Going To College Far Away: Advantages and Disadvantages

“Location, location, location” isn’t typically the phrase that comes to mind when you start thinking about which college to attend.

However, it’s one of the more important aspects of choosing where you’ll spend the next four years after high school.

Some of us are homebodies, while others love to spread their wings a long way from what feels familiar. In order to help you make this decision a bit easier, I’ve used my own experience and some others to show the pluses and minuses of going to college far away.

It’s hard to classify what exactly counts as “far away”. Typically if your parents can’t come knocking on your front door whenever they please, then you’ve officially left the nest. As a rule of thumb, we’ll say any school that’s farther than a 7-hour drive from home is considered far away.


  • As stated above, your parents can’t come knocking whenever they want. You’re not going to see your parents mini-van rolling up when you’re in the middle of one of your football tailgates or come bother you during finals. Even more importantly, they won’t be as likely to come and visit you if you don’t do as well on your finals as expected (although I’m sure none of you have to worry about that).
  • The farther away from home you get, the less likely you’ll be to run into a face you know. To some people this is comforting. They want to leave the past where it is and turn the page to a new chapter. If you want to completely submerge yourself in a new environment, besides the ambience of college itself, journeying farther away for school will set this in stone.
  • As Lisa put it nicely in her article, weather factors in a lot more than you would expect when in college. If you’re from a relatively Midwestern climate like myself, think about all the cold and snowy mornings you attempted to fake sick (or still are trying to fake sick) to avoid a brutally bone chilling day of academics. No one is there to force you to go to class. When push comes to shove, you’ll be surprised at how much more enticing your couch seems than bundling up and going to class. If you’re the type that can’t stand to be inside on a beautiful day, think before moving far south or west before choosing a school. Your class attendance is usually directly related to your success in any course, so be sure you’re prepared to cope with whatever Mother Nature has in store.
  • Another advantage of not having the need to be close to home, means you have a greater pool of colleges to choose from. If you know what you want to major in this gives you the ability to really find a school with a program and situation that fits your individual circumstances.


  • The other side of the parent pickle means that you aren’t going to be able to have the comforts of home whenever you want. You’ll have to wait for breaks and long weekends if you want to cure your homesickness. My friend Brianna who goes to Arizona State University has been going through this because her family and boyfriend are back in Illinois. She’s seriously contemplating changing schools starting next Fall semester.
  • Speaking of sickness, if you happen to get really sick or there is an emergency, your parents aren’t exactly waiting on standby. Whether it’s a financial emergency, like you’ve lost your credit or debit cards, or a real emergency, like your apartment burning down (it definitely happens), some people like the thought of always being able to go home for assistance.
  • Living far from home is certainly pricey as opposed to living an hour or so away. Other than just the regular prices of food and other comforts, the travel expenses are definitely going to factor in at some point. This includes any care package your parents may want to send you and every time you go home, especially if you have to fly.
  • Unless you live in an exceptionally large state like Texas or California, chances are “far away” means out-of-state, which means out-of-state tuition. If you go to a school closer to home you’ll often get the benefit of reduced tuition fees and that can dramatically decrease any likely debt the majority of students will have after they complete college. Going to a school far away usually means forfeiting this perk.
  • The farther away you live, the harder it’s going to be to move most of your belongings, especially if “going to school” means you need a boarding pass. Moving to the other side of the country equals one of two things, unless special criteria exist. One, you have a lengthy road trip ahead of you and your parents have it on the way back. Two, you have a lot of baggage fees to pay and some furniture to buy when you land.

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Lawrence Mack

Lawrence Mack

Lawrence Mack is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in English. When he’s not exercising, eating, reading, writing short stories, or scouring the web, Lawrence is contributing to other blogs. An avid Harry Potter fan, self-proclaimed StumbleUpon and YouTube addict, and underrated when it comes to taking naps, Lawrence is looking forward to studying abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece over the Spring Semester of 2012.