,900 out-of-state for the UCs). If you decide to attend a college within easy driving distance of your home, you can also save significant amounts of money on other costs, such as housing and transportation.

Probably one of the largest reasons for me, personally, as to why I would like to attend college near my home is because I get to be near my family. Not having to travel far for events like family events and birthdays is a huge perk, and simply being able to see my family will help me deal with the inevitable stress that will build up during college.

As someone who is not the most responsible person in the world, I find that being near your family gives you peace of mind. If emergencies or urgent situations occur, the people you trust the most will be nearby to help. In the case that you leave something at home while moving in, being close to your house will prevent the need of shipping the item or buying a new one.

Staying near home also makes daily life much easier. Space is limited in dorms, and bringing your entire wardrobe and all your possessions is simply impractical. Having your room nearby gives you easy access to all your belongings without trying to fit them all into your closet at school. Furthermore, because of the sheer amount of students living on campus in most universities, being able to use the laundry room at home instead of the ones in your dorm is a large benefit (and it’s free).

Many students are simply unprepared for the shock that is living completely independent of anyone else. Not having someone to check on your well-being can be risky and anxiety-inducing, especially if you come from a family where your parents are involved in many aspects of your life. If you are someone who easily gets homesick, that is probably a sign that going to a college that is close by is a good idea.

Overall, while college is an important step into becoming a self-reliant individual, it is important to also consider the many advantages of staying near your home and family.

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