The Pros and Cons of Going to College Near Home

When I first got to BU, I remember talking to an upperclassman about using the T. She told me, “So, I bet you’re starting to figure out the T. Don’t worry, it’s not that hard. Took me some getting used to at first.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I first took the T as a little kid. Didn’t she realize that there was a chance I could be from around here? “Yeah….”

I grew up in a town only about seven miles from Boston. I’ve lived near Boston my whole life, and it really doesn’t feel too different spending a little more time on Comm Ave. However, I’ve noticed that going to a school really near home makes for a different experience than someone from even, say, Western Mass might have going to BU. If you’ve considered staying near home, or are just curious about what it’s like, here are some pros and cons.

Credit: BU

Pros

Cost.

You most likely have the option of living at home, which will save a lot of money. Even if you don’t, you don’t have to pay for in-state tuition or shipping costs to bring stuff from home. Visits home are really cheap, and personally, I can just go home on the T if I forget something—it’s not the end of the world. One time, I went back home when my family wasn’t even there since I had forgotten my nametag for my job. If I was further away, that would have been a problem. And, if you’re in Boston or another cold city, you probably already own a winter coat.

Coolness factor.

Since you start out knowing everything better than everyone else, everyone will want to be around you and see you as a leader in getting around. However, this can fade over time as everyone becomes used to living in a new place.

You’re less likely to get homesick.

You can still be more of a physical part of your family since you can come home for birthdays and other special occasions. When high school friends visit home you’ll be able to see them too, even if you don’t have the same break. If you’ve spent time on your college campus your whole life, it won’t feel so unfamiliar. It can definitely be an easier transition.

Credit: Denver GOV

Cons

It can be a little harder to truly integrate yourself into the college community as much, especially if you’re commuting.

Even if you aren’t, your chances of spending the summers at college go way down since, even if you have a job or internship on or near campus, you could just commute and save a lot of money. If a lot of your college friends start spending the summers at college and your high school friends stop coming home, you can feel a bit stuck in the past, and still more isolated from your college friends living near campus. Also, your family or old friends might want to see you more than you want, or less, and being close by will make this apparent.

Less of an adventure.

While many people at a new college are basically tourists at first, being near home may not offer the same excitement. During the first snow at BU, I had no interest in even going outside while many people were putting it all over their social media and spending hours walking around. If you’re big on the exciting moments, not to say they can’t happen, but being near home can make them a little harder to come by.

You're uncertain if you’d like to live somewhere else afterward.

College allows you to really understand if you’d want to live in your hometown again or not. It makes me more unsure about my future after having lived in the same place my whole life. I feel like, personally, that if I’d gone further away for college I might have lived in Boston afterward. I mean, it’s all I know. But, because I’m so close, I feel like in the long run, I want the experience of living somewhere else, which is intimidating and less practical in a lot of ways. So, if you’re thinking long-term, maybe getting away for a few years is more practical.

Credit: Boston USA

I hope this helped you understand what it’s like to go to college near home. Whether you’re in the same situation, or you go to college on the other side of the world, it’s interesting how different it can be!

 

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