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Making the Move: 10 Factors to Consider When Attending College Out-of-State

Attending college in a new state is an exciting opportunity to explore a different culture, make new friends, and gain valuable life experiences. However, it can also be overwhelming and nerve-wracking. Here are some things to consider as you prepare for this exciting journey.

1. Location and Climate

Moving to a new state means adjusting to new weather conditions and different geographical features. Research the climate and weather patterns of the state you will be moving to and prepare yourself accordingly. For example, if you're from California and attending college in Minnesota, you may need to purchase warm clothing such as a heavy coat, boots, and gloves to prepare for the cold winters. Be aware that the cost of winter clothing can be high, so budget accordingly. On the other hand, if you're from Maine and attending college in Arizona, you'll need to prepare for the hot and dry climate by packing lightweight and breathable clothing.

In addition, research the location of your college and what the surrounding area has to offer. Are you in a big city or a rural area? Is the campus in a safe area? Do you need a car to get around, or is public transportation easily accessible? Knowing the ins and outs of your new environment will help you feel more comfortable and prepared.

2. Cost of Living

The cost of living can vary widely from state to state. Research the average cost of rent, groceries, and other necessities in your new state and factor that into your budget. For instance, if you're headed to college in Los Angeles, be prepared for a higher cost of living compared to a smaller college town in the Midwest. According to recent data, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is around $3,155 per month, while in a smaller college town like Ames, Iowa, the average cost is around $794 per month.

3. Housing

Some colleges offer on-campus housing options such as dormitories or apartments, while others may offer off-campus housing options. If you need to find off-campus housing, research the neighborhoods surrounding your campus and look for safe and affordable options. It can be helpful to talk to current students to get their perspective on which neighborhoods are safe and affordable. You may also want to consider living with roommates to cut down on expenses.

4. Transportation

As mentioned earlier, research the transportation options available in your new state. If you're attending college in a big city like Chicago, you may not need a car since public transportation such as buses and trains are readily available. On the other hand, if you're attending college in a more rural area, you may need a car to get around and explore the surrounding area. If you plan to have a car, you will need to obtain a driver's license and register your vehicle in the new state. If you plan to use public transportation, research the available routes and schedules. Some colleges may offer free or discounted public transportation passes to students. Some cities also have bike-sharing programs, which can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get around. Another important consideration when it comes to transportation is the cost of traveling back home. If you are attending college far away from home, you may not be able to come home as often as you'd like, and you will need to factor in the cost of airfare or gas if you plan on traveling back home for holidays or breaks. This cost can add up quickly, so it's important to budget accordingly and consider alternative options such as carpooling or taking advantage of discounted travel deals.

Many websites offer student discounts on flights, so be sure to do your research and compare prices before booking your travel. Keep in mind that some airlines may also offer special deals for students, so don't be afraid to ask. Additionally, some colleges may offer shuttles or transportation services to nearby airports or bus/train stations to help students with travel arrangements. Be sure to inquire about these options if you anticipate needing to travel frequently.