Dear High School Student,
I want to shed a bit of light on the subject of going to college in a state other than the one you’re currently living in. Undoubtedly, you’re brimming with joy and happiness as you set your sails beyond the halls of high school and into the seas of adulthood.
Beware though, a cruel, unrelenting storm every adult must face called reality, is a small price to pay to enjoy such freedom.
But, I digress. If you’re thinking of going to school in another state, take your time deciding. You dont want to waste time and money deciding later on that the place you chose was wrong for you.
As a college professor, I hear stories of students choosing a college that’s darn near on the other side of the world. This is quite alright but aside from the desires of going off on your own to experience the next stage of your young life, what would compel someone to be away from everything they’ve ever known during this huge transition in life?
Before making up your mind and signing your life away on the dotted lines of student loan or scholarship docs, let’s look at some real-world issues or challenges you may face going to college out of state.
How much more is it going to cost?
It’s no secret, the cost of tuition rises each year, and it will continue rising. Economists like to call that inflation.
In 1981, the cost of going to college for an undergraduate degree with room and board was $3,489 compared to $19,339 in 2012. Say what? Now, multiple $19,339 times 4 years and the tuition cost rises to $77,536. This doesn’t include food, clothes, entertainment and other adult obligations.
For those lucky enough to earn a scholarship through academic or athletic excellence, the cost of going to college in or out of state may not be an issue. More times than not the college/university isuing the scholarship will pay for the tuition, room and board costs.
If you’re not one of the chosen few to receive a scholarship, it’s important to find out the tuition cost for out of state students. Ask how long it will take to establish in-state residency so that you’re not stuck paying out of state tuition which tends to be higher.
Deciding to move out of state to attend college is more than out of state tuition costs – you need to factor in housing, food, transportation, entertainment and everyday expenses.
If you dont care how much college is going to cost because mommy, daddy or grandparents are paying for you, I caution against this type of mentality because in four short years, you’ll be on your own, working in a job and learning how to survive. There’s no better time than now to begin learning how this thing called “life” truly works, and financial knowledge is key to surviving.
What relocation expenses are there?
Whether you’re college tuition is paid for or not, you will incur relocation expenses, moving truck, shipping costs, packaging, etc. The small, seemingly insignificant costs will pile up, adding to the stress of moving all together. Some things to consider in terms of relocation costs may include:
1. How will you get there? Will you drive, fly, take the bus or train to your new home state?
2. How much of your belongings will you take? Will you or do you have a car when you get there.
3. If you’re driving, does your car need service? Is there tread on the tires? Do the brakes work? Is there water in the radiator? Do you have an emergency kit, tools and/or roadside servicd?
4. If you’re driving, where will you to rest? Do you know the route your taking? What hotel will you sleep at? How much does it cost?
And these are just the costs of traveling to your new home state. Assuredly, you will visit the college before making the decision to go to there or how else would you know you want to go there to begin with?
If you decide to stay off campus in an apartment, you need to figure how much the deposit will be, do you need a fridge or a bed, what about groceries, what will you eat day in and day out, do you have toilet paper, napkins, something to snack on, etc. Boy o boy, there are so many things to consider living on your own.
Adjusting to life without family
The costs associated in deciding to go to college out of state are one thing and replaceable but one thing that can never be replaced is family.
If you’re close to mommy, daddy, grandma, cousins, just know adapting to a new life without them will be painstakingly long, if ever. Everything that was constant for you will become a memory lodged in the recesses or your heart and mind, and so the first few months without friends and family members may make or break you.
Emotionally prepare yourself before leaving the confines of your home and embarking on the journey of a lifetime.
Deciding to go college out of state will cost time, money and stress. Heck, just reading this article may even rob your desire to leave the room mommy and daddy give you, let alone leave the state.
Think long and hard before making the decision to go to college out of state. You may be blindsided with emotions when you arrive at your new home that may knock you on your butt, so develop a schedule to connect with family and friends through whatever media available to you and your loved ones.
Moving away from home is a difficult task no matter how old you are. Just take your time and look at the pros and cons of going out of state. Look beyond the four years of college and to the career that awaits because it’ll be here in the blink of an eye.