Business graduate Alex Harris has one piece of advice if you have a Georgian campus near your hometown: “Go take a tour before you decide which schools to apply to,” he says.
Born and raised in Barrie, Alex applied to three out-of-town colleges when he was in his last year of high school at St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School. He went to one in the Greater Toronto Area and lived in residence. During his first year, he found that his straight-A high school grades were plummeting and he was losing weight because he didn’t like food on campus.
One day when he went home to Barrie, he signed up for tour of Georgian’s Barrie Campus. A bunch of his friends went to Georgian right out of high school and told him how much they liked it. He thought he’d check it out for himself.
“The facilities really impressed me. I had driven past Georgian so many times but from the exterior, you don’t get that feeling. When you’re inside, walking around, it helps you decide if it’s right for you,” he said.
Alex immediately liked the athletic centre, study spaces, The Last Class restaurant and pub, and the busyness of the Student Services Centre with events organized for students to get to know each other. The tour was enough to convince him to transfer.
Alex says these are some of the benefits he experienced from going to school close to home.
Financial – Alex estimates he saved $8,000 per year by living at home with his family; $5,000 in housing costs and $3,000 in food.
Comforts of home – there’s something to be said for home-cooked meals, sleeping in your own bed, not having to deal with roommates, and having in-home laundry facilities.
You don’t have to go back and forth for family occasions – You’ll be home to take part in birthdays, holidays, and in Alex’s case the co-ed volleyball league he enjoyed playing in with his family.
You know who to go to for help – Alex was grateful for not having to find a new doctor, dentist or other health care professionals. Also, his “super smart sister” as he described her was around to help him with his studies.
Make new friends – While Alex still had many of his high school friends nearby, he’s made lots of new ones that he met in class.
You can keep your job – When Alex moved to the GTA for his first year, he had to quit his part-time job. If he had started right at Georgian, he could have kept it to help pay his college bills.
Road trips! – You can still see how the other half lives by taking weekend road trips to visit friends who moved away to go to school in other parts of the province.
Better grades – Alex found it easier to focus at home than when he lived in residence. “You don’t have the distraction or disruption of people always knocking on your door,” he said. After transferring to Georgian, his grades improved.
Convenient transportation – all Georgian campuses are served by public transit. In Barrie, students receive a bus pass with their ONEcard. For those who commute, the HONK parking app is also convenient.
Get to know the local employers you want to work for – If you like your hometown and want to live there when you’re done school, you can start to find the right employer during your co-op placements.
This article was originally published in March 2019. It was updated and re-shared in January 2020.