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

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

  • bjkmombjkmom 7942 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My son is a junior. He's my oldest, so we're figuring this all out as we go along.

    We've set a ballpark radius of about 250 miles from our home on Long Island. (Though there is one SUNY that's 330 miles away that's under consideration.)

    That bridges schools from about Boston to Baltimore, though he's pretty confident that he prefers Northern weather to Southern.

    So far we've been to 3. (Yesterday would have been #4, but he had a nasty stomach bug.) He has two favorites of the 3, but says he could be happy in any of them. All offer his major. All are within our target price range.

    He's most definitely a homebody. He'll want to be able to get home for homecoming and Thanksgiving and on other occasions. So that 4ish hour drive is optimal for him.
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  • jdschooled5jdschooled5 385 replies30 threadsRegistered User Member
    Pretty much what @bjkmom and we're from LI as well. My parents said I must go away if I want the full college experience, so I won't be in the NY Metro for college most likely, but I will be on the East coast (most likely). Farthest West is Ohio, farthest South is Florida, Farthest North is in this state. If I stay in-state, it would be an away school (at least 3 hours away by car).
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  • FredDobbsFredDobbs 57 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Saying that you must go away or you must do this or must do that is ridiculous. Everyone should do what is right FOR THEM and them only. I'm going to NYU from Kansas for film. NYU was the best film school I got into and my family's situation afforded me the opportunity to go so I'm going. Had I decided to go to University of Kansas my family would have supported that decision. Had I gotten into USC they would have sent me there. I know my parents, probably like many other parents, hope that I would stay in the Midwest and have their future grand kids close to them. They know that is not what I need to be happy though. To any parents harboring the idea that you should keep your kid close to home for any other reason than finances or another unique family situation, you should reevaluate. Your kids are about to start THEIR lives. Don't try to keep them for selfish reasons like it's inconvenient or I want them close to home. You've got to let your kid do what is going to be best for them. Stay home, go away, whatever- support your kids in pursuing their goals and personal happiness.
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  • FCCDADFCCDAD 964 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    In real life, parents know a heck of a lot more than their children know. The parents have had to deal with adult life and concerns for decades. The parents know much better than the children about what the children about about to get into, or hope to get into. And if the parents lay down any restrictions about what they are willing to pay for college-wise, it is not random or on a whim, it's because the parents have the experience to see and consider the various risk/reward options.

    Think of it this way: there is a range of "acceptable" colleges that my child can choose in. If she picks in that range, great; some choices are better than others, but nothing in the range is unacceptable. If she wants to pick outside that range, however, then I must tell her why I cannot support that.

    Raising children is hard. Being a good parent means that sometimes (less often as they grow up, of course) I have to tell my child, "NO, you cannot do what you want to do. Because I know that what you want to do would be BAD for you." For example, I don't CARE how happy it would make my child to drop out of school, sit in the basement playing video games, and smoke pot all day - that would NOT be acceptable.

    As it turns out, distance itself was not an overarching concern - I didn't try to stop D1 from applying to several schools on the opposite coast, for example - but it did have some effect on how enthusiastic I was about some of the various schools that eventually accepted her. If she had been accepted to Stanford, I would not have said it was too far away, so really any distance could have been tolerable - but there were also some particular metro areas around the country that I was very opposed to. It all worked out great in the end, but I would have intervened if she seemed likely to make a grave mistake.
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  • readingclaygirlreadingclaygirl 2212 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @ NROTCgrad - I think it is dumb on insisting you look out of state. Some kids are perfectly fine staying instate and some even want to. I'm not going far at all 3 hours max-my choice.
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  • paul2752paul2752 4777 replies349 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Lol...seriously? NROTC clearly says "DO NOT NEED TO". Its just for the sake of exploring other schools and environment.
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  • julyinohjulyinoh 799 replies95 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited April 2015
    Having been through college and seen friends go to college both near and far:

    Students: pick somewhere far enough where you feel independent
    Parents: pick somewhere far enough where your kid will feel for the first time like they're self-dependent

    Up until college, kids are shaped and molded by their home environment. Ultimately they're going to reach a point where they can't stay at home anymore - they get a job, move in with their S.O. etc. College is a transition period between those two stages, and college students need a chance to figure out their lives without their parents constantly guiding them and looking over their shoulder.

