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Would it make any sense to live on campus a mile from home??

TCMomTCMom Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
edited January 2008 in Parents Forum
My D is a junior & in the process of putting together her list of colleges to consider. She's got great stats, is very mature & she's always planned to go away to school. However, the more she talks about what she's looking for in a college, the more it sounds like she's describing Macalester, which is literally a mile from our house. We've tried to find something similar (liberal, urban, politically active, multi-cultural) in another city, but we haven't been able to come up with much. First, if your child was accepted to his/her dream school - which happened to be close to home - would you allow him/her to live on campus when home is so close? Or would you encourage them to live at home for a couple of years & then get an apartment? Also, does anyone have any suggestions for other schools to consider? The others on her short list (which don't necessarily meet the criteria I mentioned above) are Northwestern, Wellesley & U Wisc. She plans to double major in French & International Studies/Relations.
Post edited by TCMom on

Replies to: Would it make any sense to live on campus a mile from home??

  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member

    My S is living on campus about a mile from our home. He is in his third year and plans to be on campus all four years, as do most students at his college. There are lots of things happening on campus every day, as well as in his House (dorm) apart from the friendships he is able to maintain by sheer fact of living on campus. He has some discussion sections around dinner time, some labs are scheduled for the evening, there are "tables" on certain days of the week where students can practice their foreign language over dinner or listen to talk about their subject.

    For her intended major, the schools on your D's list sound good. She could consider Chicago as well as Georgetown. If she likes UWisc, what about UMich? Would she consider Reed? Portland is a very livable city.
  • zebeszebes Registered User Posts: 1,326 Senior Member
    We live within 10 minutes of the campus my S decided to attend, and he lives on campus in the honors housing. I actually encouraged him to do this ... not the honors housing, per se, but living on campus. We have had grandparents living with us since 2002 (on our 4th and last, actually, who is stage 6 early alzheimers (65 years old)), and our kids have been faced with a great deal of their care, as well. I felt it was important that DS get away from that and have the opportunity to be 19 without the additional committments he's had. Also, he has a tendency to be a homebody, and I wanted to encourage greater independence, which he has found living on campus. He's enjoyed meeting new people, has great roommates, and has broadened his horizons considerably. We realized that if he'd gone out of state or to any other university, in fact, we'd have paid housing costs so I didn't want to pull that away from him because he decided to attend the local university.

  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions Registered User Posts: 13,330 Senior Member
    Don't know about the majors, but some of the atmosphere she seeks is present at Smith College (Northampton, MA) or Amherst College (Amherst, MA). THese are smaller schools but are in a five-college consortium so the sum is greater than the parts. (Smith, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and UMass at Amherst). All are connected by a free bus, and courses can be taken from all campuses (although there may be limitations on the UMass students to enrol in some courses at the other 4 colleges). Best of both worlds; a smaller school within a three-community student population of 30,000 or so in the "Pioneer Valley." City of Northampton and Town of Amherst are two very progressive communities, politically. Since she's already ready for Wellesley, perhaps Smith or Mount Holyoke (both all women's colleges) might please her.

    It's probably too liberal for her, but Oberlin might be worth a look, for its progressive history and diverse student body. No cities (well, there's Cleveland but the campus is a good half hour away). It doesn't matter, because Oberlin is a large LAC (at 2800) including a top quality music conservatory. The school itself generates an enormous amount of activity and people stay put to enjoy a tremendous resource right on campus.

    Has she considered anyplace in Washington, D.C. or Canada? Am thinking about the French and the International Relations majors, obviously. Georgetown, American U, York U, McGill..?

    Finally, consider Brandeis U, outside of Boston, a small university with academic strengths in international relations, political science and so on. WHile in that neighborhood, look at Tufts for its international departments.
  • momof2incamomof2inca Registered User Posts: 3,484 Senior Member
    I don't think it makes sense from a financial aspect, but finances aren't everything in our family, and I would definitely encourage/insist that my S or D live away from home for college. I did. H did not. Our college experiences were as different as night and day. Mine were far richer and I became more independent and confident faster. Of course, he might not have been "ready" to live away from home, so that is something to consider, too.
  • mythmommythmom Registered User Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    I would definitely allow a child to live on campus a mile away; dorming and relying on oneself every day adds another dimension to the college experience. I don't think it matters if the school is only a mile away if she really loves it. Why should she have to give up her first choice? And look at it this way, your transportation costs are really minimized.

    S has a friend a Williams whose parents live in Williamstown, more like 1/8 a mile away. She always loved the college and is a wonderful resource for the other kids. She has promised to teach my S to ski during Winter Study.

    If you are looking for another school with those attributes, yes, I agree with Marite's suggestions and add Barnard. Living in NYC has been an entire education for my D.

    Macalester has wonderful study abroad opportunities; if it were my child I would make it part of the deal just to ensure she has a different experience for one semester or a year. And study abroad augments her major.

    I would also suggest Tufts even though it is not right in downtown Boston.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,471 Senior Member
    We live about half an hour from Macalester. Emeritus professor of mathematics Wayne Roberts is a friend of mine now, after I took a summer course there. Your criteria are "(liberal, urban, politically active, multi-cultural)," and I'm trying to think what other colleges would fit. I guess I don't know as much about the "liberal" or "politically active" aspect as I should to advise on other choices, but maybe look at

    Barnard College (New York, NY) ***
    Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) ***
    Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA) *** (as mentioned)
    Pomona College (Claremont, CA) ***
    Reed College (Portland, OR) ***

    I mention these names because although I think Macalester is a fine college, I STRONGLY advocate going away from home--the farther, the better--for all of us Minnesotans who already know God's Country :) and as a reality check on my understanding of what those other colleges are like. (I know other participants will respond to this thread, and then I'll have a better understanding of what the Macalester-like colleges elsewhere are.)

