In the past decade, an undergraduate degree or some other form of advanced training has become more vital than ever, to successfully enter meaningful employment. Today, an undergraduate degree has the same employment obtainment power as the high school diploma did for former generations. However, college is more than just getting a degree. More than ever college is about obtaining real world experience, creating life-long connections, and developing into a well-rounded individual. There are so many questions to think about when going to college. What do I want my major to be? What do I want to do when I graduate? Etc. However, the most important question might be, where do I want to go to school? There are two important considerations unrelated to major: Stay at or close to home? Move far away from home?

Some of the most vital reasons to go away to college are recounted here, as lived by me, a real live college senior.

1. It gives you greater independence.

It allows you to thrive in a way you cannot if mom and dad are a 5 minute to 1 hour drive away, or in the next room. If you’re still living at home you never get the chance to meet challenges without the crutch of a parent coming through the door momentarily.You have always relied on your parents.The closer they are, the fewer the opportunities to break that pattern.

When you don’t live at home there is no one to wake you up in the morning to make sure you go to your 8am class, you simply have to be self-motivated to succeed. Going away to college allows you to cut the tie and learn to do things for yourself, whether it be setting up a dentist appointment, or in more advanced years, paying your electric bill.

2. It’s a chance to discover who you are

The average college student is still discovering who they are while they are in college. Going to a new place for college can open you up to experiences and people you would never meet in your hometown. This can help shape your life and become who you want to be. Not who your parents want you to be. Not whom your childhood friends and peers see you as. Something more, something still changing and still growing. Can you grow and change closer to your parents. Of course, you can. However, people often say college is a time for experimentation. Being away at university helps you figure out, in an unfamiliar environment, what you like, what you do not like, and what you want to do with your life.

If you stay at home you are more likely to keep doing what you have always done. This may not be a bad thing. However, moving somewhere new could help you discover a completely different side of yourself. Micro-cultures are a fact. Going away to school increases your opportunities to discover other ideas, and ways of living, rather than sticking with the familiar and comfortable.

3. It pushes you out of your comfort zone

Starting over in a new place can be scary, especially when you do not know anyone. It is a very valuable skill to have and one you will probably need after university.

The average individual needs to experience new people at some point in their life, rather than be surrounded by familiar faces. In order to learn how to handle people and grow culturally as a person, one must place themselves in a new environment with faces that are anything but familiar.

People who are successful in the real world know how to handle people in different situations. They need to adapt to being more outgoing and social even if they are an introvert. These skills can be obtained by going to college away from home.

High school graduates wanting to go to college should give serious consideration to moving away from home. Going away for college provides additional opportunities for a student to develop priceless real world skills, ahead of the peer who remains closer to the home. It will improve their odds of meeting their full potential, provided they understand self-discipline when it comes to class attendance and homework.

While getting a degree is the main focal point in going to college, one should not underestimate the many other benefits of attending a university. Especially one miles away from home.

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