Going to school in a faraway place presents some challenges. If you go far enough, you'll probably be essentially by yourself, with no family or old friends around to soften the experience of starting a new chapter of your life. This can be a somewhat scary experience, but it's ultimately a very important one. The courage and skill it takes to pick up and start your life over somewhere new and different will serve you well later in life, when good job opportunities might not exist right on your doorstep.
A Fresh Start
Sometimes, we just want to get away from people who have a set perception of us. This is not an uncommon feeling among high school seniors. In some cases, the people we graduate high school with are the same ones who were there on day one of kindergarten. We're not suggesting that you should move and take on a whole new identity, but the experience of being in a new community among unfamiliar faces allows you to act according to your own will rather than other people's expectations of you. You'll be able to make a new set of friends and expose yourself to new ideas and experiences that you might not feel comfortable doing if held back by old relationships.
Though the college experience is similar across the U.S., there's definitely a regional cultural difference from place to place. Let's say you grew up in Georgia, and the conservative, traditional aspect of Southern society doesn't really do it for you. Going to college in California will expose you to a new set of cultural norms. You'll probably meet people whose formative years were completely different from yours, more so than you might if you stayed close to home. This exposure to new ideas and different people is a really important part of becoming a well-rounded, open-minded adult.
Living on the opposite coast from the majority of your family presents a problem when it comes time for you to travel home for holidays and breaks. This can be especially obvious if you're really close to your family and like to see them more than once or twice per year. Additionally, f you attend college in another state, you will be charged non-resident tuition for the first year, which can sometimes triple your fees. College can be expensive to begin with, and the added expense might not be realistic for you or your family.
Though a new perspective can be educationally beneficial, it's still a difficult experience to be exposed to a lifestyle that's entirely different from what you're used to. If you grew up in a small town, for example, attending school far away in a big, busy city may be overwhelming. This experience can lead to homesickness, which can be depressing and distract you from your studies.
Long Distance Support System
When you're just starting out in a new place, you won't have the support system you are accustomed to back home. Your friends and family may be in a different time zone or may have complicated schedules of their own. Fortunately, technology can help bridge that gap to keep you connected as you establish yourself in your new surroundings.
By definition, an emergency is an unexpected crisis. An emergency could occur for you or a family member at any time, and not being able to be around your family or support system at a moment's notice can cause additional stress and/or financial burdens for you.
Paying your way to live far from home might be worth it - and there are other times when free things aren't such a great deal for students.