Small map book opened to US map with highways marked on top of wooden table

How to Sell Your Parents on Out-of-State Colleges

College should be a home away from home. But what do you do when it's really far away from home? You make sure your parents are on board and comfortable too!

College should be your home away from home. But what do you do when it’s home really, really far away from home? Creating your college list of reach, match, and safety schools is hard enough as is. But when it comes to distant and/or out-of-state colleges, you also need to decide how far you’re willing to go. This is especially tricky when you’re considering public schools as an out-of-state student, because those tuition rates can be just as high—or higher—than fancy private colleges. Is it worth it to go to an already pricey dream school that’s also far from home? Well, maybe. Scholarships and financial aid could reduce the demanding costs, and the experience may be well worth the extra travel. Above all, creating parameters for schools you’re interested in should be a discussion that includes your parent(s) or guardian(s).

Managing this conversation

Having this very discussion with my parents about my reach colleges made me feel very stressed and scared. I feared not being able to even apply to a school with my dream program because Mom and Dad said so. When I finally built up the courage to initiate the conversation, I brought a map, a list of colleges, and laptop with me. A mutually beneficial part of this discussion is keeping it as straightforward as possible. Some preconceived notions of your dream school could cloud your judgment, and you want to present the facts with a neutral point of view so you can ensure the college becomes your future home away from home. Here's a great list of considerations that can act as great framework for your college search that I’ve personally used in talking to both my parents and college counselors in order to formulate a realistic, attainable, and smart college list, including faraway and out-of-state schools.

Related: What if You and Your Parents Disagree About Colleges?

What aspects to focus on

In trying to make a smart college list that everyone can be on board, these are the top things you should consider. Obviously, these won’t be the only things you’ll consider when choosing a college, but in order to sell your parent on out-of-state schools, you need to keep your focus on what’s most important to them.

What are the top benefits you’ll gain from attending this college?

Essentially, this is you explaining why this specific college is on your list—why you like it, what makes it stand out, which programs interest you, etc. Understanding the reasons why you want to go to a certain school will help you solidify them and explain them to your parents. (Bonus: you may also find a college with very similar programs next door or just a state away.)

How will you travel to the school, and how will it cost on average?

When you’re so consumed with tuition and other fees, travel costs to and from college can really sneak up on you (and your family), especially if you’re looking at colleges farther away. It’s important to budget for them and discuss travel arrangements with your parents—especially since it’s more than likely you’ll want to go home for breaks or maybe a random weekend here or there. You can also look into the activities and events the college offers parents specifically for when they visit.

What’s the out-of-state tuition rate (for public schools) or overall cost?

For me, this pertained to the state schools I was looking at, but you can also use this point to look at the overall costs of the school. If you’re considering state schools too, you should research what the out-of-state fees are, what they cover, and if there are any deals for students in nearby states. This is also a great way to see how public institution costs fluctuate depending on the state.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Out-Of-State Tuition

What’s the weather like?

While this may not be a game changer, it’s important that you get a sense of your potential future environment, especially if that environment is a big change. For instance, if you live somewhere where the climate is traditionally warmer year-round and you go to a school with harsh winters, you’ll have some adapting to do. It can impact your leisure options and overall happiness, and it might even affect your job and internship opportunities.

How will non-school expenses affect your budget?

Again, it’s easy to forget that college costs don’t stop at tuition! Books, activity fees, local transportation, groceries, health insurance, and general spending money can all add up fast. Make yourself a budget and factor in as many foreseeable expenses you can think of—and find places where you can cut expenses that you can life without

What are the room and board fees and conditions like?

College websites usually include their room and board prices. Visiting colleges will help you get a better look at what to expect too. There’s a chance room and board could be expensive and the living accommodations just aren’t worth the price, and you decide to pivo to a different living situation. If you’re thinking about living off campus at any point, this can also be a good time to research what those expenses are like, such as average rents.

How safe is the campus, and what kind of precautions are in place?

With the influx of stories about fraternity and sorority hazing, unruly partying, discrimination, and too many cases of assault on campuses, it’s important to visit campus and note the school’s safety rules and resources. And don’t be afraid to ask people questions. If they’re not willing to answer, it could mean the school doesn’t take safety seriously enough.

Related: How to Stay Safe on Your College Campus

Not only will this advice help you narrow your college search to your comfort zone, this framework and thought process is a great way to prove to even the most overprotective parents that going to a college farther away or out of state is a good idea. Just by taking the initiative to present your research in this way shows your responsible and mature enough to be going off to college on your own. So go have those conversations and start forming your perfect college list!

Start researching these important school factors using our College Search tool or get more great search process advice in our College Admission section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
college admission college lists college search out-of-state colleges public colleges and universities public schools

About Ashmini Weerakoon

Ashmini Weerakoon is a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School, one of New York's nine Specialized Schools. During her time in such a fast-paced and competitive environment, she was fortunate enough to take interest in various STEM fields ranging from digital electronics to AP Chemistry while maintaining her love for the humanities. Ashmini hopes to find a college that rewards her open mindedness and love for learning and has found CollegeXpress to be a resourceful tool in doing so. She hopes that she can work alongside fellow students across the nation to attain a greater understanding of the college process and provide her own personal tips and tricks to make a great college candidate.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Laura Wallace

Laura Wallace

High School Class of 2019

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is that it features student writers so I get an inside perspective from students slightly older and farther along than me. I realize that other college websites also utilize student writers; however, I relate the most to the college writers that I read articles from on CollegeXpress.

Farrah Macci

Farrah Macci

High School Class of 2016

CollegeXpress has helped me in many ways. For one, online searches are more organized and refined by filtering scholarships through by my personal and academic interests. Due to this, it has made searching for colleges and scholarships significantly less stressful. As a student, life can already get stressful pretty quickly. For me, it’s been helpful to utilize CollegeXpress since it keeps all of my searches and likes together, so I don’t have to branch out on multiple websites just to explore scholarship options.

Alexandria

Alexandria

High School Class of 2021

For a long time, I've been searching everywhere to find the perfect website I can get scholarships and information from. Needless to say, I could never find the right one. That was, until I found CollegeXpress. Through my journey of finding the right scholarships for me, I was able to find articles about different things. They've all been helpful, especially in times like this! I was even able to connect with some of my favorite colleges! I love CollegeXpress. Thank you!

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.

Amelia

Amelia

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress helped open me up to many colleges that fit my interests. I’m only a sophomore in high school, so I like having a lot to look at, and CX does a great job of picking colleges that meet my wants. It's a great website that I'll continue to use until it comes time for me to apply for colleges. I also like that it notifies me through email with options to look at. Thanks CX!

College Matches