    Enjoy the cold weather tomorrow. January thaw coming by the end of the week, I hear.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Registered User Posts: 12,128 Senior Member
    OXY,OXY,OXY (but I really like Macalaster, too.). Now that I have that out of the way, ;)

    One of my favorite college stories is about a brother and sister I know. The sis went to college first. 2 and 1/2 hours by car from home. A close family who always did things together, they worried. Their D was home every other weekend. Bro goes to the uni nearest home. About 20 minutes away in traffic. They saw him on Thanksgiving day for the first time (and for the last time before Christmas). Sometimes it's not the miles that create the freedom.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,471 Senior Member
    But miles can help people meet people from other places. Macalester is a very likeable college, but it's better for students who didn't grow up in Minnesota, because they will meet lots of people from a new region there, and live in a new region. We have to keep State U in mind as the safety here (it is closer to my place than Macalester is) but I'd much rather have my oldest and each of my other kids go much farther away to college. They already know Minnesota.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Registered User Posts: 12,128 Senior Member
    TA, I agree it's preferable but hey, all things considered....
  • mythmommythmom Registered User Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    I guess I am one of those provincial east coasters, although I would have been thrilled had my kids gone further. I was actually rooting for Macalester for D and UChicago or USC for S. But both stayed close. NYC is about 2 hours from us, but I was born there, numerous relatives and D danced there. That's what let her know she needed to be there.

    S is about 4 hours from us, just at the tip of our frequented locale and 15 miles from where his grandmother grew up in Bennington.

    So although I dreamed of them going further, it doesn't really matter. New region, not new region. Each is having many new experiences and getting to hug them and return home the same day is a great luxury.

    Ironically, S is meeting more kids like himself at Williams than D is at Barnard. Most of his friends are from NYC and Cali, whereas hers have been from all over, Texas and Georgia in particular.

    There are many things to explore: deep into academics, profound friendships with other people, new geographies or new geographies of mind.

    As Lao-Tzu said, "Whether a man sees passionately the surface or dispassionately the core, surface and core are the same, wonder naming both." So for me, if the young woman loves Macalester, love should be the guide. "Follow your bliss" says Joseph Campbell. Bliss, not shoulds, I think help life develop though unfolding. But that's just my philosophy.
  • FlutemomFlutemom Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    Hi, I also have a daughter that is a Junior. She is planning on a double major in International Studies and Spanish. She recently started entertaing the thought of adding the possiblity journalism in the mix.

    We also live in Minnesota and are about 1/2 hour from Macalester. So far it is my daughter's first and only real firm choice for a Mn school. If she were to end up there...she would definitley live on campus. She is ready to branch out and live away from home and I think she will benefit greatly from that.

    Her #1 school choice is UChicago. She is also investigating Reed and Oberlin.

    We were just talking today with this cold weather coming in...that I think that she should go somewhere warm so I have a warm place to visit on those parents weekends lol.
  • mom11111mom11111 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    I echo many others in that I believe it's a great benefit to live away from home. Another school which meets some but not all on your list is Tufts. Both language and IR are strong programs, just outside of Boston. Good luck with your search!
  • MotherOfTwoMotherOfTwo Registered User Posts: 2,110 Senior Member
    My daughter started as a freshman at a school 500 miles from home but was not happy there. She transferred to a school 45 minutes from home which is a much better fit for her and had a wonderful sophomore year there. Distance from home was not a factor in her desire to transfer or her choice of schools. Her school has students from all over the U.S. and the world, and she is happy that she is meeting students from many other places even though she is close to home. She specifically did not want to attend a school where most students come from the same area where she grew up. We actually do not see her much more now that she is at the closer school, but we are able to attend performances and Parents Weekend more easily, and getting home for breaks is obviously much easier logistically. She spent last summer in Taiwan and the fall semester in Beijing, and will be returning to her school for the second semester of her junior year later this month, so it will be nice to have her a little closer this spring.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 4,165 Senior Member
    There are so many experiences as a freshman that are a part of living away from home- making friends, learning to live with others, managing your own time and stuff - that it makes perfect sense at least for freshman year. After that, if you both decide it is better to change, then at least the experience has been a part of the decision. My sister moved back home after freshman year, but still says she learned a lot living away as a freshman that she would not have given up.
  • StickerShockStickerShock Registered User Posts: 3,781 Senior Member
    liberal, urban, politically active, multi-cultural) in another city...French & International Studies/Relations
    NYU fits the bill. (You didn't mention size --- I know it's worlds apart from Macalaster.) NYU has a campus in Paris & there are never problems with interruption of one's course progression or credit acceptance when studying abroad. There would likely be loads of internships available in her field, too, with the UN and all the embasies & international corporations in NYC.

    As to studying so close to home: I think it all depends on the child. A homebody type might use the proximity as a crutch, and you don't want to encourage that. Yet like Curmudgeon, we know kids who attend schools less than a 1/2 hour away, and their parents rarely see them at all.

    As far as seeking a different, new experience & environment, I would listen to Token who knows the school well & is recommending a more distant choice for your D. But whatever you choose, let her live there!!! I didn't have that opportunity because of a chronically ill widowed mom & heavy family responsibilities. I wound up with a very different college experience, and I want my kids to have the luxury of living away. D's #1 school, by the way, is only ten miles from our home, and we've already decided that she will live there if it's where she winds up. And this is the fiercely independent kid who always said she'd head overseas for college. Who knew?
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