West Coast Best Coast? 4 Things to Consider When Building a College List


These days, more and more East Coast families are becoming more comfortable with the idea of considering a college on the West Coast as they build their college list. Whether this is influenced by the seemingly better weather or the idea of better economic opportunities post-graduation, it is important that your family carefully consider additional factors before making the decision to apply and attend a West Coast institution. Below you will find a list of four things to consider:

  1. Distance from home. If you are located on the East Coast, attending college in California/Washington/Oregon will not be a quick drive away. Instead, approximately 3,000 miles will stand in the way of an impromptu weekend family gathering or a quick response to an emergency. More than likely, you will need to factor in airplane flights into the cost of attendance and come to terms with less-than-frequent home visits.


  1. Cost of Living. Because the West Coast serves as the headquarters for many successful businesses (Google, Facebook, Uber, Gap Inc, etc) and is known for its beautiful weather, the cost of living has surged at an astronomical rate. Be sure to do some research on the median income of the surrounding areas to get a better pulse as to how much things cost. 


  1. West Coast Culture. The West Coast certainly has a reputation for having a more relaxed, “laid back” vibe to it. Individuals who enjoy taking risks and exercising an entrepreneurial mindset and can keep an open mind to very diverse perspectives thrive in this type of environment. If you are the type of individual who prefers having set schedules and timelines, the east coast may be a better fit for you.


  1. Make the school a priority, not the weather. Finally, make sure you are choosing a school because of its unique academic programs or novel approach to student life and not because of the weather. While the weather can be linked to an indirect influence on student life by promoting “happiness”, it certainly is not the response the admissions office wants to read about when they ask their “Why [X] College?” essay question. Always ask yourself if you would still like the school if it were located in a location that had terrible weather. If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board.


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