Location is a huge factor in deciding where to go for grad school. With regard to location, you really only have two options: staying local or relocating. Some grad-school hopefuls struggle to decide between the two. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of staying local and relocating to find a graduate school.
There are many benefits of staying local in deciding where to go for grad school. One of the biggest benefits is that in many cases, it is often cheaper to stay where you are currently living. Moving can be very expensive, and staying local would likely mean that you would not have to deal with out-of-state tuition. Another advantage of staying local is that you probably have some sort of social support structure in place where you are. This support can make your journey through graduate school much easier.
The biggest disadvantage to staying local is that it greatly reduces the number of programs to which you can apply and where to go for grad school. By limiting your program search to only local universities, you could not apply to many respectable programs simply because of their locations.
When you are willing to relocate, you have a much greater selection of where to go for grad school. Additionally, you might increase your chances of getting into graduate school if you apply to more programs instead of to only a few local programs. Relocating can also be an exciting experience, allowing you to try new things and meet new people.
However, deciding to relocate for grad school can also be more expensive. In addition to the costs associated with moving, you might end up paying more in tuition if you move out of state; however, do not let this necessarily be a deal breaker. Out-of-state tuition policies vary greatly from state to state, so do some research and see if there is a way to get a program to waive its out-of-state tuition. Another disadvantage of relocating is that moving might add new stressors you wouldn’t have if you stayed where you are. Such stressors might include lack of social support systems, stress related to living in a new area, and increased financial strain.