Things to Consider When Choosing a Regional Location for College
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Hale Jaeger in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
You’ve probably thought about how far away from home you want to go to college. Maybe you have a particular region of the country in mind—the Midwest, the Northeast, California, etc.—for your ideal college experience. Where you end up living while attending college matters more than you might think. This article discusses what you need to think about when choosing where you’d like to go to college.
Geography, Weather, and Culture
A couple of things come with a school’s specific regional location. Let’s use the Northeast as an example. Do you want to live in a place with all four seasons? Do you like the snow? If you’re attending college in the Northeast or Midwest, those seasonal changes may not sound that important. But rain and a cold winter will be part of your daily life when you’re at school, walking around campus.
If you’d rather live in a place that’s warm and sunny all the time, you’re probably better off going to college in the South or Southwest. But culture is also a factor: the different regions in the United States can be quite different from each other, and going to school in a new region might be a bit of a culture shock.
You should also be thinking about accessibility and how you’ll get around the area once you’re at school. The Northeast has a major train line that runs from Boston to Washington, DC, with stops in cities along the way. There are other rail systems in different parts of the Northeast too. If that’s your preferred mode of travel, this region should appeal to you. But if you like to get around an area by driving, your options are more open.
Staying Close to Home vs. Going Far Away
Traveling from the South to the Northeast will require adjustments in terms of culture. The same goes for someone from the Midwest traveling to the West Coast or vice versa; people from different regions of the US have different ways of living.
You might be excited to encounter these changes. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go somewhere new, to an opposite coast, and find a different culture. Perhaps you’ve hoped that college would be a chance for you to explore more of the world or at least more of the country. This approach is totally valid and quite common, but you should know what you’re getting into, and you should be aware of what you’re seeking.
Going to your state school or another college close to your home might not be the right choice for you. But it could also be what you want—if you love the place where you grew up and your home culture, staying near your hometown would probably work out well for you.
Knowing where you want to study will impact your college decision-making process quite a bit. But if you’re not sure, know that wherever you go, you should be able to find people from your area of the country or who have shared similar experiences and have similar outlooks.
Even if you go to college half an hour from your home, you’ll still have to travel that distance. How do you want to do that? By train? By car? If you go to school much farther away, you should think about how you’re going to get there and back. Would a flight feel worth it to you, especially if it’s just for a five-day break?
This factor shouldn’t necessarily be what makes or breaks your decision, but it’s still something to take into consideration.
Being near family matters to many people. If you want to be able to go home easily for breaks, staying within a certain distance would be a good idea. Your caretakers would be able to get to you quickly in case of an emergency, for example.
If you’ve always dreamed of going to college in a foreign country, you have many additional things to take into account. You’ll have to apply for a visa, which is no small thing. If you get accepted to an international university, you’ll likely have support from the school in getting all your paperwork correct, but it will still be a process.
You’ll also have to adjust to what could be quite a different culture. If this has been your goal, the whole thing should be exciting. But it might require a significant amount of personal adjustment, so it’s important to be prepared for that.