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Location, Location, Location: More Tips for Choosing Colleges

College bound students are choosing a new home, as much as they are choosing a new school. Often, students we advise want to move to Southern California–one, because its further away from home (since we’re Northern California) than the San Francisco Bay Area, yet still in their home state, and two, for the beaches and temperate weather. Parents will roll their eyes, interjecting, “Yes, but what do you want to major in?”, while looking imploringly at me to validate their concerns.  Both, parents and students are correct in their perspectives. Neither party wants the kid coming home to live at the family compound as a college graduate (which 36% of young adults aged 18 to 31, are living at home with parents, the highest percent in 40 years*), so an academic major that will eventually lead to employment is helpful, while a comfortable living environment at college, can help the student be the most successful in their academic/career pursuits.  Additionally, a location can be more career “friendly” if intended industry and companies are located in the same region as the potential colleges.  Both, the student’s concern about location and the parents’ concern about future employment work hand-in-hand.

“Googling” the name of the city where the college is located to find more information about the region can be helpful in researching colleges for application.  Then, students not only understand that they’ll have access to features, like the beach, but other opportunities for recreation, internships, favorite restaurants etc.  A recent New York Times article about Ithaca, NY and the city’s collaboration with the local colleges, Cornell University and Ithaca College, is a prime example of the research available for students to learn more about their new home.  Location research can also give parents who are concerned about safety and job prospects greater understand to quell or at least quiet fears about their “babies” heading out of the nest.

In general, the more information a student and their parents have about a potential college and its location, the more confident the decision will be about enrolling in the end.  And, for tens of thousands of dollars invested both in current and possibly future income (i.e. student loans), wouldn’t the extra google searching be worthwhile?

*Pew Research Center, August 1, 2013