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Considerations when dc goes out of state/far away

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I've posted recently about my ds making a late decision to apply to two schools out of state (9 hours and 12 hours by car). Oldest ds goes out of state but only two hours away so it doesn't really feel like it. I am trying to gather information on the different factors we have to consider when weighing this decision.

 

So far I have:

-travel expenses and convenience

-possible health insurance complications (I have to look into this)

-car insurance issues? (he wouldn't have a car freshman yr but possibly later)

-obvious difficulty in visiting if he is physically sick, homesick, etc.

-difficulty coming home in case of emergency (death of grandparent,for example)

 

Flights to the two possible destinations are pretty convenient so it isn't as if driving is the only or best option for travel.

 

Anything else I haven't considered? I'm not entirely opposed to him going far away (I did it and he is more mature than I was). It is just that the sudden change of direction is throwing me. I just want to make sure we've thought it through. I need to work through all the details to feel more comfortable with the idea.

 

I remind myself that ds that is 2 hours away does not come home except for breaks and we very rarely visit. The only difference is knowing it would be easy to if we needed to go there or bring him home.

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Voter registration

Absentee voting

Jury duty

Costs associated with getting home

 

And the very real possibility that the new location will become "home" post-graduation. As well as potential spouse being from that location.

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Two of mine went far away and my "close" lad is still 6 hours away by car one way (and in a different state).  Car insurance hasn't been a problem.  Health insurance depends upon whether your policy covers your student "enough" there to be acceptable to the school.  If not, most require your buying the school's insurance.  If so, then there's no problem.  (If you're with insurance, you'd want to check network availability).

 

We've found planes to be cheaper than driving for breaks.  I buy tickets relatively early and LOVE Southwest since we can get credit if we need to change a flight - plus there are two free bags still allowed.

 

My grandmother passed away while my boys were at school.  She lived a mere hour and a half from one of my boys' schools.  He still didn't attend her funeral or calling hours.  He had important tests at the time and my whole family is positive my grandmother would have made the same decision if she were alive.  Being close doesn't always mean they can attend anyway, but yes, distance is more likely to be a factor.

 

Google Duo allows us to make video phone calls - as does Skype, so keeping in touch as often as we want is not an issue.

 

One thing you haven't considered... they might find a significant other in their new spot, get married, and opt to live farther away.  Or they could just get a job near their new location.  This has happened in our family.  We're ok with it, but others might consider it a con.

 

Otherwise, we've loved exploring where my boys have gone and have used their years away to get pretty well acquainted with some relatively new areas of our country.

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My older ds (current freshman) is more than 12 hours away by car. One of the difficulties that we've had so far have been that "move-in" was complicated. We did a combination of shipping packages from here, he carried-on two suitcases, and a few things we ordered from Amazon prime because it was cheaper to get a new item shipped than to mail what we already own. It took a lot of planning to make sure that everything was going to fit and make it there at the right time. He carried-on his instrument, and we were worried at the last minute that they wouldn't let him because his new case is actually larger than the allowed carry-on. Luckily they allowed it.

 

The other snag we ran into was buying his plane ticket home for the end of the semester. I wanted to buy the ticket early, because I was worried about prices going up. So as soon as he knew his finals schedule, I bought a ticket. When finals actually happened, he was panicked because some of his finals were papers that could be handed in up until the end of finals period, and he needed that time. However his ticket home was a few days before that. In the end, he was able to hand in his papers electronically from home. It was difficult though because he needed library books and resources that were on campus. Next time I'll buy the ticket for the end of finals!

 

The bottom line is that, in my opinion, going to college far away requires more planning/organization. Unfortunately my ds is not so good at these things. Luckily I am good at it, and he is learning.

 

Good luck! We've told younger ds that he has to go to school within a reasonable driving distance. Mostly joking, but he plays multiple musical instruments, and it makes my head hurt trying to figure out how he will transport everything.

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Another consideration: storage of dorm room stuff during breaks when they have to move out of the dorm.

 

Over summers, my kids have to move out of the dorms (that's pretty standard). He has to rent a storage unit (usually goes in together with other students) to store his belongings.

 

Also, usually during thanksgiving break and spring break they can stay in the dorm but the cafeterias are closed. So you have to plan a week of food during those times, unless they come home (ours don't).

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Lots of good thoughts.

