How to talk to your family about attending college out of state

Blog Header: How to Talk to Your Family About Attending College Out-of-State

Making the decision to attend college in another state is a big deal — not only for you, but your loved ones, as well. Being considerate and thoughtful of their concerns will make the decision process more positive for everyone involved. Whether you’ve already spoken with them about it or haven’t yet brought it up, these tips can help make conversations with your family go more smoothly.

Before the conversation

Understand the value of your choice

It’s important to understand the “why” behind your choice so you can share your reasoning with your family.

What are you looking for in a college? Why has CSU fulfilled these needs while universities closer to home haven’t? Make a list of the reasons behind your choice and think critically about each one. Your family will be interested in your reasoning, so be prepared.

Research majors that you’re interested in, understand how our location plays a key role in hands-on learning opportunities, and be ready to share the CSU Effect, a page dedicated to showing the success CSU grads achieve after their experiences here.

Put yourself in their shoes

Unless you’ve been talking about attending college out-of-state for a while, your decision may throw your loved ones a curveball, abruptly changing their view of your future. They may worry about your safety or your ability to return home on a regular basis. They also may be concerned that you’ll become alienated or feel homesick once you move away.

Find yourself frustrated or upset with their viewpoint? Consider the situation from their perspective. It’s a big transition in their lives just as it is in yours.

Help alleviate their concerns by gathering important information ahead of time. Have campus safety facts in hand, discuss airport proximity and shuttle services, and research opportunities to get involved and make friends. CSU offers simple ways to meet classmates, like Residential Learning Communities, student organizations, and cultural centers.

But, most importantly, take the time to listen. You’ll be amazed at the impact hearing their concerns may have on the conversation.

Find out if it’s a financial fit

The cost of attending college out of state is a big consideration.

Discover what financial assistance is available at CSU, like the WUE scholarship and merit awards. Dedicate yourself to searching for outside scholarships. Consider getting a part-time job during the school year, like a work study or an on-campus hourly position. Doing the work to make CSU fit financially will show your family how important attending is to you.

During the conversation

Steady your emotions

No matter how much you prepare for the talk, emotions can get in the way of clear and considerate communication. As you start the conversation, focus on showing your readiness for out-of-state college by being mature. Have respect and listen to their concerns — your behavior during the conversation could be the make-or-break aspect of getting their buy in.

If you or your loved ones get noticeably upset during the conversation, consider pausing and revisiting it at a later time.

Give them resources

Allow your family to come to their own decision by providing them with both tools and time.

Share what you’ve found in your research and offer resources specifically geared towards families, like our admissions info for parents webpage and the CSU Parent and Family Programs website. Don’t attempt to force an immediate decision — let them soak it all in and do some research of their own.

Visit campus together

Experiencing campus and exploring the surrounding area will allow your family to get a first-hand look at what life will be like for you. They will have the opportunity to tour campus, experience Fort Collins, and meet with admissions counselors, housing staff, or campus safety officers to get questions answered.

If a campus visit isn’t in the cards, encourage them to take a virtual tour or watch our RamChat video series, which will give them an inside look at campus life from the current student perspective.

Preparation will pay off

It can be tough to talk to others about a subject you feel passionate about when you’re not sure where they stand on the issue. Taking time and effort to prepare for the conversation will go a long way.

Attending an out-of-state college is an exciting decision, and getting those that love you on board will make your journey all the more satisfying.

Jill Baylis

Jill was a staff member in the Office of Admissions until 2019 when she moved to Denver. As a first-generation college student, she focused on simplifying the college admissions process and helping future Rams find community on campus.