Walsh College

Close to home: 5 reasons why a local college experience might be the best fit

Attending a local college can be a memorable and fun experience that can lead to excellent professional opportunities.

There is a saying, “It takes all kinds to make a world.” And so it is true of college students.

Students preparing to begin their college careers fall into several categories. Some of those include:

  • Those who want to go away and have the “full college experience.”
  • Those who never had any interest in going away and will stay local.
  • Those who want to go away but are unable to and need to make peace with staying local.
  • Those who can’t decide, in the famous words of The Clash, “Should I stay, or should I go?”

1. Affordability

A student who chooses to attend school locally may not need as much, if any, financial aid. Living at home and commuting can eliminate expenses such as out-of-state tuition fees and student housing costs, which can be thousands of additional dollars a year. The student loan default rate for Walsh students is 2.3%, compared to 11.5% across Michigan and 10.1% nationally. A student who graduates with less student loan debt has more freedom to pursue goals such as home ownership, financial investments and saving for retirement.

Starting at community college is an affordable way to meet general education requirements before transferring to another school to finish your degree. In fact, students who start at community college and transfer to Walsh to finish their bachelor’s degree can save $30,000-60,000 over four-year public and private schools. Schools that offer concurrent enrollment options can help students maximize their time, too.

2. Flexibility

Just like residential students, those who commute have the ability to create the kind of college experience that works for their lives. For some, school may be part of an already busy work and family schedule. Students who want an in-person experience can commute to classes scheduled around work. 100% online programs and classes delivered remotely allow for even more flexibility.

There are many opportunities for commuting students to form connections with others for a “fuller” experience. Walsh offers the following options which are being offered virtually while needed:

  • Career-focused student organizations
  • Small class sizes and personal attention from faculty
  • Professional networking events
  • Student life social events
  • Walsh Connect – an online community for Walsh students and alumni
  • Student employment opportunities
Commuting students will find plenty of opportunities to form connections with their peers.

3. Career focus

Many college students have specific career goals in mind and want to start reaching those milestones as soon as possible. John Manwiller (BBA ’18) is one example. Homeschooled until age 16, Manwiller was focused on finishing college and beginning his career. He graduated from Walsh at age 19 and now works as a financial advisor for a large financial services firm.

For students like Manwiller, a highly focused degree program combining academic rigor and hands-on learning based on real business world scenarios can be a perfect fit. John Moore, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Finance and Economics at Walsh, spoke recently about teaching students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This situation presents a living case study for my students. In class, I am asking them to discuss in real time how they would handle various situations in the current climate, which encourages critical, creative and expedient thinking. These exercises refine those skills, which they will carry with them into their careers.”

4. Local impact

College students who stay close to home may find themselves with employment opportunities close to home, too, which can be a boost to local or regional economies. In fact, 86% of Walsh alumni live and work in Michigan, contributing to economic growth in the area.

Students can have an affordable, fulfilling college experience close to home.

5. A future you can see

Deepening roots closer to home has other benefits, too. For many people, in this time of social distancing, being as close as possible to loved ones feels more important than ever. An air of uncertainty colors many of our future plans. There is value in the ability to see a clearly defined degree pathway with fewer questions about where you might live. The more variables you can be certain of, the more confidently you can embark on the journey.

For more information about a quality local college experience, visit www.walshcollege.edu.