right arrow
PARENTS4PARENTS is a new initiative aimed at highlighting the vast expertise of our parents community while helping other parents better navigate the college admissions process. aggies1989 is a UC alumnus and parent of two UC college kids. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: fintech3753 is a current student at the Wharton School. Majoring in finance, he is hoping to pursue a career at the intersection of finance and technology. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our August Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

The Distance Question: How Far Away From Home Is OK?


Replies to: The Distance Question: How Far Away From Home Is OK?

  • PizzagirlPizzagirl 40174 replies320 threads Senior Member
    "No school farther than a couple of hours away by car to allow family interaction to continue during the school year."

    No distance restrictions. It's a big country out there and there's no reason not to explore it.

    One wound up being about 45 min from home, and that is a disadvantage in our minds - he didn't get to experience a different part of the country. Having said that, we've really not had more interaction during the school year with him vs his sister 1000 miles away. They came home for Tgiving, Xmas, spring break and we didn't go bother him, even though we easily could have :-)
    · Reply · Share
  • takeitallintakeitallin 3352 replies26 threads Senior Member
    We didn't have any distance restrictions but did have budget restrictions. For one, most good schools with her major were on the east-or opposite- coast so it was no surprise when she ended up cross country. Fortunately she ended up with a great scholarship to offset the cost. The other 3 stayed in-state but that still meant an 8 hour drive for one and 3 hours each for the other 2.
    · Reply · Share
  • DominicBayerDominicBayer 350 replies25 threads Member
    Great post, @MomOnALaptop‌. I'm actually an american Junior living in South America, and so thre is absolutely no way I could live with my family while going to college. It's not an issue over whethger I don't want to live with my parents or live with them, I have to live without them. Because of this, I have been able to have a free hand when looking at colleges, instead of being restricted to a certain geographical area.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30509 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Reality check on the distance issues just happened with us. DS wants to go to some accepted student days event to his college choice and wants me to come as well, as I've not seen the school in years,and really only a cursory look. He visited with his dad, fell in love with the school and really wants me to see it. I've been down in the dumps lately, had a rough several months with deaths in the family and friends circle, including losing my mother. Yes, I'd love to go. But the air fares..... Even though I immediately checked them out when the info was sent out, they are way up there. The lowest are using two separate airports which means leaving the car in the long term lot upon leaving is not an option. When I tallyed up what it would cost, it's really over the top,as I have two graduation celebrations up coming and a family reunion, with huge amounts paid by DH and me. Way too far to drive or take a bus or train. Will send son alone since school provides room and food for the students on campus. Still pricey in terms of airticket, but given I'm not going, that halves that cost, and no hotel, no rental car needed, and I'll take and pick up from airport. That alone, by the way is $76 with gas and tolls since it's 4X when dropping off and picking up.

    For those who can't afford it, the school does give a $400 travel allowance for this event which gives an idea what the average transportation costs must be. DH and I both want to drop off our last college child in August and will likely stay a night--maybe more so I can look at the lay of the land, check out a city not known to me. So that will be an expensive trip right there. He'll want to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So for just this year, we are talking likely $2K in air tickets and really more, as we'll rent a car when we go to drop off and stay a few nights in hotels and eat out for at least two days, not to mention spend some money on DS. We'll pick up thing new there rather than bring them or ship the out there, When driving is done, one can Shop the home. Can't do much of that with shipping costs. But we knew all of this. And, yet the reality check for this trip hurts.
    · Reply · Share
  • JerseyShoreMomJerseyShoreMom 939 replies25 threads Member
    My oldest D, who has since graduated college and is on her own, looked at in-state, bordering states, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida for schools. She ultimately chose college in Florida, with the weather being the deciding factor. She is about a 2 hour plane ride away, we've been lucky to have an airport within 45 minutes away with discounteded non-stop service. She was able to fly home a few times a year and we've been down to see her too. It worked out well, but I missed having her around and missed a big part of her life at college.

