The Bellarmine Blog

Shot of the library and campus

College Close to Home: 3 Advantages of Choosing a Local University

There are several factors to consider in the process of choosing a college. Some students prioritize academic programs, others look for a vibrant campus culture, and some focus primarily on tuition cost. Amidst all of that, there’s one decision that has the potential to impact your entire college experience: the location. 

A pivotal moment in every college hopeful’s journey is making the decision to either venture far away or attend a school nearby. Heading to college marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life. And while part of you may be craving the adventure of experiencing a brand new place, you’re also wondering if it could be worthwhile to attend a college close to home. 

As you weigh your options, it’s helpful to learn more about what you can expect from the experience.  

3 Reasons choosing a college close to home is worth it 

Advancing your education nearby has its perks. Consider the following benefits. 

Bellarmine students walking

1. It can save you money 

One of the primary reasons choosing a local college appeals to so many people is the potential to save money. We’re living at a time when the value of earning a bachelor’s degree is undeniable, and yet we’ve all been made acutely aware of America’s student loan debt crisis.  

With that in mind, today’s college hopefuls are looking for more affordable ways to earn their degrees. For many, that means choosing a college close to home.  

When it comes to public universities, you could qualify for in-state tuition – the discounted tuition rate made available to students who have resided in the state for a specified number of years. But even if you don’t qualify for in-state tuition, you could still benefit from local scholarships and grants.  

Another way local students save money while going to college is by living off campus. Whether that means living at home with your parents or opting to split off-campus rent with some roommates, you can save a significant amount of money by foregoing room and board costs – which ranged from $8,000 to nearly $12,000 in 2017.  

You may be worried about missing out on the quintessential college experience if you choose to live elsewhere, but it’s helpful to remember that you’re far from alone. Approximately 41 percent of Bellarmine University students lived on campus in 2018 – that means more than half commuted to their classes each day, accessing relevant resources and support at the school’s Commuter Center

 

2. You get to stay near your support system 

Most new college students are diving into uncharted territory as they venture into the world of higher education. It’s a transition that can be overwhelming for some – especially if you’re trying to navigate your newfound independence in unfamiliar surroundings. Being in or near an environment you’re familiar with can help. 

At Bellarmine, we pride ourselves on supporting our students. But we know no one can replace your network of friends and family, and remaining close to home means you can stay closely connected to them. It also means you’re already well aware of the best coffee shops to study at or the best jogging trails to clear your head after cramming for a big exam.  

Being near your primary support system can become particularly helpful if any emergencies pop up. Whether you need to rush home for a family matter, you get sick and want to see your regular doctor, or your campus shuts down in response to a global pandemic, being close to home can be a major benefit. (Not to mention the added perk of getting to enjoy some home cooking or free cable every once in a while!) 

 

3. You won’t have to start your network from scratch 

Networking may not be top of mind for you right now, but it’s something that has the potential to play a crucial role in your college experience – and your future job search. As you progress through your degree program, you may find it useful to shadow some professionals on the job so you can get a better idea of what you can expect once you graduate. Or maybe you’ll want to connect with a mentor who can help prepare you for your job search.  

In a more practical sense, being part of a thriving network can help you get your foot in the door for competitive internship opportunities that have the potential to shape the early years of your career. By attending a college close to home, you have the added benefit of already having started to build that network – even if that has just meant reaching out to your former teachers or connecting with people you may know through your parents.   

Even if you haven’t actively been networking, you’ve certainly made connections over the years – and those connections have connections who have other connections. You don’t have to know everyone, but as long as your network has a strong foundation, you’ll have the tools you need to branch out and establish some meaningful relationships that could impact your professional future. 

Kaelins Restaurant on Newburg Road


Will you stay close to home for college? 

While heading to a completely new place may seem like part of the classic college experience, there are a handful of compelling benefits to attending a local school. From saving money and being near loved ones to kick-starting your professional networking efforts, you may find that the positive aspects of staying close to home outweigh the allure of packing up and going to college in a new state.  

It certainly helps if your local community is as vibrant and hospitable as the city Bellarmine University calls home. Learn more about the close-knit, neighborhood feel and big city opportunities that surround us by heading to our article “The College Student’s Guide to Living in Louisville.”  

About Bellarmine University

Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.