 

I definitely have considered that he is likely to find his significant other and very likely to never return "home" permanently. That is definitely on my mind but I am trying to ignore that part. I don't want to limit him in that way and there is no guarantee dh and I will stay where we are forever. Oldest ds probably won't even return for summer beginning after his sophomore year as he pursues internships where his college is. So, I do realize if he goes he might not really ever be back again for an extended period of time.

 

Sigh.

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Be aware of long weekends.  Ds had a 3 day fall break where the dorms were closed (it's 2 flights home, about 10h of total travel time with sitting in airports).  It was very random, like the week after parents' weekend and for no reason.  Had we been aware ahead of time that the dorms would be closed we would have made other arrangements, but as it was we scrambled to get him taken care of.

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Be aware of long weekends.  Ds had a 3 day fall break where the dorms were closed (it's 2 flights home, about 10h of total travel time with sitting in airports).  It was very random, like the week after parents' weekend and for no reason.  Had we been aware ahead of time that the dorms would be closed we would have made other arrangements, but as it was we scrambled to get him taken care of.

This is definitely something we need to be aware of. I remember when away at college even when dorms were open over a short break it was an awful feeling to be seemingly alone in a big dorm. Maybe it was just me, but that was very lonely. If he was in that situation it might be a good time for dh to jump on a plane and go visit.

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These posts are extremely helpful. DD is trying to decide which colleges she will apply to in the fall. She has a few on his list which are across the continent, and she plays cello. I had never before considered the instrument dilemma.

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Another consideration: storage of dorm room stuff during breaks when they have to move out of the dorm.

 

Over summers, my kids have to move out of the dorms (that's pretty standard). He has to rent a storage unit (usually goes in together with other students) to store his belongings.

 

Also, usually during thanksgiving break and spring break they can stay in the dorm but the cafeterias are closed. So you have to plan a week of food during those times, unless they come home (ours don't).

 

These are all good points. My ds's college allows students who live far away (I think it's more than 500 miles) to store a certain amount of stuff over the summer. We haven't yet encountered the summer thing for him, so I can't say yet how that will work.

 

His school had a fall break for a few days where he could stay in the dorm, but many kids did leave. He said the cafeteria was open, but hours were limited and there was very little food selection. So even though the cafeteria was open, he ended up spending at least some money on outside food.

 

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DD is 1,000 miles from home. I think the homesickness was more acute during first semester because she KNEW she was so.far.away. She eventually adjusted and is very happy, but that first semester was rough. Also, she’s in an area that is VERY different politically than our area. She definitely felt some culture shock for the first several months. Again, she has adapted and is much more aware of the “bubble†in which she was raised. All good things, but a little unsettling at first.

 

Logistics have been manageable. She rented a storage unit for her first summer. She will hopefully ‘homestead’ in her current dorm room for the remainder of her time there which will allow her to keep her stuff in her room over the next two summers.

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These posts are extremely helpful. DD is trying to decide which colleges she will apply to in the fall. She has a few on his list which are across the continent, and she plays cello. I had never before considered the instrument dilemma.

 

My friend's dd plays cello, and she has to buy an airline seat for it when she travels. 

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Ds is 1,800+ miles away. You've already received lots of good tips.

 

Dh did drive out with him freshman year so he could take his keyboard with him. The two of them drove out again his junior year so be could have a car out there,

 

Dorms are only closed at Christmas at ds's school. Summer storage has not been difficult. Ds had a medical issue his freshman year, but that was only a challenge because he was a minor (all freshman year). I don't think Ds had homesickness at all, but he spent multiple summers at various academic, music, sleep away, Boy Scout programs/camps. From 7th grade on he was gone 5-7 weeks every summer. Flights have not been difficult, though we are careful about routing depending on seasons. Only issue was Harvey in Houston this past September, but the airline preemptively changed his flight.

 

I have to say that I do not understand people's expectations that their children will return to their hometown/home state after graduating. My in-laws have asked more than once, "Doesn't ds's company have an office here in HomeState?" Sigh. No. He is staying in California. I knew that as soon as he decided to attend school there.

Edited by Hoggirl
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Both of mine were on the other side of the country for college, with a 3 hour time difference. Like Creekland, I loved getting to visit a new area of the country, and both ds's really enjoyed their new environments. Friends usually took them in for Thanksgiving and they made their way home for the Christmas break.