    Youngest is a senior and looking at colleges. She wanted either in-state or Florida, nothing else, no boarding states. She fell in love with a Florida school, but I believe it was just because of the weather and not the campus itself. I didn't see it as a fit for her. Last month we revisited the instate, found that there is easy train service to/from New York City within minutes and even though it's about 1 1/2 away from home, as a freshman she won't have a car, so she will be pretty much left on her own, except when I come up to visit or go to a football game (something I'm looking foward to also). Missed out on older D's Sorority Bid Days and all that.

    Youngest D is happy with her in-state choice, I'm happy I don't have to worry about another OOS kid.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30509 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I'm thrilled as is my son with his choice, but it's pretty clear that for him to come home, it's going to involve expense that would not be there for schools within a driveable distance. Also, for friends, and family to visit will mean an expenditure. My senior in college recently had his bros come visit, and it was the first time he did this as it involved, yes, airfare, and all that comes with that. There are definite advantages of being closer to home.
    · Reply · Share
  • Fiorucci76Fiorucci76 74 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Even more than staying within a 100-mile radius distance, is the culture and 4-season weather. Tri-state wins.
    · Reply · Share
  • ShoshonteShoshonte 69 replies1 threads Junior Member
    For us, distance was never an issue. Although from PA, schools we vetted out but didn't apply to included Rice, UTexas-Dallas, Pomona, Stanford, CIT and many others far from home. My son made the decisions on what schools to apply. In the end, my son decided against any schools on the west coast or in the south. He did apply to WUSTL and UChic, and very much wanted UChic.

    Results. Schools further than 8-hours have said no. Those closer have said yes. Last to hear from are the Waiting for the Ivy's.

    My assumption is schools further than 8-hours feel they cannot be competitive with schools closer and hit the wait-list button. Schools within 8-hours feel they have as good of a shot as anyone else and say yes, we would like to know you further. UChic probably was a best fit and a school he showed great interest. G-Town was a last second thought to hedge his chances and application was turned in on the last minute. UChic - WL. G-Town - Accepted.

    As of tomorrow, the tides get turned and the kids get to reject all but one school. And schools don't like to be rejected.
    · Reply · Share
  • Rebecca1212Rebecca1212 39 replies1 threads Junior Member
    My son didn't want to leave New England & refused to apply to any colleges outside of it. He wouldn't even try New York City, which is closer than some parts of New England (We live in coastal NH). He has narrowed it down to 2 - one just a half hour from home so I am trying to get him to agree to commute due to cost & the other is 3.5 hours away. He wants to come home on the weekends & for breaks. I want whatever he wants, as long as we can swing the cost, he finishes school & becomes a productive member of society :smiley:
    · Reply · Share
  • scsiguruscsiguru 228 replies15 threads Junior Member
    Wherever they are happy and do well.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30509 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Actually, a lot of the selective schools seek geographic diversity. Some have outright said so. It's a problem for schools that they become Local College or Another State U. The results with UChi and GTU are not surprising to me, by the way UCh has become highly selective. A lot of WLs and declines from there
    · Reply · Share
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 10032 replies389 threads Senior Member
    I don't think there's a right answer; families should do what's best for each child. However, I think it's important to weigh not only what you gain by attending school far from home, but what you have to give up.

    We had no distance restrictions. Our son wants to settle in NY after graduation so he decided to stay in state for college. He applied to schools all over the country in case he changed his mind, but his first choice is still a SUNY. It has the program he wants, frees up money so he can travel, and will allow him to graduate with no debt.

