8 Reasons to Consider Out-of-State Colleges and Universities
While parents may prefer that their High School graduate consider in-state colleges and universities, it is not unusual for students to push for an out-of-state experience. High-schoolers considering colleges often find out-of-state options alluring, to be able to spread their wings, especially if their college of choice holds the lure of prestige. Before restricting your sights on in-state schools, consider these possible benefits of an out-of-state college experience.
An out-of-state school may be a good thing to consider if the school specializes in a degree program not offered at a college near home. Some degrees – for example Zoology, Nuclear Physics, Veterinary Medicine, Contemporary Music, Nutritional Science, or Women’s Studies – are less commonly offered across the board.
Lower Tuition Costs
The cost for attending some out-of-state colleges may actually be less than an in-state college. For example, a California resident attending the University of California at Santa Barbara costs around $30,000. That same student may attend the University of Arkansas for around $26,000, Purdue University in Indiana for around $28,000, or the University of Kansas for around $23,000.
Attending a school that is too far away to visit home regularly will require you to develop greater independence, life skills, and self-reliance. If you’re solely responsible for remembering schedules, making and keeping appointments, shopping, healthy eating, laundry, budgeting and bill paying, this gives you an excellent crash course toward confident adulthood.
In these very tight financial times some colleges are having difficulty keeping enrollment up and they may be offering more scholarship opportunities to out-of-state students. Some examples of this are Portland State in Portland, Oregon which offers scholarships to students from several of the western states entering degree programs that are not available to them in their home state. Michigan State offers scholarships to out-of-state pre-med students. Some colleges have scholarships for which all out-of-state incoming freshmen are considered. If money is an issue for you, this is definitely worth considering.
Finding The Right Campus Vibe
In some cases, the college environment may be a good reason for considering an out-of-state college. If a student has grown up in a town of 20,000 persons, enrolling them in a college with a student body of 30,000 may be too overwhelming (or it might be just what you want for a total change of lifestyle!). See what options suit your preferences in your home state and compare them with colleges in other states that offer the environment and opportunities that you want.
New Cultural Experiences
An out-of-state college may offer the student a new cultural experience. There are marked differences in the lifestyles of people from Southern California and Fayetteville, Arkansas, or people from New York City and Phoenix Arizona. A different area of the country will afford you the opportunity to experience new foods, different geography, and perhaps a climate change. Seeing snow for the first time is just as exciting for a Hawaiian student in Massachusetts as going to the beach in February for a New Englander studying in Florida.
Your career choice may play a role in the decision to consider an out-of-state college, if you already know what path you want to take. With some occupations, the college where the degree was earned can be extremely important. Institutions like Harvard Law, John Hopkins Medical, or MIT for math and sciences may significantly impact job opportunity, but it’s also important to remember it’s what you do with your experience, regardless of where you study.
Employment While In College
If you will need to hold a part-time job, and that is increasingly an issue, consider the employment opportunities in the area near the college. Some states have been more heavily impacted by the down-turn in the economy, so part-time job opportunities may be more plentiful in another state.
College is a big step for the High School graduate and for mom and dad. Choosing the right college is a significant undertaking, with many things to be considered, but ultimately you want to find a place where you’ll feel happy, be able to pursue the academic and extracurricular activities that you’re interested in, and feel comfortable. When doing your college search, don’t ignore out-of-state options. Even if you pick one as your wildcard choice to apply, you never know, it might end up being your favorite!
Author: Tal Baron writes for Smart Meetings, a corporate events guide for planning Boston conferences.