Can I Still Get the "College Experience" If I Am Close to Home?

When I applied to college eons and eons ago (OK, less than ten years ago), my family wanted nothing more than for me to stay close to home. You may feel as I did though; I thought I had to go far away to get the “college experience.” I tried to please my family and myself, and ended up applying to schools all over. I sent applications to New York, New England, California, Illinois, and even Hawaii. Once my decision was made, I proudly called Washington, DC, my home for four years. This momma’s boy from the Bronx did it, he left home!

But What Do NYU Students Do?

Having worked at NYU for three years now, I see the kind of college experience that NYU students get. While our students aren’t going to the Bobcats’ football game every Sunday (umm, because we don’t have a football team), they have access to so much more. They receive discounts on Broadway shows, professional sporting events, and some of the world’s greatest museums. They participate in over 300 clubs and organizations on-campus. That’s not to mention they’re interning and working in some of the world’s greatest companies and institutions as early as their first year.

I wish I had known what this NYU “college experience” was when I filled out my Common App. The ability to have all of this, and only be 11 miles from home, really could have been the best of both worlds.

No Mom, I'm Not Coming Home for Dinner Tonight

I could see it already. My large Italian family making me come home every weekend. That’s exactly what I wanted to avoid when I went away for college. In reality, at NYU, having family around would only be a benefit. If you are coming from one of the five boroughs or Long Island, Westchester, or northern New Jersey, being close to home would allow you to be independent in a city you grew up with.

The New York that you knew with your parents and family will not be the New York that you come to know as an NYU student.

Living in Greenwich Village, attending your friends’ dance performances, watching your hallmate’s soccer game, going to visit the United Nations with your class, these are all experiences that you will have crafted on your own.

Want to Hear My Mom's Bronx Accent?

The best part about attending NYU while being close to home is sharing it with family and friends. There may come a Friday night where you are just wiped from a week of classes, and nothing sounds better than Mom’s meatballs. A quick subway, Metro-North, or LIRR ride away and there you are, home. Bringing your friends home with you can also be a really exciting time.

Showing someone from outside of New York what a typical suburban or outer-borough weekend is like can be great. You not only see family but can show your friends where you grew up. Not to mention, that home-cooked meal. After all, what college student doesn’t love free food?

Being close to home can be beneficial for you and your family, but setting boundaries is important. Letting family know that you live on campus, and that you should not be “expected” home is how to grow your independence.

Cutting Cost by Attending NYU? Yes, Way!

NYU, like most private institutions, is expensive. Let’s be honest. As a New Yorker, commuting is one way to consider making NYU more affordable. Attending NYU and being close to home is a privilege. Imagine taking the subway to class, hanging out with friends on campus, going to your other two classes for the day, attending your play rehearsal, and then coming home to a stocked fridge! Is it obvious that food is always on my mind?

Living at home would be less expensive, yes, and you would not have to give up the student experience. There are programs to welcome you into the commuter community as an incoming first-year student. There are also programs to keep you engaged throughout your first year. Students who commute to NYU make time for on-campus commitments, hold leadership positions, and even work part time. Our Commuter Student Council serves as a voice for NYU students who commute or live off campus. Even if you commute to NYU, you are just as much a member of the University as any other student.

Growing a Network in New York City

NYU students use the city to their advantage. Native New Yorkers know there is so much opportunity in this city. Growing up in the Bronx, I quickly discovered that navigating New York City and the world required two things: what you know and who you know. As NYU students mature throughout their four years, they build an expansive network of friends, classmates, coworkers, professors, partners, and so on. Those who go to school close to home have the added benefit of building upon an already solid network of family and friends and colleagues who can help you get to where you want to go. New Yorkers who attend NYU hone their skills in Greenwich Village and make new and broader connections.

What is unique about being a New Yorker at NYU is the foundation that you have. Whether you are from Staten Island, the South Bronx, Astoria, or Bed-Stuy, you can build upon a presence that you already have in this city. That NYU degree you are attaining, and the unparalleled connections you are making, only reinforce that foundation. You will graduate NYU a powerhouse, genuine in your friendships, present in your community, and vast in your network. Friends and fellow alumni will be working all over the world. Your roommate who moved to Denver and your teammate who moved to Singapore will be the ones staying with you when you have your reunion in New York. You will surely visit them, too. Going to college close to home has a whole new meaning when you think about what NYU can afford a New Yorker: everything!

Joe Savino is an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at NYU. A native New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx, Joe loves getting out of the city and traveling to new places. He recruits prospective NYU students far away from home in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, as well as Pakistan. Joe is also a graduate student in NYU Steinhardt studying Higher Education & Student Affairs. If he’s not reading applications or writing a paper, Joe is planning his next trip to a US National Park in hopes of visiting all 61 throughout the country.