    Some of his cousins went to college OOS and others went in state, but they all seemed to pick a school within a few hours drive from home. However, during breaks they all do quite a bit of traveling. They're all at schools in the eastern US so they can more easily afford to meet up for road trips than if they had to fly cross country, and going to school locally has freed up money so they can travel. And they're meeting each other's friends which is widening their own circle of contacts. But they're fortunate that they live close enough that they can do that. If our families were on opposite coasts or they attended colleges that weren't within easy driving distance, the expense would be too much.
    · Reply · Share
  • MidwestDad3MidwestDad3 2172 replies14 threads Senior Member
    8 hours by car for undergrad, unless there is a really good reason to go further. No limit for grad school (mine was 20 hours away by plane).
    · Reply · Share
  • albert69albert69 3191 replies56 threads Senior Member
    I will be going to college about 10 hrs away by car. My other option was only 3 hrs away. My parents are sad that I'm going away, but my mom reasons that at least she could get there in one day if she had to. I didn't really have a limit for distance set out when I looked for colleges. WSU just sort of came up and things worked out.
    · Reply · Share
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod 24269 replies860 threads Inactive User
    it's funny how so many International kids strive to get here, our kids pine for study abroad opportunities, East goes West, West to East, North to South and vice versa. Everybody wants what the other has got.
    I agree with the sentiment, but feel compelled to point out that the internationals coming here are coming for all 4 years to earn a degree from a US university, while the study abroad for the US kids is usually for a semester, sometimes a year. The percentage that actually attend foreign universities to obtain a degree from that university is still rather small, and even most of those are going to England and Scotland, where they speak English (more or less in the case of Scotland). So the two situations really are not quite comparable. In the end almost all from both camps get their degree from the US university.
    · Reply · Share
  • smurfette99smurfette99 45 replies0 threads Junior Member
    We didn't place any restrictions on our S. He applied to 3 in-state(the south), 3 on the west coast, and 2 on the east coast. We wanted to give him as many options as possible.
    · Reply · Share
  • FCCDADFCCDAD 964 replies20 threads Member
    Thanks to ex's perpetual custody litigation and order, we have never been able to have much contact with D1. So to start with, we have been flat out opposed to anything in her mother's city, period. The number one priority is to get her out from under her mother's close control.

    After that, she could apply pretty much anywhere she wanted, but we specifically requested she apply to our in-state public schools (VT, UVA, W&M).

    I won't say that our willingness to pay depends on improved distance. But I will instead say that it would be easier to persuade us that a college is worth the price if it brought her physically closer to us and facilitated more contact. As in, why should we give money just for you to go even farther away from us than you've been, when you no longer have to?

    She hasn't made a final choice yet, but the in state publics are looking like the top contenders. They are not only closer to us than she has been, they are much closer to us than they are to her mother. They are close enough that we could drive to pick her up if there is a medical or family emergency, yet far enough that we will never drop in on her unannounced. Distance is perfect. Distance win!

    (And they are priced lower than everyplace else she applied, too. And we'd finally start claiming her as our dependent, for her to continue to get the in-state tuition benefit. Finances win!)

    (And (as I said, she'll probably go to one) they are generally accepted as being better schools than anyplace else she got in to. They should open more doors for job interviews and graduate school applications. Quality win!)

    · Reply · Share
  • musicgirlx17musicgirlx17 43 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I'm in the process of making my final decision between schools in Washington DC and I'm from SE Michigan. My parents were somewhat concerned about cost, but told me not to think about the money when choosing where to apply to. It turned out I applied and got scholarship offers from 4 in state schools that would be super safe options that I happily turned down. My parents were supportive of me wanting to go to Virginia or DC where out of state tuition and tuition at the private schools I was interested in had a shot at being comparable with scholarships. It won't be impossible for me to get home as it's about an 8 or 9 hour drive or a 1.5 hour plane ride from one of the easy to access airports so that wasn't an issue, and the private school tuition is certainly not cheap, but the scholarships and grants I received will make it no more expensive than the OOS tuition from Virginia schools I received.

    Overall, I think my parents made the best choice for our situation by letting me follow my heart, and not worry about the money until now when it's down to a few schools. They raised me to be independent and we're all comfortable with the reality of me being far away from home because it's the best place to be for opportunities in the Poli Sci/International Relations field I'm hoping to go into.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity