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how often do distant college students come home?

ChiSquareChiSquare Registered User Posts: 746 Member
edited June 2008 in Parents Forum
With the rising cost of jet fuel, it seems we will be unlikely to bring D home from college very often, should she/we choose a distant school (her current favs are all > 1000 miles away). Which makes me wonder - how often do your distant kids come home? For instance, do they come home for Thanksgiving? If not, what percent of kids stay on campus, and is anything done for them to try to make the holiday a little easier?
Post edited by ChiSquare on

Replies to: how often do distant college students come home?

  • Lafalum84Lafalum84 Registered User Posts: 7,532 Senior Member
    DS is a 5 hour drive away, he came home for all breaks but no other weekends. Next year he will be making an extra trip home for his sister's Confirmation.

    The hard part is that Thanksgiving and holidays, the time you want your D to come home, is also the hardest & most expensive time to get plane tickets. I have friends whose kids go to college only 1 hour away, sometimes their college kids bring their college friends who live far away home with them for the holiday. The faraway kids don't get to go home, but they're not lonely on campus and they get to experience another family's traditions.

    I don't think the long distance has to be a deal-killer when choosing a college, but your D needs to be aware of it and understand the complications it adds.

    If she's at a very top school like HYP, the student body will be from a very wide geographic area, so she won't be alone in having travel issues. If she's at most other schools (including many top 50 LAC's) the student body will have a larger percentage who are closer to home and CAN go home more frequently. Just something to consider.
  • cmbmomcmbmom Registered User Posts: 718 Member
    Our daughter's college is only an hour away but some students are from the West Coast. The college closes for fall break, Thanksgiving, semester break, spring break, and Easter break. Unless the student is an in season athlete, and sometimes the orchestra/choral group, they must leave campus. Even then meals are not provided, they are given per diems to eat off campus.
  • twomulestwomules - Posts: 1,207 Senior Member
    I grew up literally on college campus. My mom and dad put out open invitations at Thanksgiving for any one to come. Sometimes there were 16 students eating with us and then watching The Sound of Music (dating myself). I am sure this type of thing happens everywhere.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    When S2 filled out the housing form for the state u. he will attend, one of the questions asked was "do you desire an academic year hall?" An academic year hall is one that stays open during the holidays and breaks so those who can't/don't go home have a place to stay.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 8,853 Senior Member
    D is going to a school that's 1800+ miles away and the air routes between her school and home are expensive ($700+RT and rising fast) and hard to schedule. She will be coming home only at semester and spring break. She probably will not come home for Thanksgiving. She's already making some alternate plans--like visiting high school friends who will also be going to school in the East and who will also not be able to go home for Thanksgiving. (They're talking about meeting up in NYC.) Another option would be to fly to her BF's school for the 4 days. (His city has better air prices and access than home. Since BF lives in a house at his school--holiday closures are not an issue.)

    I imagine the separation will be hard for both of us. She's my youngest. Her older sister has graduated from college and is on her own, and I was widowed two years ago. The house is going to be mighty empty this fall.
  • 2blue2blue Registered User Posts: 1,604 Senior Member
    My son's plane tickets for his college visit were about $800. He will be coming home for Christmas break. That's it. It is just too expensive to have him come home for the other breaks. Prior to his making his his college choice, we did check to make sure the dorms would be open over Thanksgiving and spring break.
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    Both Ds are 1100 miles away. They come home for Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Spring Break (unless they travel with friends) and summer. We all got credit cards that amass frequent flyer points for every $1,000 charged, and we've used a number of free flights that way.
  • corrangedcorranged Registered User Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    I go to college in the midwest ,and I'm from New England. I have gone home for Thanksgiving the past two years. Thanksgiving is sort of a big deal where I'm from. If I didn't want to or wasn't able to go home, I'm sure that I could spend the holiday with a local friend, and I know there are a number of students who stay at school over Thanksgiving. Usually students staying at school enjoy the peace and have lots of time to get ready for finals, and the school has a more formal Thanksgiving dinner for remaining students. Other than that I go home at Christmas and usually see my family over Spring Break. These past two years I've also gone home for an additional weekend; this year I went home one weekend to visit my nieces, including a new baby, and last year I went home one or two weekends for various reasons. My parents also come up over Family Weekend, which happens to fall on or close to my birthday. I am in the fortunate situation where my parents are able to pay for plane tickets without undue sacrifice. If it were a hardship, I could easily cut down the visits by half and get along fine. We've also found two routes which tend to be cheaper, one by Southwest which flies into a more minor airport and one by Airtran. My parents and I also have a number of frequent flier miles which come in handy.
  • ChiSquareChiSquare Registered User Posts: 746 Member
    Wow, thanks everyone. It helps, with our upcoming NE college visit tour, to have your suggestions. I *might* have thought to ask whether the dorm stays open over Thanksgiving, but I did not realize there is such a thing as an "academic year hall". Maybe thats more likely to be an option at larger schools?

