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In-State or Out- of State?

Is it smarter to go to an in state college or university or an Out of state?

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Kiersten’s Answer

This can depend a lot on your situation. I outline some of the potential benefits of each option below. For each benefit, you'll want to consider how much that matters to you, your family, and your ultimate career goals.

Pros to in-state:
1. If you go to a public school, it's likely to be dramatically cheaper. (At my school, out-of-state tuition was about 2-3 times in-state tuition.)
2. Similar to the above, there may be state scholarships, savings programs, or other benefits that further decrease tuition if you stay in-state.
3. You'll have family support closer by if you ever need it, and visiting home will likely be much easier.
4. The career connections you create and the friends you make will be in the same place as your pre-existing roots. This doesn't tend to feel super meaningful to teens, but as you get older, you may appreciate not having to choose between living close to friends and living close to family.

Pros to out-of-state:
1. You'll be forced into a greater degree of independence by being further away from old family and friends. Personally, I went to a school 30 minutes from home, and my family was extremely good about being hands off and letting me live my own life, but you have to know your own family.
2. You'll probably have more new experiences living in a new place. This is more about being in a different kind of place, though, than a different state. If you live in rural NY, going to school in NYC would probably be more different than going to school in rural PA. And for some people, this will be seen as a con - it depends on how adventurous you are and how well you handle change,
3. If you're interested in a field that is bigger in a different area, moving there may make sense.
4. This isn't a reason to *choose* an out-of-state school so much as a reason to consider them generally, but there are just so many more out-of-state options compared to in-state options that it's very possible there's an out-of-state school that fits your particular needs better than any in-state school could.

Personally, I went to an in-state school, and would recommend that option to most people, assuming you're looking at two schools that are otherwise similar. Keep in mind, though, that people with different experiences/personalities/families/goals may have different pros and cons that are also worth considering.
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Eugenia’s Answer

There's pro and cons to each. The most common pro for in-state is that tuition costs are generally lower for residents. Out of state universities may have stronger programs in your major/area of focus compared to what's available in your state. The benefit being that it'll provide you with targeted courses and networking opportunities within your particular field. There's also the option of taking a hybrid approach. Where you first attend a local school to complete general course credits and transfer to an out of state school for the remaining 2-3 years.
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Terica’s Answer

Hello! This is a great question and glad you are taking time to think about it. I think you would have to ask yourself, " what you want to gain from the college experience?" Each offer very different experiences. Moving away from home could be a big step if you are not use to being on your own, while staying close to home could leaving you feeling like you are not being challenged enough to grow to your potential. Take the time, think about what each opportunity has to offer and go from there to decide.

Best of luck to you as you decide and determine the best fit for you.

TJ
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Katie’s Answer

I'm actually also from Minnesota and I went to an out of state college. I can't speak for everyone, but my experience was extremely positive. It was hard at first, since my entire family is in Minnesota and I had never been away from them for that long, but when I found my friends and got a bit more comfortable, I saw it was the best decision I could have made. My school is in Milwaukee, so it wasn't too far (5 hour drive), and I could take a bus home if I wanted to. There are also a lot of solutions to the common problems people bring up for schools out of state. Don't want to lug all your stuff home over the summer? Go in on a storage unit with a friend (they're cheaper than you'd think). Want to go home for the weekend? Most universities have a rideshare page where you can find someone with a car to tag along with.
My one piece of advice if you're going out of state is to try and find a school in an area with a lot going on or at least a school with a very social culture. No matter where you go, you will be more or less starting over socially, and that can be both exciting and scary, but finding a school that has opportunities for you to grow your circle makes a huge difference.
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Wei’s Answer

Hi Samuel! To be honest, I will choose out state with below reasons:
1. I can be individual as I have become an adult. I need to go to a new place to show I can survive here although my families are not here.
2. Out states means different culture, you can enjoy the multi-culture which can broad your mind.
Hope these answers can help u.
Cheers!
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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Samuel! There honestly isn’t a smarter choice; it’s more about your personal goals. First and foremost, I would consider which schools have the best programs for whatever you want to study (both in state and out of state). I would also consider where you might want to live and work after college, and then I would investigate what recruiting looks like at both in state and out of state universities. Some schools have lots of employers visiting campus who recruit for lots of jobs in state, whereas other schools recruit have lots employers visiting campus hiring for a wide variety of cities. If you are interested in staying in Minnesota for example, in state schools might offer better job recruiting for Minnesota based jobs and less employers recruiting for jobs in other cities. However, if you want to move New York, for example, you may find that schools based in New York or elsewhere on the east coast have better recruiting opportunities for people who want to work in New York. Beyond the considerations I already mentioned, I would urge you to look into scholarship programs and scholarships at schools out of state. While colleges in state are often less expensive, it’s certainly possible to find colleges out of state that will give scholarships that can make out of state schools have similar tuitions to in state schools. There’s no harm in applying and inquiring if there are scholarship opportunities, even if you are worried about finances. Ultimately, you can and will be successful whether you choose a state school or a school out of state, and you can find and make opportunities wherever you go. Best of luck with your decision!
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Christian’s Answer

In-State or Out- of State?
Is it smarter to go to an in state college or university or an Out of state?


I would say this is a very important question that takes a lot of intentional planning and resources that might not be always available given certain situations. And I will follow the question under the assumption by "in state" you mean a public state school only and out of state, a public and or private out of state school.

I would summarize the main considerations as dealing with: cost, culture, academics, career, and personal goals. I can follow one by one below with some context behind each.

