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How hard would it be to move away for college, and then move back to my hometown after I graduate (on my own, not with my parents)?

I am currently in Washington State (Seattle area) and am thinking of going away to California for college. I really like where I live however, and there are a lot of good paying opportunities for what I want to do around here (computer science/software engineer). I think going away for four years would be a good idea because otherwise my parents might still want to always watch over me, and it would give me a good chance to be fully on my own and give me that experience.

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Anthony’s Answer

Hello Bree,
If you want to move to California to be away from your parents' control, then it may not be a really good way to do it. Because doing this you may or may not get what you want. The best thing to do is to have a good talk with your parents. As parents, they may not realize that you have grown up and ready to be on your own. A good talk will go a long way. Also keep in mind that you will always be their child (speaking both as a son and a father) and whatever they did, do or will do (looking over you all the time) they do it because they care about you.

Anyway, back to moving away for school. There is pros and cons. I will not give you a laundry list but encourage you to do your own research (as each person's situation are different.) In my opinion, it will be a good experience (if finance is not an issue) for you to move away for school. Without going into the detail (otherwise I will have to publish a book about my life experience,) here is what I did back then:

I see your location is Kirkland, so you will be graduating from either Juanita High School or Lake Washington High School? I graduated from Lake Washington and I attended the UW afterward. I lived at home all four years undergraduate school. After graduating from the UW, I went to USC in California for my master, living away from home. So, I had experienced both and both experiences were equally good. Being independent is not where you live, but how you live. You can be as independent living at home as much as you are living away. Someone can move very far away from their parents, yet still pretty much under their parents' control. Someone may be living at home and their parents pretty much let them be on their own.

The second part of your question: 'moving back after school.' For me, it was not a difficult decision. I grew up in Kirkland (East Side) and really love the area especially the natural environment around here. Comparing to Southern California (back in the 1990s), the Pacific Northwest was much more relaxing (to some extent, it still is.) So there was no question that it was a good decision to come back. In term of works (Microsoft was expanding) back then, the salaries in Southern California were higher than in the Seattle metropolitan, but factor in the living expenses (mostly the housing cost) it was very favorable for moving back as well.

Personally, if I have to do this all over again today I would do exactly what I did back then.

Good Luck.
Anthony







Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! This was very helpful. :) Bree
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Will’s Answer

Hi Bree,

I think many people do that -- go out of state for University potentially even start your first job near the school (or you may actually start your first job in another state altogether) -- but eventually move back to your hometown. Seattle is a huge market so that should not be an issue for jobs. I think the time away from your parents could be great for your personal growth and independence as well and you can be more prepared to live on your own when you go back. How exciting that you have these options and adventures ahead of you!
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Anna’s Answer

Hi Bree,

It is great that you are thinking through this decision and what might make you the happiest.

Having physical distance between yourself and your parents will naturally make it easier for you to be more independent. From your post, it sounds like this is something that you want to experience. If you choose a college closer to home, it might be harder to have the boundaries you want with your parents, but not impossible. It depends on how much you might be willing to stand up for what you need. You know your parents the best - my advice would be to think through and imagine the different scenarios of going away to California vs. staying in Seattle vs. moving somewhere else entirely. How might your parents react to each one? How strong are you willing to stand with your own boundaries? How willing are you to advocate for what you need vs. what your parents want?

No matter where you go or what you choose, you can always return to Seattle. Or you can stay in Seattle for college and then move away if that's an experience you want. You are in control of your life, and are always free to change or mind or make a new decision or choice. There is almost never one right answer, which is frustrating, but the best you can do is make the decision with the knowledge and information you have at the time.
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david’s Answer

Bree,
That does sound exciting, doesn't it? Away from home and on your own. It's probably rather simple: rent an apartment on a one-year lease, renew each year until final year, and then you would move back home. You would need to provide a security deposit and also setup renter's insurance as an apartment dweller. You should check with college first, as some do not allow off-campus living. Also, many colleges provide assistance in helping students find apartments off-campus and that could be a good resource for you. Your biggest challenge will be to stay focused on your studies. Living away from the campus, you will find it easy to be tempted to spend your time elsewhere. Stay focused, and you will enjoy your adventure. All the best to you.
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Kaylee’s Answer

Hi Bree,

Sounds like a big decision and an exciting opportunity! You of course need to do whatever is best for your situation, but I'd encourage you to take this opportunity to branch out, experience new things, and build your confidence in yourself. Going away for college is an amazing chance to learn and grow. It is definitely doable to rent an apartment as David recommended or to look into on-campus housing opportunities. The school should have resources to assist with both on and off campus housing. Check their website or reach out to one of the counselors listed on applications or school website. You would have to consider costs and what you can afford. Many student loans cover living expenses while attending school so that's an option too. There are also paid internship opportunities through schools.

Then you can absolutely move back home afterward. You'd then even have experience on renting a place :) Who knows, you may even love CA and want to stay!

Best of luck and keep us posted!

Kaylee recommends the following next steps:

Check school website for on and off campus housing options
Consider your budget and how you would pay for housing - look into loans, etc.
Google rental options in the area if you don't go through your school. Be careful if you use Craigslist or other sites - they can be great, but always put your safety first.
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Briana’s Answer

Hi, Bree!

Try researching the housing options at your chosen universities. Most public and private universities offer on-campus dormitories with a meal plan, which is included in the room and board semester fee. Some also offer university-affiliated off-campus housing, which typically doesn't come with a meal plan included. Then there is the option of renting or sub-leasing an off-campus home or apartment, with no meal plan and commuting in. It's up to you to determine which option fits best with your financial budget, willingness/ability to commute, and social needs. Keep in mind that out-of-state tuition costs are typically higher than in-state tuition and budget accordingly.

Many colleges actually encourage the freshman class to live in on-campus dormitories. This comes with the benefit of having a meal plan, being centrally located, and having an easy means of socializing. It can also be a very expensive option, and if you prefer quieter spaces, this may not be for you. Make sure you do a lot of pre-planning for what your budget allows, and look for grant and scholarship (does not need to be paid back), loan (does need to be paid back), or work study (working on or near campus for reduced fees) options at your chosen schools.
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Liediana’s Answer

Hi there, moving away and moving back again should not be hard if you have gained financial independence during and after college.
Some ways to make some money is through seeking internships or part-time jobs as you are pursuing your education. With financial independence, you can easily find studio apartments as starters to moving back to your city after college without having to impose on your parents.
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