Go Far or Stay Close? Pros and Cons of Going Out of State for College



Whether you’re in the process of putting together your college list or thinking about future possibilities, you may have wondered if going out of state for college is right for you. The decision to go out of state, or not, is a big one, and even if going out of state does not necessarily mean you’ll be far from home distance-wise, there are still many financial and practical factors to consider. However, there are also potential advantages to going to college out of state that make the idea appealing to students. So if you are considering going out of state for college, read on to find out the pros and cons of this important decision.


Pro: Independence. If you go out of state for college, you will most likely be putting significant distance between yourself and your home and family. Being further away from family means you won’t be able to rely on them, and you’ll be forced to go out of your comfort zone and learn valuable life skills in order to live as an independent adult in your college town or city.


Con: Finances. Going out of state for college can be expensive. Not only are there travel costs to consider whenever you go between home and school, but going out of state can also limit your scholarship opportunities as well. Many state governments offer scholarships for students who choose to stay in-state, and state universities often reserve their scholarships for in-state students. While there are merit scholarships that you can apply to regardless of where you’re from, most state schools, including the largest public university system, the University of California, only consider in-state students for their scholarships. Similarly, out-of-state students at a state university often are charged higher tuition than their in-state counterparts.


Pro: New Faces and Experiences. Going to a university near home or a large university in your home state most often means that you’ll be attending college with many familiar faces from high school. While some enjoy the comfort of already knowing their peers, and making new friends can be a daunting prospect, for someone who craves adventure, going to college further from home ensures that they will go out of their comfort zone, be exposed to people of different backgrounds, and have many eye-opening, new experiences.


Con: Possibly lower acceptance rate. This con only applies to state schools that favor in-state students; however, it is important to be aware that some state schools may be extra selective in admitting out-of-state students. Since state colleges are meant primarily to serve their communities, out-of-state students who apply are often held to a higher standard and have to meet more strict criteria to gain acceptance. To view a comparison of in-state vs out of state acceptance rates for top public universities, click here.


Pro: More options and opportunities. Many states, due to their size and population, simply do not have many universities within their borders. Looking at out-of-state schools allows you to be more selective and apply to schools that fit your interests and desires rather than being limited to colleges nearby, which may not be a good fit. Similarly, some students may find more opportunities for their future careers by going out of state to a city or region where jobs are abundant.


Con: Homesickness. College is a challenging time, where you will face stressful and new situations. It is in these times that it can be difficult to be far from home and away from your support system of family and friends. Everyone who goes to college out of state will experience homesickness at some point in their college life, whether they are missing their family, friends, or their favorite local restaurant, and it is an important factor to consider when deciding whether to go out of state, as homesickness can have a negative impact on your college experience. Similarly, being out of state often means one will not be able to go home as frequently due to travel considerations, so you may miss out on events or celebrations happening at home.


Deciding whether or not to go out of state is a big decision. It requires time, careful consideration, and, ideally, college tours to help you decide if going to an out-of-state college is right for you. If you’re thinking about college or need help putting together your college list, reach out for a free consultation.