Refusing to Cross State Lines for College

I made it to Baltimore for the gigantic convention of the National Association for College Admission Counseling that 5,300 college admissions officers and high school and independent college counselors are attending. I’m not completely awake — I got to my hotel room at 2 a.m. today — but I’m excited about bringing lots of news about college to all my college blog visitors.

I wanted to shared a conversation that I had this morning with Kris Hintz, a independent college counselor from New Jersey. She was lamenting about how difficult it is to convince parents to let their teenagers look beyond their geographic area for college. She said parents in her part of the country don’t want their kids to leave the Northeast. I told her that it wasn’t just an East Coast phenomenon. I run into parents all the time in California who give me variations of this response: “My child can go to school anywhere as long as it’s in California.”

Not allowing teenagers to leave their state or region can hurt their chances for generous financial aid packages or merit scholarships. Many colleges love kids from elsewhere and are often willing to kick in more money. I suspect part of the problem is that parents want their child close in case there is a problem, but air travel makes that far less of an issue. Hintz’s son attends Emory University in Atlanta, which is a quick trip from the Newark airport. To parents in the New York area, however, Georgia can seem like an exotic, distant land. And yet getting to Emory is far easier and quicker than driving to Middlebury College in Vermont or Bowdoin College in Maine.

Parents also freak out about airfare, which can be shortsighted since a fat merit package can make the cost of two or three plane tickets seem like a puny consideration. What many parents also don’t realize is that they can often remove their college student from their car insurance policy if the child attends a distant school without a vehicle. I am able to take my daughter Caitlin off my policy every school year when she’s in Pennsylvania and that has saved my husband and I thousands of dollars. Check with your car insurance carrier to see if that is possible. If it is, the savings will probably far outweigh the cost of flying.

4 Responses to Refusing to Cross State Lines for College

  1. Frederic Seppa October 24, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Nice post with some useful ideas! I can’t say that I completely agree with all that you have suggested here, but there are a few relevant recommendations you have highlighted that can be rather useful on travel tips and associated topics. Definitely keep providing more ideas on this topic and associated subjects, as there are quite a few folks who are attempting to evaluate the costs and benefits.

  2. John September 28, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    Parents, seem to be almost afraid of the out state college thing, first its the cost then their so far away from home. There is a great tool to search higher education by state. Check out this link and select a state selector. http://www.universityvisitorsnetwork.com/select_state.php

  3. Lynn O'Shaughnessy September 25, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Hi Sonia,
    Sorry you are having troubles with my remodeled website. It’s got some bugs and I’m still trying to figure it out myself. My web designer rolled it out while I’ve been at the NACAC convention in Baltimore, but when I return to California, I’ll be sure to add this to my list of things to tweak! Please be patient and thanks for visiting my blog!
    Best,
    Lynn O’Shaughnessy

  4. Sonia September 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    Am I missing how to e-mail this story to a friend? I was able to do it on the old site- Help! I regularly refer your articles to others- Sonia

Leave a Reply