 

Add to the logistics of air travel the logistics of transportation between campus and the nearest airport. One ds was at a college an hour away from the nearest airport, and the school operated shuttles to and from the airport. It wasn't the most convenient option, and there were a couple of Januarys where we were worried that flight delays would mean missing the shuttle entirely, but it was far better than nothing. A cab was close to $100, I believe!

 

Our insurance never worked outside of state (HMOs rarely do, except for emergencies). Student health and those "Doc in a box" storefront facilities were the saving grace the couple of times one of them needed a doctor.

 

Neither of mine were homesick -- they made friends and loved being where they were.

 

Southwest Airlines was the best -- 2 free pieces of checked luggage, a great frequent flier program. I think we got 1 or 2 free flights for each during their college years.

 

Ordering on line and picking up at Walmart, Target or Bed Bath and Beyond is a life saver. And your kid learns to live with the minimum. We couldn't believe the amount of stuff people hauled into the dorms!! The college had a great summer storage option, too. 

 

After college one wound up working about 90 minutes away from us but the other is now across the Pacific Ocean in Japan. Talk about time differences!

 

 

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If the distance means a different climate, additions to the wardrobe may be necessary.  

 

Adjustment to the distance can vary a lot across students.  Some, however, will depend on the nature of the campus.  A student from California attending a school in Texas whose primary student body lives within a couple of hours and many go home on the weekends will have a different experience than a student from California attending a school in Texas that has 50% of its students attending from out of state and who do not go home on weekends and shorter holidays, for example.

 

The further away from home the student attends college, the less stuff the student is likely to "need" in a dorm room.  Also, the further away the student is, the less likely he is to bring dirty laundry home for you to wash.  

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Scheduling certain appointments can get challenging, like dental and eye. We are keeping an eye on my daughter's wisdom teeth now, and a possible summer internship out of state could complicate matters. Renewing driver's licenses and military IDs has been a pain, because they won't do it more than 30 days out. My current college student's school required us to buy an additional health plan because of an inadequacy of local providers by the school.

 

But, in the end, it all seems to work out. I wouldn't change a thing for either of my two students (one graduated now.) One attended school about a 4 hour flight away, and the other is about 10-12 hours of flying away.

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I've rather enjoyed the travel involved with having kids away at school (or other activities, like summer on-campus programs).  I've had them at schools anywhere from a 30-minute drive to the opposite coast.  Since I am the SAHM, and breaks often come at odd times when dh can't always take off of work, I've done a lot of college move-in/move-out trips, along with picking up and delivering back for various breaks.  I get to eat out in a new town, look in a shop or two, and enjoy the drive along the way.  I do think it's a bit easier with boys, as they are less likely to need seven pairs of shoes to come home with them over winter break.  I am currently learning that having a complete set of bedding at home and at school is easier than toting the duvet and favorite pillows back and forth for every break.
 

One thing we've done is to identify a family member who lives relatively close to the school - within a two-hour drive - and make sure the student has the family member's contact info and address (and, in one case, a passport to hop across the border), as well as giving the family member the student's info.  We've never needed to use it, but it has been comforting to me to know that if the student has a medical emergency the family member can get there before I would be able to, and if the school has a crisis of some sort, the student may be able to bunk in with the family member until the crisis has passed.  (In one case involving air travel, the family member helped the young student move in to the college, which made the logistics much, much easier.)

 

Health insurance has never been an issue for us.  We have identified a local pharmacy that takes our insurance, so that the student knows where to go if needed.
 

Voting absentee has been hit or miss, mostly because the forms can be cryptic, but you can bet we'll have it down pat before November 2018.

Car insurance is no problem at all.  The insurance goes with the car, not the driver, and since we own the car, it doesn't really matter where it is.  (If the student didn't take a car with them, we made sure the insurance company knew the student was away at school, which did lower the rate ever so slightly for the duration.)

We do need to be proactive about scheduling dentist appointments and the like during breaks, but that would be true regardless of where the student was attending school (unless they were living at home).  Those appointments fill up early, so I make sure I have the school's schedule on my calendar and I try to book as far ahead as possible.

I've rather enjoyed my campus-bound road trips, and now that I've got more time, I've been taking non-college road trips by myself to visit friends and do interesting activities.  I feel comfortable doing it alone because I've had so much experience with doing the college runs.

