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.
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.
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.
It's normal to feel homesick when you first move away from home. But don't let it get in the way of your new experiences. Stay in touch with family and friends through phone calls, texts, and video chats. Make plans to visit them during school breaks. Remember that everyone around you is also adjusting to a new environment, so don't hesitate to reach out to new friends and classmates for support.
6. Health and Wellness
Moving to a new state means finding new healthcare providers. Make sure to research health insurance options and find a primary care physician in your new area. Keep up with regular check-ups and immunizations.
Luckily, many colleges offer a range of health services for students on campus, including student health centers, counseling, and wellness centers. These resources often provide free or low-cost mental health services to students, so take advantage of them to take care of your physical and mental health.
7. Culture Shock
Moving to a new state can be a culture shock. Different states may have different customs, dialects, and ways of life. Be open-minded and willing to learn about the new culture. Immerse yourself in the local community by attending events and festivals. This is a great way to learn about the local culture and meet new people.
8. Career Opportunities
Research the career opportunities available in your new state. Does your college have a strong career center that can help you with job searches and internships? Are there specific industries or companies that you are interested in that are prevalent in your new state? For example, if you're attending the University of Texas at Austin, you may have access to a strong technology job market due to the presence of major tech companies in the area. Taking advantage of career resources and opportunities can set you up for success after graduation.
9. Legal Requirements
Moving to a new state can also mean adjusting to different laws regarding alcohol and drug use, smoking, and firearms. For instance, if you're from California, where cannabis is legal for both medicinal and recreational use, you should note that this is the case in only twenty-two states, along with Washington, D.C. So, make sure to research and understand the laws of your new state.
10. Financial Aid
For many students receiving financial aid, work-study jobs are a crucial part of their budget. The work-study program allows students to work part-time jobs on campus and earn money to pay for college expenses. However, it's important to note that the minimum wage for work-study jobs may vary significantly from state to state. For example, in Georgia, the minimum wage for work-study jobs is $7.25 per hour, while in California, it is $15.50 per hour. This difference can have a significant impact on a student's budget, as it may require them to work longer hours to cover their expenses.
While Georgia has a lower cost of living than California, the difference in minimum wage is substantial enough to warrant consideration. To plan accordingly, it's crucial to research the minimum wage for work-study jobs in your new state. By doing so, you can better understand how much you'll need to work to cover your expenses and adjust your budget accordingly.
Moving to a new state for college can be a challenging experience, but with the right preparation and planning, it can also be a rewarding one. Researching the location and culture, budgeting for living expenses, and finding housing are just a few of the things to consider. That's where Uprooted Academy comes in to guide you through the college application process step by step. Start by enrolling in our FREE Step-by-Step College Advising Video Course to start preparing for this exciting journey!
Embrace the new experiences, be open-minded, and don't be afraid to ask for help when needed. Good luck on your new adventure!