In state vs. out of state

As current seniors are phasing out of the college application process and current juniors are phasing in, both groups know very well (or are preparing to know) the ins and outs of the process. Whether you’re dead set on a school, or exploring your options, one of the things that most seniors will deal with in their process is deciding on staying in state or going out of state. At the beginning of my senior year, I was set on going out of state. In fact, I was set on going as far as I possibly could. Now, after 19 college applications, I have finally decided on a division three liberal arts school that’s an easy, one hour drive from my house. I feel like if myself from a year ago knew what my final choice was, she would kill me. So how did I get here, and why does it matter to you? Let me explain. 

First and foremost, every college decision is different. Some people have different priorities than others and my analysis isn’t applicable to every person, but I do believe it to be important to everyone that’s going to go through this process. About a year ago, I saw the majority of seniors from the class of ‘21 go to state schools. I was more judgmental than I should’ve been. I went in with the mindset that “I’ll never be like them” and “I could never stay in state.” As I began my application process, I applied to schools in Chicago, South Carolina, Vermont, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. And I got into most of them too, but as soon as I was informed of how much I would be paying for tuition, it almost felt wrong to accept it. As time goes on, college tuition is only becoming greater. You see college graduates today drowning in student debt and people willingly preparing to go into debt just because of a name. And I’m not trying to tell anyone that you shouldn’t go to your dream school because of tuition. If I could, I would at Notre Dame or Georgetown in a heartbeat, but it can’t be denied that state schools offer equally good opportunities both during and after attending college. Not only this, but the idea of being miles and miles away isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. I’m a homebody at heart and love the comfort of my bed. When I’m sick, you’ll find me under the diligent care of my mother every single time. And there’s no shame in that!

` Throughout this process, one of the biggest things I’ve come to learn is that stigmas (both against myself and others) are a big proponent in college decisions and applications. If you stay in state you’re lame, If you don’t get into Harvard you’re stupid, etc. What’s most important to remember going into or leaving the process is that everyone wants something different from their college/post high school experience. It’s important to eliminate the preconceived notions, and be honest with yourself. What do I want most these next four years? What place will give that to me? Putting yourself first and not others’ ideas is your best bet at not only completing this process, but enjoying it. So have fun, and happy searching!