    Everybody else is figuring their stuff out in college; if you're a student, you need to make sure you have that opportunity. If you're a parent, make sure your kid has that opportunity.
    edited April 2015
    Post edited by fallenchemist on
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  • LHSdadLHSdad 13 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    As the very attached late-life parent of an only child, I'm really struggling with this. But living in Denver, there choices are clear: right here, or at least a day's drive away, with few options in between. It's like an island here. So I just want her to study in a nice, safe place where I'd enjoy visiting, or retiring. And a place where she might choose to remain and make her life. When I graduated, I moved 1500 miles away and gave up a network of albums and friends who I miss still. So I think college shouldn't be a separate episode in one's life, but an alternate first chapter.
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  • readingclaygirlreadingclaygirl 2212 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some people still need their parents close by at this point. 17/18 isn't that old. It's fine not to want that level of independence.
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  • dfbdfbdfbdfb 3864 replies24 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Of course, all this discussion isn't just first-world problems, it's a tiny little slice of the first world. There's a lot of reasons community colleges are bursting at the seams with locals…
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2771 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    As a parent of two students raised in Colorado, but myself from New Jersey, I wanted to impose a distance of a one day drive until I noticed that the options would be limited to larger state schools in small populations states like Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska etc. so we quickly lifted that to, airplane ride that does not cost a fortune, which then expanded to both coasts. Small towns in NY state or western Massachusetts turn out to cost more than flying to Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta from Denver. But we sort of gave up on limiting geography and one son settled in Cleveland the other is looking at Atlanta , both are bigger cities that can be navigated without bringing a car to campus. That seemed ideal for my sons.
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  • TiggyB62TiggyB62 1358 replies0 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We placed no restrictions on our two girls. One is 8 hours, the other will be 11 hours away. Requires a lot of cheap flight shopping....
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9133 replies492 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    She can go as far away as she likes. I would like her to be within driving distance, but only if that is the school she wants.
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  • cttwenty15cttwenty15 274 replies16 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Parents wanted me within "reasonable" driving distance, we never defined an upper boundary. Live in the Northeast so it was very easy to find suitable universities under 4 hours away...the farthest one I applied to was ~ a 6-hr drive.
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  • gonfalonieregonfaloniere 123 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My parents use the "pack a lunch rule"–far enough that they'd need to pack a lunch to visit, but not farther than 8 or 9 hours.
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  • loveunicornsloveunicorns 41 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Fortunately, distance won't be a concern of mine or my family's, we just want to end up in a school that I feel I am the right fit for, regardless near or far
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7942 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think a big part of it depends on where in the country you are, and the location of "good fit" colleges.

    The whole "crossing state lines" thing is a total non-issue for those of us on Long Island (and a good part of the northeast)-- my daughter crossed state lines for a birthday party in 6th grade. (They went to Carlo's Bakery, in Hoboken NJ :) ) I can drive to 6 colleges within 20 minutes. If we expand the boundaries to a 3 or 4 hour drive, we can include several Ivies, as well as an incredible choice of large/small/private/public/urban/suburban/rural schools.

    Simply staying instate opens up everything from FIT and Fordham in NYC (a 40 minute commute) to very rural schools of agriculture to schools on the Canadian border. We certainly don't need to cross state lines to find cultural diversity!

    Likewise, there's so much real estate in CA that I imagine you could find whatever you wanted somewhere in that state. Should state lines limit your search? Absolutely not. But I can't see that it's a necessary part of the discussion, at least not for kids around here.

    For kids around here, the subject becomes distance. It's a matter of how far from home you want to be, or rather how far from home you'll focus your searc.
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  • kelsnicole4kelsnicole4 14 replies4 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Distance was never really a problem in my family until I started looking at colleges. My brothers were all 2 hours away at most. I personally want to get out of the state because I live in Ohio and there's not much here for me. But I'm pretty shy and need my parents' help for certain stuff still. They'd like me to stay in state, but they don't really mind where at as long as I come home every now and then. I'm looking at colleges on the east in certain states(Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and maybe Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Carolinas). I'm a sophomore so I still have time. And as time gets closer, I keep looking closer to home.
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  • Lilliana330Lilliana330 1578 replies38 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 2015
    My parents didn't place any distance restrictions, but they did prefer CA schools so that they could be close in case of an emergency. I preferred to stay in California anyways; I've only lived here for 5 yrs and can't see myself living anywhere else in the US. I only would've left the state for an Ivy League, since they have the best financial aid packages + I have family in the Northeast. Thus, I applied to 7 CA schools + 3 Ivies (didn't get into any, so I guess I was meant to stay here :)
    edited April 2015
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  • actorparentactorparent 259 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    We went with the No. 1 choice: within a few hours' drive. I'm just not comfortable with my child being SO far away that I would have to take a plane to get to him. I don't want to bother him at college or be annoying, but if, God forbid, he was in an accident or something, I would want to be able get there fast. Or even if he just wants to come home for a weekend occasionally, I'd like that to be easily doable and affordable. Just our own feeling.
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