As always, all names and occasional identifying details are changed when I provide college counseling stories.
Emily was a student from Guilford High School in Connecticut. We met for college counseling about a decade back. She wanted to go to California. As part of my normal college counseling discussion, I tell students that I will be provide objective advice that serves them. If I have a bias, I will disclose. My bias is that I’m a father of three. A discussion for another day but I think that staying within reasonable distance of one’s family is a bigger plus than many young people realize. I tell students that they will start a snow ball rolling that leads to the following: 4 years form now, their friends will be in the location of the college, they might be dating someone from that location, and the job opportunities will be more abundant near the college.
Emily’s parents definitely agreed with me but… they sounded the most common refrain I hear: “we will let her make her own decision.” Totally understand. This, too, is a a subject for another discussion (you can let your child make the ultimate decision but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t advise your child).
Emily went to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. This is a good school but perhaps does not meet what I call “the Stanford exception” (if you get into Stanford, that overcomes my previous advice, in part because Stanford grads are guaranteed career mobility.)
Emily’s college experience was fine. It was not a great fit. But she made enough friends and was dating someone from Southern California at the time of graduation such that she stayed in California. She did not have a full time job after college but had a couple of part-time customer service jobs. Her job network, as it was, was firmly in the LA area. She liked Los Angeles but could not see staying there long. After a couple years, she wanted to come back to the East Coast. She applied for jobs. She barely received any call backs and had no offers. So she stayed and wound up with a full time job. When she broke up with her boyfriend and when her friends started moving on, Emily felt adrift. Again, she applied for jobs back East and had no luck That’s when her parents found Career Counseling Connecticut, the subsidiary that I run and were delighted that I might be able to help her come back home. It took some effort but success came a few months later.
Location really matters for college. That’s why those who do not take the college process seriously often wind up similar to Emily. And, she was in a great location!
I will write a separate post about a successful college choice based on choosing the regional location correctly.
Just know that location matters. A great deal.