One of the hardest things that student athletes face in their college decision-making process, especially at the NCAA Division III level, is how to get started. This is the first in a multipart series to help kick start your college search.
When I was in high school and getting ready to go to college, my parents helped me with my college selection by giving me a geographic limit. They took out a map and drew a 250 mile circle on it and said find a school inside that circle.
Since we lived in the greater Philadelphia area, this 250 mile radius included Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore and Washington DC as well as several other smaller cities and towns that had colleges or universities. Within that circle there were hundreds of colleges and universities to choose from so, while narrowing down the list of schools from all the colleges on the planet to only those within 250 miles of home, it gave me lots of choices.
Truth is they helped put some geographic restrictions on the search to help me get it started. I knew I wasn’t going to Texas or California or Florida for college.
Depending on your situation or your preference, you may want to be closer or farther away from home and you can start your search with some geographic limitations. My choice was pretty simple, I did not want to be too close to home that Mom and Dad were just going to drop in at any time, but at the same time I did not want to be so far away that they couldn’t come to a game to see me play or I couldn’t go home easily for the holidays.
This is the kind of issue that I talk about with student athletes all the time. How close to home do you want to be? Do you want to go to a school that is close enough to home so you have to commute every day? Or do you want to be far enough away that you will live on campus and have campus life be a more important part of your college experience?
Part of the college education process, in my opinion, is getting out and living on your own and all of the education that goes along with it. Or course, there are always trade offs with every decision that you make. By living on campus a student athlete gets more of that college campus experience, but it is also going to cost more money in room and board and costs.
Also, if you live away from home, how far away will you live? Travel costs can become a consideration as well. If you are really far away and need to fly from home to school to get there each time, the costs quickly add up. Another important cost factor is in-state versus out of state tuition. If you attend a college that is publicly funded, the tuition will likely be cheaper if you go to one in your home state than out of state.
Bottom line is this— think about how far you (and your parents) want to be from home and make some geographic choices that will make sense for you and your particular situation.