Do Faraway College Choices Lead to Long-Term Relocation?

<p>Parents often ask me if a child who attends college hundreds--or even thousands--of miles from home is more likely to settle down far away than one who matriculates nearby. As I reviewed my mental inventory of the young grads in my orbit, it does seem that many who opted for West Coast colleges have stayed out there post-college. (I live in MA, and these are typically friends' children who grew up in the East.) I've known recent grads from Midwest schools to stay put there, too (most commonly in Chicago) while others in the Southeast (e.g., at Tulane, Rollins, Duke) have wended their way back up North.</p>

<p>For those of you whose children went far from home for college and since graduated, did they stay far away?</p>

<p>Or were they drawn to recent-grad meccas like NYC, Boston, Washington, and San Francisco, regardless of where they'd enrolled? </p>

<p>Finally, was it a job, a grad school, the locale itself (or perhaps the Significant Other) that determined your child's post-college address?</p>

<p>My child is attending college in the same state, but my husband went to school 1200 miles from home and stayed there for about 5 years after school because he met me, we got married and our jobs were there (Texas). We eventually moved back to the Midwest where he was originally from and have lived here for 14 years.</p>

<p>My D is attending college on the east coast and tells me she can't wait to move back to the west coast.</p>

<p>Good question Sally - most of my colleagues at the office who are not originally from Rochester are either University of Rochester grads or RIT Engineering grads, who decided to stay here after graduation. We are all still in the minority though. Actually, the problem is in the other direction - most of the college age youth get their education away from Rochester and never come back...they call it the 'brain drain' problem...</p>

<p>S attended college in CA, became a resident and plans to stay there. In fact he has only been back less than 5 weeks total since he left freshman year (graduated from college in May 08). D is also far away (NW vs. SW) and does not plan to return. Both have friends who have also gone afar for college. Those who want to return are very active politically and plan to return and run for office. The rest are looking elsewhere.</p>

<p>My daughter is in college in North Carolina, 600 miles away. She is a senior and planning on staying in NC when she graduates.</p>

<p>BTW - PA has a name for this. It's called the "brain drain". They are trying to encourage kids to stay in PA because, theoretically, they will remain after graduation.</p>

<p>Rachacha - just read your post! LOL</p>

<p>My kids aren't old enough to tell yet. But I'll take as a sample my three siblings and I, and my wife's three siblings and she:</p>

<p>In my family, only one of us went to college near where we grew up, and all of us got our terminal degrees (two BAs, a JD, and an MBA) in the Far West (two California, two Arizona). One stayed in California near her college, one lives three blocks from my parents in Western NY, and the other two wound up in big East Coast cities (6-7 hour drive from parents).</p>

<p>My wife's family imposed a rule that no one could go to college more than three hours from home (which was a lot easier because "home" was in western New England). No one settled closer than 80-90 miles to home. All four live in the area where they got their terminal degrees (two BAs, JD, PhD), which for the graduate degrees was outside the three-hour radius in both cases. One of the ones who lives near her college returned to that area after 20 years in NYC.</p>

<p>So . . . </p>

<p>Grad school trumps college (no surprise there). But the real lesson is that economic vibrancy trumps economic decline. With the exception of the one out of eight who returned home, everyone lives in an area that is significantly more economically vibrant than the area where the parents live.</p>

<p>I live in NYC among high achievers so most of the kids do come back if just for the job market.</p>

<p>My own friends from days at Wharton all went where the jobs were, major cities. It's hard to take a Wharton degree back to Toledo or Portland Maine so I'd say what kids are studying plays a big role too.</p>

<p>The biggest draw overall seems to be CA, that seems to be where it's hardest not to stay for most. Everyone I know who went to Stanford stayed in the area.</p>

<p>But times are changing, we now live in a global economy with far fewer borders so I think all bets are off and kids are going further afield. I've seen a lot of American kids heading to London and Hong Kong for jobs.</p>

<p>Interesting responses so far. Thanks. As I said before, this issue blips onto my radar screen a lot. Just yesterday, I was talking with a friend whose 12th-grade daughter (from MA) is very interested in the U. of Oregon. The mom loves the Portland area and thinks that OR would be a great place to visit while her daughter is in school, but I pointed out that the daughter might also end up there for the long haul. And perhaps this is more likely when one attends a public university far from home where there will be a high percentage of "locals." For instance, I told my friend that being in a large flagship university in a distant state may up the odds that her daughter will marry an Oregonian or simply stay out there after graduation with friends from the Pacific Northwest.</p>

