The Pros and Cons of Out-of-State College

As a high school student, especially going into your senior year, there are many different factors to consider 🤔 when applying to colleges and universities. One of the biggest decisions to make is whether you want to apply in-state or out-of-state for school. Feeling unsure, needing a little advice, or even wondering where to begin? Don’t stress, Fiveable is here to help you out 😌!

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Benefits of Going to School Out-of-State 😁

There are a handful of pros for you to attend a college out of state! Here is a list of a couple:

1. Experience 🌃

College is the time to explore and try different things! Going to school out-of-state opens the door for many new opportunities to get out and do something you haven’t before. Every state offers something unique, and applying to colleges in different states allows you the chance to get out there and find exactly what you want to do.

Political Atmosphere 💡

Moving out of state can provide you with the opportunity to surround yourself with others who share your political ideology or challenge your beliefs. When applying out-of-state, there are many locations to choose from–but with that comes the opportunity to choose what kind of political affiliation you would like to be surrounded by. For example, coastal states are statistically more likely to be more left-leaning than inland states. If politics are an important factor in your day-to-day life, be sure to consider the school's location and the state’s political climate.

Cultural Climate 🍱

Due to immigration and development, each area of the United States has various slang, cuisine, and traditions. If you are looking to be introduced to new customs and ways of life, going out of state can provide a structured way to do so. Leaving your home state can be an alternative to going abroad for college as you can still experience new cultures. Representation and culture matter!

2. Independence✌️

College, for some, is also the first step into young adulthood! Whether that means living on your own or managing your finances, out-of-state colleges provide an independent environment to grow as a person. Living in the dorms offers secure housing, a place to meet new people, and a fantastic opportunity to become more independent 💪!

3. Specialized Opportunities 👩‍🔧

Various areas across the country have solid reputations for preparing students well for different careers. When a university gains notoriety for specific majors or fields of study, they are likely to place more emphasis and funding toward these areas. A school’s commitment and dedication to your field of interest and potential major can be a big selling point when considering an out-of-state school. The location itself may also create more opportunities in your field. For example, if you are going to school for Marine Biology, you will have more options for hands-on learning at a school that has access to the ocean! 🐋

Drawbacks of Going to School Out-of-State 😬

While there can be many perks of going to school out-of-state, it’s also important to consider the downsides. Some of these include, but aren’t limited to:

1. Cost 💰

Price is a significant factor that can drastically affect many students’ searches. A majority of public universities have higher tuition rates for students that attend out of state. According to CollegeExpress, one reason for this is because out-of-state students have not paid taxes which would have helped fund the school. This, however, is less of an issue at private schools which do not rely on funding from state taxes–though these schools are generally more expensive than public colleges and universities.

To learn more about financial aid, check out this article!

2. Further from family 🏡

Most of the time, attending an out-of-state school means you are further away from your family. This can be hard for some students who easily feel homesick or are used to spending a lot of time with family. Being further from family also reinforces a need for independence early in your college career. No matter how far away you move, all students will still be tasked with creating new daily routines and adjusting old habits. If staying close to family is important to you, going to school out of state may not be the right choice.

3. Harder to make friends 👯‍♂️

No matter where you go to college, making friends and developing a social circle is a big part of transitioning to young adulthood. For those attending school in-state, it’s much more likely that there is at least one person from their high school or someone they know who also attends that school. Unfortunately for students looking to go out of state, this is a lot less common. This can make it hard to find friends or people you have things in common with and can cause isolation, making the situation even harder. Be sure to consider how your support group will be affected and changed when looking at out-of-state options for school.

4. Bigger adjustment 💭

The transition to college can be challenging for all students, but students who decide to go out of state are likely to face larger obstacles that require more self-reliance. Between moving away from family and friends to immersing themselves in a new culture, students need to be able to rely on themselves and problem solve where necessary. Of course, these changes are not exclusive to out-of-state students–however, they are magnified as the distance moved from home grows. If you are unsure about your ability to self-manage, it may be better to consider staying in-state.

Weighing The Options ⚖️

While these are all important factors to consider, it’s imperative to know that each and every situation is unique and doesn’t necessarily have to fit the suggestions given here. This is just a rough outline of things to consider when applying out of state that should be used to help you consider all of your options when applying to school.

For other things to consider when choosing a school, check out this article!

Next, check out this guide about creating your college list!  

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