Going to College Close to Home

For all you folks who live in Rochester and the surrounding area, you may be wondering if it’s a good choice to go to college close to home. As somebody going to college on the other side of the country from where I call home, I can’t speak to that, so here are what my friends from around here have to say on the matter.

Sam, Class of 2022

Sam is from Brighton, a suburb of Rochester, and went to Brighton High School. He chose Rochester because of its strong academics. As he said, “The best part about going to college close to home is that I am close to home.” If he forgets something, it’s easy to retrieve it and not a lot of time or money has to go into going home for breaks. However, as he also said, “The worst part is that I am close to home.” If he is needed at home, he doesn’t have an excuse to not go. Plus, and this may or may not be a downside for you, a lot of people from his high school are going here. His advice for prospective students is to determine what you want to get out of college and use that to guide your path. If your goal is to experience a new place or culture, going to college close to home may not be your best option. If that isn’t important to you and instead academics, sports, or something else is, go for it.

Claire, Class of 2021

Claire is from West Irondequoit and went to West Irondequoit High School. She chose Rochester for its flexible curriculum, nice campus, and strong financial aid. The best part about going to school close to home is being able to keep her doctors and treatment plan. This made it possible for her to get an emotional support tortoise this year. Her mom also works at the medical center, so sometimes her mom drops things off or they get lunch together. Although she was worried about not getting the full college experience by going to college nearby, that hasn’t been the case. She’s even come to experience Rochester in a new way as a college student. Her advice for current high school students is, “Don’t feel ashamed for doing it your way. Also, you probably won’t believe me when I say this, but it’s true: the decisions you’re making now aren’t the be-all end-all. Everything will be okay in the end.”

And now, for anybody from upstate New York, here are some statements by Rochester students whose hometowns are one to three hours away from Rochester.

Juliana, Class of 2022

Juliana is from a suburb of Buffalo. She chose Rochester because of the curriculum and all the opportunities it could give her. Some of the perks she listed about going to college an hour from home is being able to go home for weekends if she wants to, enjoying a home-cooked meal, not having to worry about forgetting something at home, and being able to show her friends where she is from. Another benefit is already being used to these lovely upstate New York winters. A challenge of being close to home is balancing her school and family lives. She misses out on things happening on campus by going home, but feels like she’s missing out on family things when she stays on campus. Even still, she thinks she definitely made the right choice to come here. Her advice for prospective students is to think about the balance you need between your home and college lives.

Grace, Class of 2021

Grace is from Schenectady, NY, near Albany. She chose to come to UR because she thought it was a good distance from home. She can live independently, but also easily take a train home when she needs to. Of course, the beautiful campus and strong reputation were also contributing factors. One of the perks of going to Rochester is that her family can come down for a weekend to see her play lacrosse, or her brother, who also goes here, play hockey. As far as downsides go, she doesn’t see any. “I guess being closer to home means I am more tempted to go home which in some weird way makes me more homesick. But honestly, I don’t have time to go home often. I mostly go for breaks.” Her guidance for high schoolers from the area considering Rochester? Going to school within a few hours of home is great. “It’s a really good school, and you should be proud to have gotten in.”

Rosemary, Class of 2020

Rosemary is from Black River, NY, which is between the Adirondacks and the Canadian border. She chose Rochester because “it just felt right.” The cluster system and encouragement to study a variety of things was very appealing and unlike any other school she had visited. The two nicest things about not living very far away are that going home for breaks is cheap and moving in/out is easy and free because she doesn’t have to pay for summer storage. A negative of going to Rochester is that she still has to deal with the harsh upstate New York winters, but at least she’s used to them. Her advice to prospective students is to take advantage of the opportunities to explore that the Rochester curriculum allows.


The bottom line? Figure out what works best for you and your needs.

About the author

Kayla Zilke

I'm a member of the Class of 2021 from Seattle, WA majoring in psychology with minors in business and environmental humanities. I'm involved with Quidditch, GreenSpace, EcoReps, intramural sports, the Student Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Youth, and Hatha Yoga.

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