<p>I grew up with no expectation of staying in the same city after schooling. I did attend college where I grew up, but moved away for a job after college (my choice; there were jobs I could have stayed for). 5 out of the 6 kids in my family moved away. Here in western PA, there is great concern and distress that kids are moving away. I would not expect any of my children to return here after college, that is the time to explore beyond the hometown.</p>

<p>I'd say it depends ... each situation and each kid is different ... but I would bet that overall the stats show (if they exist) that kids that go to school far from home are more likely to settle away from home ... even that might have a correlation vs. causation issue (kids willing to go away to school are probably more likely to move away for work irregardless of where they go to school).</p>

<p>I think a prime variable for moving away would be if the econiomy is better where they attend school (attend Stanford grew up in the rust belt). Similarly, if the location of the school is much more interesting than where they grew up (attend Columbia and grew up in the rust belt). Or the kid has wunderlust and is doing the travel they need to do. Or they meet a significant other who is local.</p>

<p>The punchline I think there are a whole host of reasons while someone might stay near where they go to school.</p>

<p>I agree with 3togo, it depends. Both my husband and I live in the state where we received our terminal specialized training. But CA is a hard state to say no to if affordability is not an issue. My S relocated back to CA after spending 6 years in the east coast, 4 for college and 2 for his first job. But he told me if a better job opportunity arises, he will move again, perhaps back to the east coast. My D is in her final year of grad school in the east coast and she's received job interviews all over.</p>

<p>Absolutely going away from home often makes a difference. </p>

<p>I am from the Midwest and there is almost no chance I would be on the East Coast but for the school I attended 900 miles away. </p>

<p>I met my spouse in college - she is from the east, and there was very little chance we ended up far from her family.</p>

<p>Well, for my H and I the determining factor ended up being his occupation. He's an academic (mathematician.) We got married shortly after he got his PhD (MIT) and I got my MPA (UW-Seattle ... we met there as natives and undergrads.) I came in eyes wide open, knowing that there are only so many good academic jobs out there. He narrowed down his tenure track offers to Boston U, UW-Madison, and USC. He opted for USC since I desired to still be on the west coast and we've been here ever since.</p>

<p>I live in the Northeast. I currently attend Duke.
I feel pretty confident that I would prefer to stay in the Northeast after college.
Most of the best jobs are in the New York area anyway.
The only way I would stay down South is if i fall in love with and get in a serious relationship with a girl who wants to stay South.</p>

<p>That was my H's theory.....send them to the four corners of the country so he'd have fun places to visit and it worked for only one (CA). The others went to college in FL and LA and returned to the northeast for careers. The jury is still out for the freshman but my bet is she will stay in this region.</p>

<p>Both my husband and I were foreign service brats - so we didn't have terribly strong ties to our homes in Washington DC. I ended up near where I went to grad school (NYC), dh didn't end up in either Boston (undergrad) or Pasadena (grad). His brother ended up in SF (Stanford Law), but he was actually in DC for many years before moving out there. His sister is still in the DC area. My brothers both ended up in the Boston area where they were undergrads. I could easily have enjoyed staying in CA if things had worked out that way. I loved it there.</p>

<p>Out of my mom's family:</p>

<p>Brother who went to Georgetown: Now lives in California.</p>

<p>Three sisters went to Notre Dame: Two remain in the Midwest, one moved back to her hometown.</p>

<p>Mom and her sister went to Duke: Mom stayed in NC, sister moved around but ended up back here a few years ago.</p>

<p>I think it has less to do with the location and more to do with the person. My California uncle is very laid back, the New York aunt very high strung, etc.</p>

<p>D and her East Coast boyfriend cant wait to get back to California (our home). She gaduates in 3 weeks , is on the gradschool search and any school that is in California and alows her to return home gets extra points in her book. She had no idea how much she loved SoCal until she left it. BUT....she will inevitably live where her competitive field takes her.(that includes a possible international locale)</p>

<p>We live in Michigan and I seriously doubt if either of my kids end up in Michigan. The economy is just so bad that I think that they will end up somewhere else. My S goes to school in Mich. but he is accepting a co-op in Wisconsin and I wouldn't be suprised if he ends up in the upper midwest. My D goes to school in the Northeast and I suspect that she will end up there. Both of my kids are in engineering. I wonder if engineering colleges are more regionally centered, ie jobs are found near where they went to school. </p>

<p>My H went to school in MI and he ended up there.</p>