POV: Class Of ’23 On Applying In-State v.s. Out-Of-State


Celeste Umaña, Reporter

Reading Time: 3 minutes

For the seniors at Venice High School, fall semester is college season. It’s a generally stressful, but exciting time where college visits, applications, and decisions are being made. One of those decisions is whether or not staying in-state or going out-of-state is right for a student. 

“I think a lot of people stay in-state for convenience and financial reasons,” says senior Brianna Rosales-Sanchez. 

She has a point. California residents and students pay significantly less tuition for schools in-state compared to students who come from outside states. There are also more scholarships and grants for California students who decide to stay for college. And for many, finances and financial aid is the leading factor when deciding which college to attend next fall. 

When asked about whether or not he would stay in-state, senior Hitesh Sharma shares, “It’s mostly dependent on the financial aid that I receive. The major appeal to staying in-state is the resident tuition.”

But besides the financial aspect, the proximity to home and familiarity with the state are also reasons why seniors apply to in-state schools. “ I like the nearness to L.A. and my family’s in-state; they come ahead of everything,” explains senior Saron Abiy. 

There’s also the possibility of going to school with people you already know. For senior Adam Weiner, that’s an appeal to staying in-state. He explains, “Maybe I’ll meet somebody I already have connections to at that school, and I’ll already have friends.” 

Another reason why schools like the UCs have so much appeal is because of convenience. Senior Nathan Lee points out, “ The UC applications are all in one place, so I can apply to all the schools at once.” The same is true for the California State Universities, which also makes them one of the faster and easier applications to complete. 

For any private or out-of-state schools, it’s the individual school’s application system or the Common App where students submit their application, along with any and all supplemental writing and documents requested. It can become very stressful and a big turn away for students who don’t want to jump through hoops to apply to college.

But California doesn’t have everything. When it comes to certain major programs, traditions, and independent experiences, out-of-state colleges can tend to outperform California schools. 

As someone who would prefer to stay in state, Senior Joshua Sun admits that a good program for his major, at an out of state university, would make him consider leaving California.

 “It depends on what schools they are and the programs I would be going there for. I think it would change a lot for me, and the distance would eventually not matter as much to me,” Sun says. 

To some seniors the school spirit, traditions, and student life found at out-of-state colleges, are key essentials to what they’re looking for in their college experience. 

Rosales-Sanchez explains, “A big factor for me has been social media and what I hear from current students at those schools. You see this appeal of football games, school events, and big academic events that happen at these out-of-state colleges that don’t really happen here in California because traditions aren’t as big here.”

As most seniors know, college is all about experiencing independence like we never have before. And while any college will give students more independence than they probably currently have, the type of independence one feels with the knowledge that you’re in a completely different state isn’t really comparable.

As someone who would prefer going out-of-state, Rosales-Sanchez shares that knowledge is one of her main reasons for prioritizing out-of-state schools. 

“ I think going out-of-state gives a lot of students the ability to be free for once; To grow and become independent. Whether that be financially or in personal values they need to grow. Personally, I want to go out-of-state to be able to live my life and do what I want. Fail if I need to, grow when I need to, and overall just become my own person.” 

Whether you’re a student who wants to stay in-state, go out-of-state, or isn’t sure which you’d want to do, there are commonalities between the entire college experience. Everyone is nervous. Nervous about leaving, being on their own for the first time, having to start over at a new school, and doing well to prepare for their future. 

Applying for college is an accomplishment in itself. And every person’s college experience will be tailored to what they want and need.

Seniors, you can find comfort in the shared struggles and nerves of your fellow classmates. And live as much in the moment as possible, cherishing and not taking for granted your last year.

For incoming seniors, the overall advice is to start early, and if you know what you want, do what you need to to give yourself the best chance possible of obtaining that goal.