What should I consider if my child wants to attend college out of state?

Marilyn McCullough and daughter Michelle


by Marilyn McCullough --

As a parent who sent both my children to Trinity University, I can tell you that the first time you help your child – in my case, my daughter – search for colleges, you find yourself wondering if they will stay close to home, go across the country, or maybe go to the other side of the world.

Living in Arizona, we pretty much knew that unless you wanted a large school you had to go out of state. We took a map of the United States and I asked my daughter to cross off states where she didn't want to live. After about five minutes, there was an X through states with snowy weather and major natural disasters (Florida got an exemption because of family close by). As you can imagine that narrowed the school options quickly.

From my perspective, I found the process fun – looking through the mail, offering suggestions, and visiting schools. Most of all, I was excited my daughter wanted me hovering a bit.

Fast forward a few months and she ended up at Trinity University, which was such a great decision. It was tough not having her at home, but maintaining communication with your daughter while she's in college isn't as difficult as it was when I was in school back in the 70s *cringe!!* Rather quickly I became quite the savvy texter and Facetimer, and I made sure to visit Texas whenever possible. A non-stop flight was a huge plus for me as a parent. Knowing I could get to my daughter in just a few hours really calmed any remaining anxiety.

Trinity alumni Mark McCullough and Michelle Bartonico
The McCullough kids: Mark and Michelle Bartonico.
My son’s college decision was a piece of cake. He didn't apply anywhere else but Trinity. He wanted to be near his sister and they both were able to play on the Trinity golf team. While at Trinity, my son fell in love with teaching and ended up pursuing his master’s through Trinity’s Master of Arts in Teaching program. We were already huge fans of Trinity but after seeing the caliber of the graduate program, we were beyond grateful we found Trinity.

My advice? Regardless of whether your son or daughter attends college just down the street, across the country, or even halfway across the world, have no fear because you can always stay in touch. Let them stretch their legs if that's what fits them best. It may end up being a growing experience for you as well.

About Marilyn

Marilyn McCullough, an Arizona resident by way of New York, is a docent at Ft. Tuthill Military Museum and retired teacher. She sent two children to Trinity who played on the golf team.

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