Q: How can I convince my parents to let me go away for college? The college I'm planning on attending is at least 4 hours away from my home, but is in a town abundant with opportunities. My town is all washed up and the community colleges are hard to transfer out of. They're mainly concerned about money and me being out on my own...?
- Anonymous

You’re probably not going to be able to "convince" them. You’re going to have to prove to them that it’s the right decision.

The first and easiest thing to do is prove you are responsible. Do your own laundry. Cook food. Clean the house. Do boring grown up things.

It’s going to be difficult if they are footing the entire bill, so the next thing you should do is apply for as many grants and scholarships as you can. Look first at the college you want to go to, and then look online. There are thousands online you can apply for by writing an essay or something simple like that.

After you’ve exhausted all the possibilities for outside funding, you should talk to your parents like a reasonable adult, and show them all the work you’ve done to get the scholarships and be responsible. Lead the conversation into the benefits of college in a larger city. There will be more internship prospects, more networking possibilities, and ultimately, more job opportunities.

If that doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the world. If you’re worried about transferring, meet with the adviser at the community college AND an adviser at the college you want to transfer to. Some community colleges have “Core Complete” programs that are guaranteed to transfer. 

Q: Is it bad to graduate from college in five years instead of four? There's so much I want to study, and because of my major in nursing and my premed classes, I won't be able to study everything I want in the first two years...?
- Anonymous

Only about 44% of student graduate college in four years, so if it takes more than four years, it’s not a big deal. 

However, you should be really careful taking a lot of classes freshman and sophomore year that are just for fun. It’s expensive and you could burn out after a few semesters. Everyone gets tired of college at one point or another, but it’s a lot worse when you’ve taken 72 hours and you’re not even half-way to your degree because you got distracted with other classes.

Q: Currently I'm a junior in high school(senior starting August) and my mom doesn't think we can afford for me to live on a college campus. So we just decided to get an apartment my freshman year and then maybe move on campus my sophomore year. Does that sound like a good plan or should I just stick with an apartment for all 4 years?..?
- Anonymous

If you start college by living in an apartment, you definitely shouldn’t move into the dorms. Living in an apartment is way better if you’re ready for a little more responsibility (like paying your electric bill). 

We actually wrote a blog about this. These are our top reasons to live in an apartment vs a dorm:

  1. Real freedom: A lot of dorms are still really strict and have curfews. In an apartment, you can do whatever you want whenever you want (within state and federal laws of course). Anyone can be at your apartment at any time. No supervision.
  2. Space: Dorms are tiny. Even the smallest apartment is going to be bigger than a dorm room. You will have more space for better furniture including a nice big bed.
  3. Privacy: No more sharing a room. No more communal bathrooms. You will finally be able to take a dump in peace.
  4. Food: You can actually make good food. You won’t have to cook everything you eat in a microwave.

You can check out the worst parts of apartment life and rest of the blog here.

Q: Should I get an apartment with my boyfriend when we go off to college? (We're seniors in high school) I'll probably live on campus my first couple years but what about our junior year?..?
- Anonymous

It’s way too soon to make plans for junior year.

It’s a great idea to live on campus the first year or two. After that (if you’re still together) you can consider moving in with your boyfriend. 

You should be really sure you’re ready to live together before you do it. Moving in together before you’re ready can put a lot of unhealthy pressure on even the best relationships.