College Corner: Pros and Cons of Applying In v. Out of State


Cristele Moztarzadeh, Copy Editor

As acceptance letters start rolling in, students begin to face the reality of going to college. Choosing whether to leave one’s home state or stay near their family for the next four or more years of one’s life often makes for a challenging decision. Each prospective college student should take the following factors into consideration when making it. 

It generally costs more to attend an out-of-state school than staying close to home by going to an in-state school. If one finds that paying for in-state tuition works as the significantly financially beneficial choice, then that should work as the best option. College tuition acts as a very important aspect to look into when choosing a school to attend. College functions as an expensive financial load; debt due to college often weighs on people well into their careers. Students have many good schools to choose from and should not disregard costs and pick a school simply because of its status. State and community colleges, especially in Florida, provide an excellent education for their students keeping them as viable prospects and not dismissing them remains crucial.

Mental health should be of top priority when deciding if one wants to stray far from home. If a student feels that they would have a more stable academic career near their family, going to school in-state may work best for them. While getting out of one’s comfort zone tends to help with personal growth, the more understandable and reasonable choice often entails waiting until one matures and feels prepared enough to dive into the real world. Moving to another state acts as a great responsibility and a big deal; juggling school and adulting can be hard on incoming students, and family serves as a good support system during this transition. 

However, keep in mind that finding oneself and gaining independence has to happen at one point and remains inevitable, so students should not base their choice to stay home off of a dislike for taking responsibility. 

Oftentimes students already have responsibilities in their hometown, including a job or familial duties such as taking care of siblings or relatives. If staying in-state fits better with one’s overall life and situation, then considering nearby colleges could serve as the smarter course of action.

Many cities and states are known for having a surplus of job opportunities for specific careers; lawyers go to Washington, D.C., actors flock to the City of Angels and journalists go to the Big Apple. Students should make sure the school they attend resides in an area with opportunities for them. Post-college, not only may they find it easier to find a job in a place they have accustomed to, but internships and chances to get experience in the field abound.

Moreover, going to school out of state gives students a sense of independence they may have never experienced before. If students wish to get a taste of the real world and feel prepared to do so, attending an out of state college may become one of their greatest decisions yet. 

With the change of scenery, students get the opportunity to meet a diverse number of people and explore new places, ideas and cultures that their home-state may not offer them. Immersing oneself in a new and foreign place stimulates the mind. Many students feel stuck or bored in their hometown, and leaving gives them the chance to undergo self-actualization and have fun times, as well.

Attending an out-of-state school is often encouraged, as young adults get the chance to take on life and all the responsibilities that come with it while simultaneously basking in all the excitement living on your own bestows. 

Choosing to go to out-of-state colleges also gives students many more options as to where they can attend. Staying in one state limits a student’s options. Different schools have their certain specialties that the schools in a student’s state may not provide.  

Now, in these times, students must take a new issue into account: COVID-19. Many colleges have faced problems managing students and their social lives at schools. If COVID-19 presents as a large threat to a student, staying in-state or attending a school in a state with fewer COVID-19 cases seems like the safest option. However, remember that the pandemic should soon pass; one could always attend an in-state school and apply to transfer to an out-of-state school the following school year, or whenever one feels it is most convenient. 

These account for just a few important factors to think about when deciding where to attend college. Keep in mind that one may stay in-state and then transfer out (or vice versa) later on in their college career. However, making this decision early on may allow a student’s college years to go by easier and smoother.