Ah, the ever debated question: Do I want to attend a local university… or do I want to see the world?

At least, it’s a debated question among high school students in my town, because there’s an amazing university right here on our doorstep that often looks overlooked. Not a junior college, but an actual university… that happens to be in our town.

…and I ended up at said university.
Thus, today I’m discussing the pros and cons of attending a nearby college.

Maybe there’s not a university within twenty minutes of your home, but maybe you’re debating about attending a college that’s only an hour away from you. Or two. Or with in the same state. Regardless, hopefully the following will provide you with some insight.

The Pros & Cons


  • You’ll be familiar with your college town. This specifically comes in handy the first week or so, when all of the other freshman are nervous of venturing off campus. You’ll already know where the cool coffee shops, stores, skating rinks, ect, are.
  • If you ever leave something at your house, it’s not too far of a drive to retrieve it. (I’ve totally forgotten my contact solution, my hairdryer, shoes, ect, when I’ve gone home for weekends. Its nice to be able to swing by after class and pick it back up.)
  • If you get homesick, you can pop in for an evening and visit your family. (Read: FREE FOOD! Just kidding, but the food factor is a pro in and of itself…)
  • Discovering places you never knew existed with your friends. The very first week of college, some upperclassmen introduced my friends and I to Frosty Cones- a local snow cone joint that expertly combines snow cones and ice cream. Delicious. And I never knew about it until I went off to college.
  • Being able to see your friends that are still attending high school. I don’t see my underclassmen friends as much as I would like to, but I see them more than if I was in a different town. Also, it’s nice to be close to my high school, because my brother is playing football there now. I was able to attend several of his football games last fall because I was in the area.
  • When you go home on weekends, you don’t have a long drive. My roommate has to drive 2.5 hours to get home. That’s not too bad, but compared to twenty minutes it seems like forever.


  • “No new adventures.” This I put in quotes, because there are many new adventures waiting to be had. However, if you attend a local university with this mindset, you certainly WON’T have any new adventures or find any new places to go.
  • The awkwardness of the question, “So, where are you from?” …The local city isn’t that cool of a destination. That is, unless you happen to meet someone from the same town; then you have the excitement of “NO WAY! ME TOO!” Surprisingly, I haven’t met very many people from the same town as me…
  • If you switch churches when you go off to college, like I did, you might be mistaken for a heathen when you attend your parent’s church at Christmas time. “Kara, it’s so good to see you back in church!” “No, I promise, I still go to church… just not here…” #Awkward.
  • It’s “close to home.” This is the main argument I hear against attending a local university. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I almost didn’t attend Not Hogwarts. I was afraid my parents would randomly pop in and visit me in my dorm room (this has only happened once), or that I would be pressured to visit them once a week (I sorta do this voluntarily now…).
    The thing is, unless you commute, you can just stay on campus and pretend that your family is far, far away. You don’t need to go home unless you want to. (Just make sure you tell your parents that before you stay on campus for a while, so they don’t think you dropped off the face of the earth.)

What do you think? Are there any pros/cons that I missed? Leave them in the comments below!!

4 thoughts on “The Pros & Cons of Attending a Local University

  1. Tim

    I chose to attend a university that was roughly two hours away from me rather than the school less than 15 minutes away for a few of the very reasons you mentioned. I wanted to have some level of separation from my family without being too far away that I couldn’t go back if I wanted to. At the same time, it was just far enough away that I felt like I was on my own, and that I could explore a town I’d never been to.


  2. Lisa

    You make some great points! I ended up going to a college about 2.5 hours from home. It was nice because I didn’t want to stay on my hometown but could get home pretty easily. When I went to grad school I moved 8 hours south and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I ended up meeting my now husband there!


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