The Benefits of Attending College Out of State

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April 8th, 2011

For some students, the transition from high school to college is enough of a change. These individuals might decide to attend a college near their home, or at the very least, in the same state, which allows them to stay close to their family and friends. However, more adventurous students might view college as an opportunity to get a change of scenery, gain their independence or even start a whole new life. To help students decide which path is right for them, here are some of the benefits of attending college out of state.

  • New experiences: Attending a college in the same region that a student grew up in or attended high school may allow them to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones, but it will not do much for broadening their horizons. Students who enroll in a college or university in another state stand the chance of seeing new things and meeting people who they may have never met if they stayed in one location their whole life. This is especially helpful to individuals who wish to broaden their worldview, according to Helium. Though every state has its McDonalds and Wal-Marts, students who attend college far away from home will be exposed to experiences that are unique to a particular region.
  • Independence and personal growth: When a student removes his or herself from their comfort zone, they may put themselves on a path to discovering who they are, and the type of person they will become. According to Associated Content from Yahoo!, personal growth and development is the second most important aspect of the college experience, next to earning a degree. Students who have lived at home their whole life can gain their first taste of independence when they choose to attend college far from home. Though technically these individuals will not be alone — living with a roommate in a dormitory full of their peers — it still provides another step toward adulthood. Helium states that students who live away from home can acquire domestic skills and learn how to solve problems when they cannot rely on their parents.
  • A sense of appreciation: Spending time away from one’s home and family may help students gain a better appreciation of where they come from. When the only times a student can see the house they grew up in is during school vacations, it might make being away from college all the more special. An individual who has been out of state for so long will most likely have more than enough to talk about at Thanksgiving dinner. In addition, all that time spent doing one’s own laundry may help students better appreciate all the years their mothers handled these chores for them.
  • Something to consider: Before applying to a far away college, students should know that they will most likely have to pay a higher tuition, as non-residents do not contribute to the funding of state schools through tax payments. However, there are ways for students to obtain out-of-state tuition waivers, according to University Parent Connection. For instance, if a desired degree is not available in a specific commonwealth, individuals may be eligible to participate in a tuition-exchange program or receive a reduced rate. School teachers, newly settled retirees, university faculty and staff as well as active-duty military personnel who are stationed in the area have the ability to receive out-of-state tuition waivers from select schools, according to the website. In addition, dependents of these individuals may also benefit.

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