Why You Should Consider Studying Your Postgrad Program In State
Postgrad study is tough and time-consuming. You will need to make sure that you make the right choices from the very beginning if you want to be sure that you get the most out of your studies. That means looking at all of the options available to you and picking a university and location that meets your needs. If you live in the United States and looking for a university close to home, this can be a great option. Going further afield may open up your options somewhat but it also adds a list of worries – particularly financial – that you might not want to be burdened with.
What Are Your Personal Restrictions?
It doesn't matter what age you are or at what point you're considering postgrad studies, there's always going to be something in life that has an effect on your choices. One of the major obstacles to choosing to stay in state for your postgrad studies is dependents and family members that might need you close by. If you're a parent or a carer then going further than your state borders might be an impossibility. There's always a chance that you could move any dependents you have a short distance, but moving from one coast to another is a huge upheaval and could have a massive impact on your family life.
Of course, it's not just family that you need to consider in terms of personal restrictions. A lot of postgrads combine their study with an ongoing career. If postgrad study is part of your career and you are being supported at your work, then moving away could mean losing that support and jeopardising both your career and your education.
What About Your Local Support Network?
There are few undertakings in life that are going to be as taxing on you, emotionally and mentally, as postgraduate study. You're going to be dedicating a huge amount of time and effort to studying something beyond regular education. You might not realise it straight away, but having a strong support network can make the difference between successfully completing your course and failing it before you even begin. Postgrad study requires a large financial commitment as well as a big effort on your part and if you don't have the people around you who are going to help you manage it all, it could be a waste. By staying in state you will already have a great network of family and friends to rely on.
As with all study, postgrad is a great way of meeting new people and engaging with fellow academics in a subject you're passionate about. The idea of diving into a huge new community of like-minded people can be very tempting and it's understandable that you would want to start a new phase of study in a new place. While it's tempting to throw your hands up and decide you're going to strike out for something new; it's worth considering what you might be leaving behind.
What About The Financial Considerations?
Probably the most common and most impactful of reasons to stay within your state for postgrad study is for financial reasons. It's not just about the cost of your chosen course, but every other cost that it entails. Should you choose to move across the country to that perfect course, you have to consider all of the money you'll be spending on finding accommodation, setting up your life again and perhaps finding employment. You could spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars moving your life to a new area, only to find that it doesn't suit your needs or you're too far away from your support network.
Another thing to remember is that as a domestic, in-state postgrad student, you'll be paying considerably less than you would as an out-of-state or foreign student. States want to encourage their local population to be as qualified as possible as a well-educated population leads to a productive and financially positive culture within the state. That means funding and pricing for all higher education institutions favour the in-state learner over the out of state learner.
Of course you should never hamper your goals based on potential pitfalls such as financial viability. But you should also remember that if you're even close to doubting your ability to support yourself in a new city or state, then that could put your dreams on a permanent hold. Moving prematurely to a city halfway across the country could be financially problematic not just for your choice to study postgrad, but also for your future life and career. By staying in-state, you can be sure that you are aware of any variables. You know how much the cost of living is at home and you know the area well. Chances are you're going to be spending your money far more confidently than you would in an unfamiliar setting.