“There’s no place like home” but what if a high school student is looking for a new environment, opportunity or challenge when it comes to where they’ll attend college? If they find themselves looking for something different and are willing to travel some distance, enrolling into a college or university out of state is a positive option.

Attending a school far from home provides students with some exciting opportunities; internships and networking, unique major or program, and the possibility of additional financial aid are some examples a student may find offered when applying to an out of state school.

Before all this can happen, the student must be willing to step out of their comfort zone, which can be a little scary but at the same time exciting. The student may not know a single person who’s also attending the school. While it’s nice to see a familiar face think of the positive opportunity to get involved on campus and begin making new friends and connections. Many large public schools have begun hosting events for out of state enrolled students to allow them the opportunity to connect with peers who are also coming from another area. Events such as these promote a mindset of getting out there and networking with peers and adults to help the student feel less overwhelmed and more at home.

The primary reason for attending a college or university is to earn a degree. When researching schools and building a list of 4 year options the desired major must remain the top priority. During your research you may discover a particular school that offers an incredible program in the major you’re planning on pursuing. Originally the student may have planned to stay close to home but if this program/major is exactly what they’re looking for then the out of state school should absolutely be considered.

Cost of attendance is an important factor when deciding where to apply and ultimately enroll. Many students and parents are hesitant to consider an out of state school because they believe they’ll pay full price as a nonresident. This is not always the case, which is why out of state schools continue to be a positive option. A perfect example of this is merit money, which is based on academic performance. Many schools (in and out of state) will offer the admitted applicant money to lower the cost of attendance and ideally enroll the student. Another way out of state schools offer funds (to encourage enrollment) is because they need geographic diversity in their applicant pool and on campus. The more students from across the country who enroll and perform well the better it is for future out of state kids. Remember to compare and contrast the cost of attendance for all of the schools who’ve offered admissions, if the overall amount works; it’s a realistic option to attend.

There are so many schools in our country to consider when planning on where you’d like to apply and attend. My recommendation is keep all options open both in state and out of state. You never know what kind of opportunity may be waiting for you in the future.