Post-graduate education: distant or local?

Cameron Valaitis, Student Writer



As high school seniors approach their final weeks at GNA and current juniors near their last year in high school, maturing students are faced with several major dilemmas: whether or not to go to college, what to study, and the proximity of a potentially desired place of study.

Contemplating this decision—particularly the latter—is surely a difficult choice for some. If one is to pursue a local education, one could benefit from remaining close to friends, family, and loved ones, along with staying near the area where one grew up. Regional education allows one to keep his or her car and to save a large amount of money for lack of a need to rent a dormitory on the college campus. Local universities can also be reached with ease, improving one’s social and familial stability. In a distant educational environment, however, one benefits from a greatly increased ability to explore the world and to acquaint oneself with a previously unknown area. This promotes the growth of independence, thus pushing one to form new bonds and invest time in previously untouched opportunities. One can also have a greater selection of distant schools when compared to local ones, and can thus choose a campus with a personalized mix of affordability, educational quality, and environmental desirability.

Of course, both options also have noticeable downsides, with students at local institutions being often subject to disruptive visitations from family members who expect reciprocity in their willingness to interact. Many local students also lose a large amount of potential study time to entertaining themselves with their numerous pre-existing friends in the region. Staying close to home additionally causes one to lose out on many valuable opportunities in self-discovery and development of independence—experiences which are difficult to recreate in later phases of one’s. Contrary to this, however, many students attending distant institutions often suffer from all-encompassing nostalgia and social exclusion, leading to loneliness and consequent decreases in academic performance. University students far from home are also often unable to easily adjust to the new environment in which they find themselves and tend to incur extensive fees for studying out-of-state, renting a dormitory, and utilizing a meal plan.

Upon considering the positive and negative aspects of obtaining an education in either a local or a distant location, one realizes that both options have benefits and drawbacks. To some, living in a remote area for several years may come as an enjoyable challenge, while to others such a prospect is frightening and undesirable. In the end, the final decision comes down to the personal preferences of the student in question, and one cannot definitively state that the path of regional education is preferable to the road of faraway studies (or vice versa).