Should I Stay Close To Home for College?

When deciding between colleges, for a lot of students the choice comes down to one question: Should I Stay Close to Home?

Some students are ready to spread their wings and have no problem traveling half way across the country to attend the school of their dreams. Other students may find it difficult to drift too far away from their family and familiar surroundings. If you’re in the process of making this really difficult decision, consider these advantages and disadvantages before you make your final decision.


  • 1. In-State Tuition – If you decide to attend a public university in the state that you currently live in, you can save big on tuition costs. Public universities offer lower tuition costs to students who are residents of that particular state. Out-Of-State Tuition can be tens of thousands of dollars more than In-State tuition, so you can save a lot of cash by choosing to attend college locally.
  • 2. Maintain Friendships – One of the most stressful things about going away to college is leaving all your friends behind. If you decide to attend college close to home, there will likely be a few students from your high school who will be attending the same college as you. Having a few familiar faces around during the first few weeks of freshman year can make finding friends and staying social a lot easier.
  • 3. Go Home More Frequently – Staying close to home makes it easy to quickly get home in case of emergencies or to visit your family whenever you want. Having the ability to jump in car, rather than head to the airport, makes it a lot easier to travel home for holidays, birthdays, or just plan ‘ole weekend visits.
  • 4. Familiar Surroundings – Some students feel safer knowing that they are familiar with the area that their college is located in. You’ll likely know which areas of town are safe and which areas to avoid. Since this will be the first time most students are away from home, this extra layer of security can help calm their fears about living on their own.


  • 1. Getting Too Comfortable – It’s totally fine to hang out with your high school friends in college, but don’t forget to make new friends. College is about spreading your wings and experiencing new things, so if you only hang out with your high school friends then you’re limiting yourself. Some students who attend college close to home get caught in this cycle and don’t get as much out of their college experience.
  •  2. The Campus Experience – If you attend college close to home, you might be tempted to go home every weekend. Students who go home every weekend totally miss out on what the campus experience has to offer. Weekends are the time for you to bond with your roommate, hang out with friends and participate in campus events.
  • 3. Less Independent – Students who attend college close to home tend to be more dependent on their family, whereas students who live further away from home tend to be more independent and self-reliant.  If you know that mom and dad are miles and miles away, you’re more likely to put more effort into working through life’s challenges.  These skills can prove to be useful for the remainder of your adult life.
  • 4. Old = Boring – College is supposed to be an entirely new phase of your young adult life. Going to a brand new environment, with unfamiliar faces and a fresh new landscape can be really exciting. It’s an adventure that you’ll never forget!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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