Sending your child off to college is quite possibly one of the most scary, challenging things you can do as a parent. However, what’s even scarier is not knowing if you’re sending them to the right school.
Which leads us to the question, where should your child attend college? Among the many factors to consider, location is an important one for a variety of reasons. Some important aspects to think about include in-state vs. out-of-state tuition, distance from home, and future career opportunities.
One of the biggest factors that plays into the choice of any university is the cost. As much as any of us would love to go to school in Hawaii or California, sometimes it’s just not realistic financially. For example, my university’s in state tuition is $6,110 and $22,502 for out of state tuition. As you can see, the difference can be astronomical for someone who isn’t a resident.
When your child is accepted into a university, you will be sent a financial aid package which maps out what the school plans to offer you with scholarships, loans, and grants. From there, you can calculate the future costs and you and your student can decide which university is the most cost effective. Don't forget to factor in extra costs for travel if the school is located far away.
Proximity to Home
Distance can also also be a deciding factor when choosing a university. Your child must decide how far away they are willing to move to attend school. Trust me when I say my parents wanted as little distance as possible when I was going away to school. I decided to only go to school about a 45-minute drive away. This was enough distance to have some space, but still make it easy to visit on weekends.
One of my classmates' parents live in Florida and she can only visits once or twice in a school year. It depends on your family dynamic and how much you and your child can handle. Make sure to have the family discussion about this topic before a college chosen.
Future Career Opportunities
Location is also crucial when it comes to career and internship opportunities. Certain careers in media or business are centered around major cities like Boston, Los Angeles or New York City. Going to college near those areas are bound to open up a lot of opportunities for your student.
However, if your child is more interested in wildlife biology they are likely better off choosing a school located near a wilderness area.
It may seem early to choose a major, but deciding which potential paths are the most interesting to your student will help them narrow down their college options to make the best decision. (Make the decision a little easier by having them take a Majors Matcher quiz!)
I know, this journey is a scary one. Letting your child go to follow their dreams isn’t easy for any parent. But when it comes to making a decision, try to keep their happiness and well-being in mind. You can guide them, but you can't choose for them. This journey is all about your child gaining independence and becoming a contributing, well-rounded member of society. With that being said, it’s crucial that you let them spread their wings and make their own choice so that they go into their college careers with confidence and self-assurance.
Start finding the best college match for your child in regards to location, academics, price, and more!