For those students thinking about leaving home and travelling far away for college, what are the important factors to consider? What additional research should be done? Should students always visit a school before applying?
If you are planning on applying to schools at a great distance from home, you need to be aware of what it might mean to you. Would you be prepared to only come home a few times each year? There will be many family celebrations/holidays that you will be missing. Also, in case of an accident/illness, it may take more time then you would wish for a family member to be with you. You will need to be self-sufficient, resourceful and very independent.
Assuming you have considered all these issues carefully, you need to check out how accessible the colleges are from home. Is there good transportation? How far are the schools from airports, train stations etc.
While it is preferable to visit colleges before applying, schools that might be a great distance do understand that many families have limited resources . It is key however that you visit any school before you accept their offer of admission!
Suzan R. has been an educational consultant for over ten years. She has successfully helped hundreds of students, from high achievers to students with learning challenges, navigate the often daunting college admissions process. Suzan was awarded the CEP ( certified educational consultant) designation which is a confirmation of her knowledge and skills. Her focus is to empower students to make good choices, while reducing much of the stress.
I remember when I was applying to college (which admittedly was 3 decades ago!), I wanted to go as far away from home as possible. I wanted to be in an environment that was as different as possible from my hometown. I also wanted to be far away so that it would be more difficult for my parents to surprise me with a visit to my school! While I thought about how much I would miss my family and all of the family events, I also thought about the new collegiate adventures and traditions that I would enjoy. As it turns out, attending a school that was not in close proximity to my hometown strengthened my relationship with my family. Just recently, my mother shared with me the tons of letters I wrote to her when I was in college. Being “away from home” made me take complete ownership for my college experience and that was a good thing. Today students can have the best of both worlds. They can have all of the benefits of being away from home and still stay in instant contact with their family. Students have the benefit of Skype, twitter, e-mail, Facebook and other means of instant communication that allow them to stay in contact with their families. Nevertheless, if a student is considering a college that is a great distance from their home, the student should discuss it with their family to understand how they will deal with the “distance factor”. In the end, most families can easily address any challenges that may be associated with distance.
Doris is an internationally recognized admissions professional with over 30 years experience working in undergraduate admissions at Ivy League schools and other elite universities. She specializes in providing campus tours of Ivy League schools as well as forums on applying for admission to elite universities. As an educational consultant, she works with students and secondary schools all over the world and regularly travels to Asia.