    WayOutWestMom - I'm sympathizing already! Gee, maybe we can have regional CC clubs where we all get together on Thanksgiving to cheer each other up.
  • ebeeeeeebeeeee Registered User Posts: 5,199 Senior Member
    DS is 3,000 miles away. The option of an academic year hall was not available. Dorms closed over Thanksgiving. Luckily he is a pretty social type and had multiple invitations for Thanksgiving and Easter both freshman/sophomore years. He came home for Christmas, Summer and the long spring break (first year) only. The second year he traveled with friends over Spring break.
    I would definitely plan that there is additional cost with a child who is some distance away. There are lots of other threads on this.
  • corrangedcorranged Registered User Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    At my college all dorms are open over Thanksgiving (which is a short break at my school--more like a long weekend). One dorm--one of the largest dorms--stays open over Winter and Spring breaks. If you don't live in the dorm that's open over the other breaks but you'd like to remain on campus, you have the option of staying in the dorm that remains open while your dorm is closed.
  • 'rentof2'rentof2 Registered User Posts: 4,327 Senior Member
    My son will be a freshman in Massachusetts this fall. We live in the Pacific Northwest. And on both ends only smaller regional airports, so it takes 3 flights to make the trip, and is very expensive.

    He will come home for Christmas, but because he's a winter sport athlete, he'll have to be back at college to train before the end of Dec. Probably will just be home for a week or two. And he'll come home for the summer, but that's it. We knew this going in, and decided the opportunity he has to go to college there is well worth the distance.

    The dorms stay open for Thanksgiving (really just a long weekend) and for spring break. In the winter term there is some accomodation made for the winter season athletes, but I'm not sure how that works out. I think they move into one dorm that is kept open, while the others close for a bit.

    I have wondered about his eating situation because the dining hall closes. He can go into town and live on Subway and the like, of course, and would be happy to do so. It wouldn't be for very long.

    I figure those break will be a nice time for him to get to know the international students better. ;)
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,427 Senior Member
    We brought our son home only at Christmas. He chose not to come home for the spring break. Dorms were open for the out of state kids for Thanksgiving and Spring Break. Dining halls were closed. He survived with a his "dorm" implements, the local eateries and friends who lived off campus.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Super Moderator Posts: 14,558 Super Moderator
    We use a charge card & amass frequent flyer points. D was a freshman last year & came home at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break. She is transferring to a school that is about 4 hours closer to home this fall ... after this year she can have a car on campus & can easily handle the 9 hour drive. In the meantime, we'll use our ff points at Thanksgiving. Hopefully, she can find someone to bum a ride home with at Christmas! I am pretty sure she'll do an alternate spring break trip this year, so I don't expect her home then.
  • bicoastalmombicoastalmom Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    D attended college 1000 miles away. It was an easy plane ride because we live in a major metropolitan area. She came home at Thanksgiving and Christmas. On spring break she went away with her friends. I got out to visit her once a year.
    S goes to school 200 miles away and can easily come home by train - we see him more often. His school does offer "vacation" housing to those who can't go home on breaks, and there are many international students in attendance. I will encourage him to bring friends home for Thanksgiving this year.

    Wayoutwestmom, I would strongly encourage D to meet up with friends in NYC for Thanksgiving if at all possible - it is a great time to visit! We live 23 miles away from Manhattan. Every year I host Thanksgiving for my husband's family. It is a lot of fun, but one year when my kids were little I decided that my immediate family needed to be in the city to see the parade, etc. We went to Radio City Music Hall on Wednesday night to see the Xmas Special (or whatever they call it) and stayed overnight at Hotel Novatel which is right on the parade route - saw the parade from their balcony eating Thanksgiving Lunch. It was an experience I will never forget!
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