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Good thoughts, and I don't really have anything else to add.  We did it backwards.  My kids all made the decision first and we didn't think through anything ahead of time.  But it all worked out.  Probably makes sense to think it through a bit beforehand, but I wouldn't overthink it either. :) 

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I think that proximity to an airport is a major factor to consider. I have one kid who is a 12 hour car drive away and another who is a 10 hour car drive away. The biggest factor in how easy it is for them to get home is proximity to an airport. The 12 hour away kid feels much closer to home because he can call an uber and be at the airport in 20 minutes. He can then get cheap (sometimes under $75) non-stop hour flight home.

 

It is much more difficult for my son who is 10 hours away to come home. The school runs a shuttle service on the major school breaks. The closest airport is 1 hour away, but that airport doesn't have any direct flights to our city and the prices are expensive. Because of the huge price difference, he ends up taking a shuttle to an airport that is over two hours away, so he can get a non-stop cheap flight home. Travel for him ends up being an all-day affair.

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I think that proximity to an airport is a major factor to consider. I have one kid who is a 12 hour car drive away and another who is a 10 hour car drive away. The biggest factor in how easy it is for them to get home is proximity to an airport. The 12 hour away kid feels much closer to home because he can call an uber and be at the airport in 20 minutes. He can then get cheap (sometimes under $75) non-stop hour flight home.

 

It is much more difficult for my son who is 10 hours away to come home. The school runs a shuttle service on the major school breaks. The closest airport is 1 hour away, but that airport doesn't have any direct flights to our city and the prices are expensive. Because of the huge price difference, he ends up taking a shuttle to an airport that is over two hours away, so he can get a non-stop cheap flight home. Travel for him ends up being an all-day affair.

This is what happened when I went away to school. The school was over an hour from the airport and options to get there were expensive. Getting back and forth was much more difficult than just getting a flight. It is a complication.

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Good thoughts, and I don't really have anything else to add.  We did it backwards.  My kids all made the decision first and we didn't think through anything ahead of time.  But it all worked out.  Probably makes sense to think it through a bit beforehand, but I wouldn't overthink it either. :)

But overthinking is kind of my thing...lol ;)

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I think that proximity to an airport is a major factor to consider. I have one kid who is a 12 hour car drive away and another who is a 10 hour car drive away. The biggest factor in how easy it is for them to get home is proximity to an airport. The 12 hour away kid feels much closer to home because he can call an uber and be at the airport in 20 minutes. He can then get cheap (sometimes under $75) non-stop hour flight home.

 

It is much more difficult for my son who is 10 hours away to come home. The school runs a shuttle service on the major school breaks. The closest airport is 1 hour away, but that airport doesn't have any direct flights to our city and the prices are expensive. Because of the huge price difference, he ends up taking a shuttle to an airport that is over two hours away, so he can get a non-stop cheap flight home. Travel for him ends up being an all-day affair.

This is an excellent point and one that I failed to mention. Though DD is 1,000 miles away, she is equidistant from two airports where she can take cheap non-stop flights home. It makes her feel much less far away!
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But overthinking is kind of my thing...lol ;)

 

Ha, I should probably do more of it!   :)

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Would just like to add that I appreciate having this discussion here. In my neck of the woods any choice other than the local Christian U gets a raised eyebrow. Actually going out of state is met with pretty unsupportive reactions. Not that we let that dissuade us...it is just nice to come somewhere that people understand why such choices get made.

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I have to say that I do not understand people's expectations that their children will return to their hometown/home state after graduating. My in-laws have asked more than once, "Doesn't ds's company have an office here in HomeState?" Sigh. No. He is staying in California. I knew that as soon as he decided to attend school there.

 

I don't understand what you don't understand, lol. Lots of parents would prefer their kids to be in easy visiting distance, and lots of kids would prefer it also. I don't think that's weird or unusual. And I'm seeing it as a preference and a hope, not an expectation. 

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plan ahead on cell phone coverage...sometimes whats available in your area isn't available in theirs, and sometimes the college area has much cheaper options

 

banking...my kid isn't out of state, but the regional banks are totally different.  He gets cash at the grocery store and deposits checks using phone app.  for a large transfer of money, decide ahead how you are going to do it

 

we also used our family/colleague network to identify emergency contacts in the local community.  one was a neighbor's sibling, one was a friend's sibling.  fortunately didn't have to use them, but we appreciated having backup.

 

get the enhanced driver's license option when the student ages out of the jr license or whatever your state calls it.  that's cheaper than replacing a fairly new one and a bit safer than toting a passport around; should the college be near a border or service trips during break be a possibility

Edited by Heigh Ho
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