Home v. Away Schools: which will you choose?


As 2018 comes to an end, many seniors are anxiously checking their emails and mailboxes for letters from colleges and universities they have applied to. Many students have been waiting to branch out and go off to other states to receive their education. However, many stay home to save money and be closer to family.

There is no “right” way when it comes to deciding if one should stay home. However, many students and their families find it helpful to look at both the pros and cons of staying home or going away.

It is a decision that should be closely discussed around the dinner table,” guidance counselor Ms. Marianne McCormick said. “I would always advise visiting some ‘away’ schools as well as some ‘home’ schools so that any decision the family makes is a fully informed one.”

Going to an away school has many advantages, such as the ability to experience new cultures and people. For example, California is the film capital of America, and for any students interested in studying film, it is the state that offers the most hands on training. While New York does have colleges that offer the opportunity to study film, being in the true heart of the film industry would be more advantageous to pursue a film career.

“Going away to school is definitely a different experience, but it’s well worth it. Being in a different place allows you to meet different people from all over the U.S.A. and all over the world,” MHS 2018 graduate and current Fairfield University student Peter Toutoulis said. “You also have a newfound sense of freedom and responsibility which I feel will prepare you for life beyond college.”

Another benefit of going to an away school is gaining a sense of independence. Students will be forced to make their own schedules for studying and spending time with friends. Students would also be able to learn from their mistakes and grow from them.

Where there is good, there is bad. Going away for college is extremely expensive without significant scholarships. Many students will also have to face the harsh reality of missing out on family reunions and spending time with high school friends who decided to stay closer to home.

“Going to school away from home also makes you appreciate being home with your friends and family more because you are away for anywhere from six-to-nine months throughout the year,” Toutoulis said.

While dorming and going out of state may strike the fancy of some, others prefer to stay home for college. Some might argue that staying home has developed a bad reputation in recent years, as schools in New York have become increasingly more expensive than they were in the past. However, there are many advantages to attending a college in-state that are not available to those who choose to go away.

One major perk is price. By remaining local, students can easily commute to their school, which significantly lowers the price of attendance. Students can also begin to save money by having a part time job that is close to home to save for a car or gas money and could potentially have more flexible hours.

Another advantage of staying home is New York State residents have the benefit of SUNY schools. While they can be expensive and competitive, students within the state have an increased chance of being accepted into these schools. One of the most attractive factors of these schools is that most students do not need to stay at the school, depending on where they live in the state, and can commute back and forth, depending on which SUNY school they attend.  

Staying home brings a huge cost savings. You are comfortable because you are living where you know. You are able to focus solely on school work,” Ms. McCormick said.

Just like away schools, staying home has some disadvantages. It is somewhat harder to meet new students outside of classes since most stay-at-home students leave after they are done.

“You would have to make a point to become involved in school activities so that you become immersed in the student life on campus,” Ms. McCormick said.

Each student should make a choice that benefits them and that is cost effective. Whether away or at home, students from Massapequa have the potential to receive a great education wherever they end up going.

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