6 Tips to Get Ready to Attend a College Out of State

Bashar Hanna
4 min readNov 29, 2023

Have you been accepted into a post-secondary program in another state? There’s much to organize ahead of the move. Unlike staying home to attend a local institution, studying at an out-of-state college requires a significant amount of planning.

Here are six tips for making the most of this one-in-a-lifetime experience.

  1. Visit ahead of time

If possible, take a tour of the university you’ll be going to beforehand. Summer, between high school graduation and the commencement of any seasonal employment, is a great time to visit. Take the opportunity to acquaint yourself with the campus and its facilities, including offices, lecture halls, student housing, and more.

Be sure to explore the city, too, and imagine what it will be like to live there. Take note of any differences in climate you’ll need to be ready for. Find out how public transit works and what entertainment and other activities the area has to offer.

  1. Prepare what to wear

It’s best to purchase what you need locally, as you are familiar with the stores and can easily find the items you’re seeking. As mentioned, the weather may be a factor you need to consider. Make sure you have the proper cold- or warm-weather clothing.

Also, be sure to give some thought to what you’ll be doing. Since you’ll spend a lot of time in class and study hall, pack a presentable and comfortable wardrobe. You’ll also need appropriate garments for the sports and fitness activities you’re into, and don’t forget a few nice pieces for night outs with friends.

  1. Make a list of what to bring

Clothing aside, there’s a lot more that you’ll need to consider taking with you. This list will vary based on the type of accommodations you’ll have. If you’ve secured a room in student housing on campus, your list will probably be quite a bit shorter than if you’re going to be living off campus.

Unless you’re going to pay room and board in a private home, chances are, you’ll be renting an apartment or house on your own or with one or more roommates. Furnishing a dwelling, even temporarily, requires a bit of forethought and deciding what you and any cohabitants will be responsible for. Deciding whether to hire a moving company or transport your belongings yourself depends on what you need to bring and the distance to your new school.

  1. Create your budget

Budgeting is particularly important when you’re heading out of state for your education. If you’ve got a place in student housing where meals are covered, you won’t have to worry about grocery costs beyond snacks and ordering the odd pizza. Your budget will be much more straightforward when it comes to expenses like your phone, clothing, entertainment, and similar items.

However, living in your own place is a different story. In addition to rent, consider what monthly expenses you’ll have and estimate each of them. Sort out what you’ll need to spend on groceries, transportation, and other necessities, as these costs can quickly add up.

  1. Plan a balanced routine

Anticipate that your initial experience of living away from home will encompass a rollercoaster of emotions. It includes the excitement of embarking on a new chapter, the thrill of making your own choices, and the satisfaction of embracing true independence. However, such a significant life change can result in homesickness at times.

To prepare for your new environment, develop a reasonable daily routine before you move. Establish some good habits by getting enough sleep, fresh air, and exercise. Strive for a balance of work and leisure activities. Making these moves will serve you well when you get to college and ensure a smoother transition. Keep in mind that your new campus offers a wealth of wellness resources, including access to counselors should you require their assistance.

  1. Find a community

Take the time to connect with your friends before you leave. Have fun and build summer memories to look back on and remind yourself of the support you have back home. Most likely a few of your friends are moving to other communities as well, so it will take extra effort to stay in touch.

Once you get to your destination, find a community as soon as you can. Connections made during the university years are often the most long-lasting friendships people will have. Building these relationships will help you adapt more quickly and offer lasting benefits as you share this adventure with others in the years to come.

In closing

By visiting your destination, purposefully planning what you’ll need, getting a budget in order, starting helpful new habits, and reaching out to connect with others, you’ll be well positioned to start your out-of-state post-secondary education with confidence.

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Bashar Hanna

Dr. Bashar Hanna has spent nearly four years as the president and chief executive officer of Pennsylvania’s Bloomsburg University.