Should you try to get away from what you know best—i.e., the language, culture, and geography with which you’ve grown up?
Frank Bruni of the New York Times recently suggested that college-bound students would do well to choose a school that will push them into unfamiliar terrain. Doing so, he says, will give them “the richest experiences to draw from” later in life and “will broaden their frames of reference.”
This is solid advice, but it must come with an important caveat. Specifically, you shouldn’t choose a college experience that is so exotic that your chances of graduating are significantly lower than they’d be in a more familiar setting.
Bruni was mainly addressing students for whom college is a foregone conclusion—students whose families are filled with college graduates. Those who are first-generation college students do not need to find a college in an “unfamiliar” setting to get outside of their comfort zone; for them, college is, in itself, an unfamiliar setting.
For more advice on choosing a college, check out the following posts: