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Choosing a College Far From Home: Are You Cut Out For It?

written by: Ashley Hansen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 6/21/2011

When it comes to distance away from home affecting college of choice, many students are unsure as to whether they'll be able to handle being far away from friends and family. Consider the following when deciding where to look at schools.

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    Family is probably the first thing that comes to mind for many students when deciding to move far from home. Will you be ok if you don't see your family for several months, or even just a few times a year? For students who are close to their family, distance away from home affecting college of choice is inevitable. Even if you and your family are close, taking the leap to attend college hours away may be a great way to become more independent or take advantage of a great opportunity.

    Beyond the fact that it might be hard to live far away from home, ask yourself whether you'll be able to get home when necessary. If you needed to get home in an emergency, is there an airport or train station nearby that you could easily get to? If the distance is "drivable," will you have a car on campus? You should also budget for the airfare or gas money that you'll be spending a few times a year to get home for family events or holidays.

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    If you get the grades to attend an Ivy League school, it might be a great opportunity that you won't want to miss out on. For others, they may have a very specific field of interest that only certain colleges offer majors in. Either way, the academic offerings of a school may be a huge factor in your decision.

    Before you get hung up on academics, look for schools closer to home that have similar offerings. If you really don't want to go far away, it may not be worth going to a certain college if you'll be unhappy.

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    If you've dreamed of living in the big city, then it may be difficult if the nearest major metropolis is hours away from where you attend school. Remember that you may need to put up with the distance if you really want to live a certain location.

    For some students, the draw may be their favorite college sports team or proximity to the businesses where they'd eventually like to work. If you're interested in publishing, for example, you've probably realized that most of the major publishers in the U.S. are located in New York City. Attending college in a city that is great for your future career will give you more opportunities to get an internship or network with professionals in that area.

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    Beach Living in a new climate is a major attraction at some colleges. If you grew up somewhere cold, you may want to live somewhere farther south to enjoy the warm weather. Skiing fanatics may want to move somewhere closer to the mountains, while beach bums look for a tropical locale. Distance might become a major factor when you really desire certain weather conditions.

    College can be a great opportunity to move somewhere new. If you love it there, you'll know that it's where you're meant to be. Plus, you'll have a great location for your family to come visit. If you find out the climate change isn't worth the distance, you can always move closer to home after college.

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    Since many college students don't go more than an hour or two from home, going to a college nearby may help keep you closer to your friends. You may even be attending school with some of your high school friends if you stay close to home. While this can be a great way to feel comfortable in new surroundings, choosing a college farther away can help you challenge yourself to meet new people and open yourself up to new experiences.

    To read more about distance away from home affecting college of choice, read Finding the Right College for You.