Should I go far away? College and the impact on family

By College Advice

“Go far.” That was Professor Moore’s single piece of advice.

I was 17 years old and attending a summer program.  We were listening to a panel of education experts.  Professor Moore continued with his reasoning: “you need to experience different parts of the world.  Get away from your parents and your friends.  Create some distance between you and your past.”  It was a compelling speech from a very smart guy. Professor Moore had left the East Coast to attend Stanford.  He was now a Professor at UCLA.

I talked to Professor Moore afterwards.  He elaborated on his desire to get away.  He didn’t have a good high school social experience.  His father was overbearing.  His older sister had moved far away as well.  It didn’t sound like he lost much by going far.

When I started working with students and families 15 years ago, I was a new Dad. Thoughts of my children leaving to college were in the distance.  But, I certainly noticed the angst that parents faced as their children left for college.  I also realized that the decision to “go far” had lasting implications beyond the 4 years of college.

4 years of living in California leads to friends, boy/girl friend, and job opportunities in California.  4 years might mean 10 years.  Or forever.

So, began my bias to keep families close which only grew as my three children did and I started thinking about their departure.

We are fortunate to live in the Northeast of the United States which has the greatest collection of good colleges in the world.  And, I certainly understand that some colleges are worth heading to despite distance.  In fact, I call it “the Stanford exception.”  But, unless the college is extraordinary, why separate family?

“Go near”.   That’s my advice.

 

 

Daryl Capuano

CEO, The Learning Consultants and Connecticut’s top private education consultant
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