Cost: A main attraction towards in state schools could be their more affordable cost in giving preferential treatment towards in state students. This can have an effect in the culture of these schools which we will get into later as big state schools might have multiple 10s of thousands of students attending. When looking at your options it becomes a very real consideration when In state programs can be half as much or less than private schools/out of state public schools with higher rates for certain students. This can of course be affected by your scholarship awards if any towards lowering tuition and can sometimes hold more attractive offers from local state schools to retain students.


Culture: As mentioned before your state public schools might be very large and a culture shock when you're first surrounded by thousands of new faces that don't immediately provide a home community. This adjustment can be easy or hard if you come from a smaller town and are used to being close to family etc. Weigh the considerations of how you think you'll like the culture of these large environments and what type of social circumstance you would prefer. Sometimes it can be good to get out of your comfort zone and find immense opportunity from meeting so many new people in larger social settings.

Academics: With this consideration you could look into rankings of schools as that is a somewhat decent indicator of the quality of programs for your academic interests. These can be influenced and skewed to some extent, but again is still a decent broad indicator of academic experiences in quality of learning etc of subjects like finance, economics etc. I would think your interest in out of state programs is to pursue strong academic institutions across the country, that can be more competitive but provide great professors, learning potential, etc. That's not to say there aren't some amazing public in state schools; I myself went to such a school that was well ranked and enjoyed my academic experience there with the right amount of rigour/interesting subject material.

Career: I would say this part is largely left undervalued, but may be one of if not the most important factors in my opinion. And it is tough to think about since I don't believe it's in most freshman's minds what job they want to have as they are deciding their college of choice as some do have more direct paths towards certain job types. You don't have to be dead set on a career, but it is extremely important to understand to some extent the company sponsorships of career fairs/programs that schools have recruiting pipelines for certain jobs/industries. These pipelines/internal connections can have a serious impact on how easily you can manage to land internships/full time jobs in your desired fields since some schools unfortunately don't have those relationships built with certain companies. A more well established competitive school will likely have more opportunity in job opportunities and alumni relationships that could be developed just by principle of you attending that school.

Personal Goals: This I think is simple in that you clearly have to have some summed intention of what it is you want to accomplish in your 4 years at an institution. So whether that is some level of having fun, learning a lot, and following a strong career path, aggregate that list of must haves and see what aligns best across all those fronts I mentioned in your personal choice.

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Daniel’s Answer

I would suggest maybe a different way to ask your question - what's the best investment that you can make in your future, if you limit your choices to where you choose to get a college education. Or to phrase it simply as "what's the best deal (cost of tuition, future earning potential) I can get for my educational investment (in both time and money)"?

I'm sure that there are both good in-state and out-of-state colleges/universities that you would be interested in attending. Usually an in-state public college/university will be lower in cost (tuition, living expenses) than an out-of-state choice. Do you have a particular major or professional degree that you wish to pursue? That could give you a way to gauge which schools are known to provide a good education for that specialization. US News publishes a yearly ranking of schools (both public and private) and that can be a good place to start, in terms of narrowing down your choices. One tip (from someone who worked a few jobs to put themself thru college) - for many professional degrees, the first couple of years of classes cover mostly general pre-requisites (for example, intro science and math classes) that can be covered just as well in a community college, at a fraction of the tuition of a 4-year institution. That might be a cost-effective option to put on the table.

If you haven't decided on what major to pursue, or perhaps not even what broad area of study (e.g. arts, science, finance, communications, engineering, etc.), then you may wish to choose an university that can offer a broad-based curriculum so you can explore different topics and have lots of choices. You'll also be more likely to meet and talk with other students who may spark an interest in an area that you've not thought about before. There's a lot of decisions one makes in college that might have significant impact later in life, which can be traced back to a serendipitous (and completely unexpected) conversation/meeting.

Once you have considered the academic aspects of potential schools, you might also want to think about the more general "college experience" that interests you. These are mostly aspects that align with one's personality. Are you looking for someplace that's very competitive, or more collaborative? Large schools with many choices of majors and many diverse opinions, or one that is smaller, with more supportive, personal feel? Live on campus, or more of a commuter student body? I would argue that these aspects have an equal, if not greater impact on your college experience, as the academics. If you can, go visit a few potential schools; hopefully Covid restrictions will relax more so that you can get a better sense of campus life during your visit. Do you know people who've gone to some of the schools you're interested in (friends, relatives, neighbors, people at church or where you work)? Get their insights and experiences, see what they liked about the place, what surprised them.

I'll throw in my two cents - I chose my college based on their reputation for the major that I wished to pursue, and because it was more affordable. In retrospect, I wish I looked more at the environment and "vibe" of the student community, and had the maturity to question some of the "suggestions" made to me by relatives and friends. I think that I might have ended up enjoying college a lot more if I had. I have come to learn that one's choice of college can certainly have an influence on your success post-college, but it's not as big an influence as I was led to believe. In other words, choose a place that helps you explore what you're interested in, helps you be happy and healthy. Everything else tends to have a way of working themselves out.
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Samuel,

You got a lot of great information here to consider. I wanted to just add a brief note on my thoughts to your question.

The answer is - it depends. If you are going to a particular school that would be desired for your career choice, I would say out of state would be a reason to go. In most classes, if you have a good school, I would say go to school locally at least early. The reason here is not initially cost. I think that you can benefit from being at home when you begin the journey into college. College is very different and a lot harder than high school. Going away to a new place with people you may or may not know may not be the best experience. I certainly faltered without a support system when I left home for the first time.

Gloria
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