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My main goal in the next five years of my life is to go to college at Washington state, however I know going to college out of state can be very stressful and difficult. Is there any steps I can take to make the process easier, and more beneficial for the stress of out of state colleges?

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Rosmery (ROS-ME-RY)’s Answer

Going to a new environment and staying to live there for a while can be stressful in general. Here are three tips:

  1. Visiting the college area if you are financially able to do so and if its within a reasonable distance would help. When you get accepted to the out of state school, they will send orientation and other event dates to get you familiarized with the college. I lived in NYC all my life and enrolled in a school in Connecticut that was not far from Providence, RI. I visited the school a few times before I entered as an enrolled student. The school had different orientation events and I was able to assist most. It definitely helped my transition.
  2. If visiting before hand is not an option, looking up the area would be helpful and it can be done gradually. For example, take this weekend to look up restaurants. Search for different foods you like to eat and make a list of restaurants you would like check out once you are there. Then take the following weekend to look up neighboring towns or cities you would like to check out. Doing this research gradually rather than in one setting could help make you get more excited to go out of state and saves you some stress once you are actually there. 
  3. Also, look up your future college in different social media platforms. Although some groups are closed to enrolled students, you can follow the activities the colleges posts about. You can also friend or follow any current student . If they accept your follow or friend request, introduce yourself and say that you would like to ask about real student experiences. Ask if they are out state or if they can connect you with someone out of state. Bonus: doing this also builds your networking skills, an imperative skill to have when it is time for you to looks for jobs. 

Good luck and I hope this helps!

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Joelyn’s Answer

Congratulations! Sounds like a great experience. My daughter is currently a freshman and attends college out of state. It has been a learning experience for sure, and there are a few things I wish we had thought about before going. It is good that you are taking steps to find out more.

  • Definitely join, and have your family join the facebook freshman parents pages and other school related sites and groups which give a great deal of information that you hadn't thought about (like that you can rent a fridge and microwave that is delivered to your door, the shuttle bus information to the airport, where the vegan cafeterias are, etc)
  • Make sure your relatives know how to use Facetime or Skype and give them a tutorial if they don't. Bring some pictures of family and friends.
  • If it is safe to do and when your roommate is there then try to keep your door open the first couple days in order to meet hallmates. Be gregarious because everyone feels a little awkward about starting a conversation with a total stranger.
  • Ask the school ahead of time what extra charges there may be that were not listed initially such as science building fee of $200 and gym fee of $300 - that you may get charged for using whether you utilize the services or not. Not fun to get a $600 bill after you thought everything was paid.
  • Most schools have a good health center but if not then CVS or the pharmacy usually has a minute clinic if you get sick.
  • Ask around about what dorms and apartments that people really like because you will be asked to sign up for next year's housing starting in October/November.
  • Visit the career services center earlier than everyone else. If you are interested in doing study abroad then you have to sign up early for the upcoming year.

Luckily, all the schools these days have a good website of information so just go through it very thoroughly.

Most important is to appreciate that this is an incredible opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, see new sights, and network. Take in some of the speaker series and shows at the school and attend the freshman ice breakers. The people you meet today may be able to help you get a job or vice versa in the future. Good luck!!

Joelyn recommends the following next steps:

Next step: Print the school calendar to give to your family and try to make plans ahead of time if it requires flights or hotel. And don't stress out! It is exciting!!!

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Mai’s Answer

Congratulation on your goal. It can be scary and exciting at the same time when you move to an area where you don't know anyone.  First think of it as an adventure and take time to enjoy the whole experience. I have moved at least four times for my job to a new place where I don't know anyone or anything and one of the first things I do is take some time to find out what is around me. Where is the nearest coffee shop or Chinese restaurant. If you are active, where are the walking trails. As someone who lived in WA for over ten years, it is a beautiful place and everyone there is extremely kind and willing to go out of their way to help.