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photo by Oklahoma City Theater Department

Oklahoma City freshman Vangeli Tsompanidis performing in the fall musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

Between volunteering for honor societies and the long nights spent glued to Khan Academy desperate to bring up an SAT score another 20 points, building a college application has turned into a 12-year experience. Getting in is one thing, but the decision of staying in or out of state can be just as stressful. Staying in state has its perks, such as the Bright Futures scholarship and proximity to family, but many students choose to go out of state for the variety of benefits colleges have to offer.

A Hagerty graduate of 2019, Vangeli Tsompanidis is now a freshman at Oklahoma City University as a Musical Theater Major. His decision to go out of state was motivated by the program that best suited his future.

“For me, getting the best training I possibly could was my priority when choosing a university,” Tsompanidis said. “Oklahoma City is one of the top musical theater programs in the country.”

Some out-of-state institutions are better suited for unique programs. Other universities within Florida have musical theater programs, but none as well-known as Oklahoma City. When it came time to make the decision, Tsompanidis knew what he wanted to do and has not looked back since. 

“The amount of growth I have undergone as a performer has been a huge benefit for me,” Tsompanidis said.“It’s insane the heights that the professors elevate us toward.”

According to the New York Times, in 2016 more than 5,000 students decided to go to out of state schools. Majority of these students traveled to either Alabama or Georgia. Senior Camdyn Meredith plans to be one of them.  

 Meredith will be attending the University of Alabama in hopes to become a child life specialist. Picking a school that best fit her career is something that was also important to Meredith.

“There is a hospital right next to campus that is equipped for internships suited for my degree,” Meredith said.“That was a big factor in going there.”

Choosing a school with a program best suited was important for her, but for Meredith having her family’s support meant more.

“My family and friends have been so supportive of me and are allowing me to create my own experiences which is exciting,” Meredith said.

Senior Kaitlyn O’Donnell, who will also attend the University of Alabama in the fall, was more concerned about what school she thought was best for her.

People have pushed me to stay in state, but I feel that Alabama is the best move for me and I think that’s most important,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell had a harder time deciding between out-of-state and in-state institutions. When it came down to the final decision, she chose the school she thought she would succeed in.

“I hope to have the greatest opportunities at Alabama, it is an environment I know I will excel in,” O’Donnell said.

Former Hagerty student and freshman at Bowling Green State University, Maddie Woodburn is happy with her decision to go out of state.

“I’m able to discover and learn things completely on my own, and create my own path,” Woodburn said.

Going to school out of state requires a student to become more independent as they move farther away from their families. In Woodburn’s case, it has forced her to mature faster than other college students had to.

 “I’ve become a better person, learned more about myself, established a daily routine, met great people and have overall felt happier,” Woodburn said. 

 

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