Should I Choose an In-State or Out-of-State School

Natalie Thompson
Natalie Thompson

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There are lots of decisions ahead of you when you start the journey towards college. When you start your college search, you probably know to consider your potential area of study. True, most universities offer the more popular majors like Biology, while fewer schools across the board offer specialized majors, or flexible interdisciplinary majors. So you have a start towards your list. But from there, you still have the question: should you attend an in-state or out-of-state school?

So first, you can make a list of potential schools based on those that offer your preferred major or area of study. That’s a great place to start!

Another consideration is the campus you will call home. For example an urban campus surrounded by a vibrant city is much different from a quiet rural campus. Choose the size and setting of the schools that would work best for you. (If you are looking at out-of-state, that means doing your research online, or visiting if possible.)

Once you compile a list of schools based on areas of study and location, you can compare services, support, and activities.

Now, let’s look at state preferences.

Advantages of an out-of-state school

Selecting a college should be based on the strengths of the academic programs. Since you pay tuition and spend 4 (or more) years learning, you want to make a great choice. However, some out-of-state schools are more expensive.

If you choose an expensive school, you can seek scholarships or work opportunities. Searching for possible solutions can really help you develop independence and creativity.

Another advantage of moving away for school is to gain independence. Making decisions and managing life situations while going to school helps you to be stronger.

Usually, the friends you make in college become long term ones. When you move to a new area, you can make many new, long lasting friends. Your goal is to find the best school that offers good academics, social environment, and activities.

Advantages of an in-state school

If you choose an in-state school, you will be making the more popular choice. A state school is usually less expensive for residents so your tuition is more likely to be lower. However a private college in your home state usually costs the same for local students as well as out of state ones.

A college or university closer to your home is easy to visit before you start school. You may also know some of the students on-campus. This will make your transition easier. A final advantage is you can be close to home for family events.

Retention Rates at in-state or out-of-state options

A major concern for colleges is keeping students in school. Most institutions want students to graduate within 5 years. Studies show that several factors help students to graduate.

  1. Quality academic advising: your school needs to help you reach your educational goals through good classes and labs, quality teachers, and guidance through graduation.
  2. Social connectedness: finding friends in class, through clubs, or activities helps you to feel you want to stay in school.
  3. Involvement and engagement in college activities and programs: a college education is not only academics, but also social activities, self-improvement, and service. The more involved you are, the more you enjoy your experience.
  4. Faculty and staff approachability: faculty can make your area of study accessible and engaging. Good communication is essential to learning.

Whichever college or university choice you make, choose carefully so that you are happy and involved in your education. Today, we discussed how the differences between in-state and out-of-state colleges can impact your final choice. But if you’re still a little lost, Empowerly can help you in selecting schools that fit you best.

Questions? Let us know!