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 with their searches. One way to get started is to start with a geographic limit. Take out a map and draw a circle on it that it is a reasonable drive from your home— 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours. Depending on where you live, this may cover a lot of schools.
In the greater Philadelphia area, this would include 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.
Another important consideration is how far do you want to be from home. Do you want to come home every weekend or do you never want your parents to drop in? An important part of the college education process is getting out and living on your own and all of the education that goes along with it. Of 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.
The 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.
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