BHS seniors weigh the pros and cons of out-of-state universities


These months are crucial for seniors as they send in applications for regular decisions and receive early admission notifications. At Berkeley High School, seniors flock to the College and Career Center (CCC) in the hopes of getting their essays read or receiving help submitting applications. 

Many public and private school applications are due in early January, most of them being out-of-state for California students. Attending an out-of-state school means higher tuition and in some cases a higher application fee. Despite this, students apply to a variety of schools out of state, and some even apply to those outside of the country.

“The attraction to something different is what brings people out of California and into either out-of-state public schools or private schools,” said Anton Migdal, a senior at BHS. Migdal said when students like himself think about going away for college, there is a longing for change and different experiences. To him, college is an opportunity to undergo new things, meet people and form ideas, diversifying yourself and your perspectives. 

Simon Starbuck, a senior, said that “being in a different place is always a good experience and that a great time to experience something like this (is) during college.” 

With students coming from a variety of backgrounds and places, college is the perfect opportunity for individuals to meet new people and determine their lifestyles.  

Out-of-state tuition can become expensive, and students might be unable to afford such costly prices along with room and board. California public universities offer students top-quality education at a lower price than many out-of-state schools.  

For students who have grown up in Berkeley or the Bay Area their entire life, the chance to explore a new place and gain new experiences draws many students to apply out of state. 

Typically, in college, students have the chance to explore life away from home while still being guaranteed housing, food, and other necessities for the majority of the time. 

For this reason, some seniors at BHS are reluctant to apply or seriously consider the University of California, Berkeley when applying for colleges. As students already spend time on the university’s campus, it wouldn’t feel like a true college experience for some, especially those who spent much of their childhood in Berkeley. 

“I am applying to Berkeley, but I don’t want to stay in Berkeley,” Migdal said. “I do love it but I want something different.”

In addition, for some students, Berkeley is not the only place they call home, therefore they don’t feel the same draw to stay here that many other students do. Sarah Darzacq, a senior, said, “I definitely have less of this feeling of, ‘I am leaving my one home’ because I have lived in France.”

Darzacq’s parents both attended  French universities, so going through the process of applying for American schools was a completely different experience for her family. “It was hard to know the system,” Darzacq said. “I think that there’s definitely an expectation that everyone knows what they’re doing.” 

While other students were able to receive application help from their parents, Darzacq felt as if she was at a disadvantage. 

California students have the benefit of receiving in-state tuition, which is considerably lower than out-of-state tuition, for some of the best public school universities in the country. Starbuck said that college is a nice time to explore outside of California, but the UCs provide high quality education nonetheless. 

Starbuck based his college list less on the school’s location and more on what each school had to offer him. While his list ended up being diverse in terms of location, each school had something that interested him, whether it was academics or a special club. 

“One big thing that I definitely want to do in college is be on a formalized AU team, where you design, race, and compete in your own race car that you’ve built,” Starbuck said. Many of the programs with this type of team aren’t in California, further encouraging Starbuck to apply out-of-state. 

 The urge to adventure and become your own person is a big part of the college experience, and for many BHS students, going to school farther away is the best opportunity.