My name is Kendra Wheeler and I am 22 years old. I am a 2013 graduate of The Ohio State University with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with a minor in Criminology/Criminal Justice.
One of the easiest ways to save money during college is to attend a branch or regional campus if your university offers them, because the tuition and cost of living is usually a lot lower. Personally, I attended The Ohio State University which has a total of six campuses scattered across the state, including what everyone calls the “main” campus in Columbus. That decision was one of the best I made during my entire college career.
As a senior in high school I applied to OSU in Columbus and got accepted. I had never visited a regional campus and I did not know much about them. As my senior year was coming to an end, I became more and more nervous about going off to college. I am from a very small town with less than 80 people in my graduating high school class, so the thought of going to Columbus (the 15th largest city in the U.S.) and being with over 50,000 other students was really scary. I took a chance and visited the nearest regional campus, and I really enjoyed my tour.
After some careful thought and consideration, I called the admissions office at the regional campus and said that I wanted to attend the campus in the fall. I was expecting to have to go through a lot of trouble to transfer, but luckily most universities that have multiple campuses will allow you to change pretty easily. Unlike transferring to a different university, switching to a different campus just means that they move your records from one campus to the other and switch your status in the computer system and you are all set. All your classes are the same, so there is no need for an evaluation of your courses or worrying about getting credit for a certain class you took. And you are able to campus change as many times as you want or need, so if you feel uncomfortable at one campus you can switch to another.
One downside of a regional campus is that not all majors/minors are offered at all the campuses. So depending on your major, you may be required to change campuses further in your career to complete your desired major. I was undecided about my major at first, and I thought that I would likely have to go to Columbus eventually, after I got some college experience under my belt and felt more comfortable. But I ended up selecting a major that could be completed entirely on my regional campus, and after three and a half years, I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree.
The regional campus I attended was about an hour away from my parent’s home, so I originally planned on commuting back and forth every day. However, after a couple weeks of commuting, I was already looking for an apartment of my own closer to the university. Some regional campuses do offer on-campus housing, and the campus I attended did too, but I was leary of sharing a room with a total stranger. Plus, I was looking for a place to stay in the middle of the academic term.
I had a list of all the apartments in the area (provided to me by the campus admissions office) and found one less than five minutes away from the university that was completely affordable on my part-time Toys R Us salary. I moved in and actually still live there today, nearly 4 years later. Several of the apartments in the complex are rented by other college students, like myself, so I always had the option of hanging out with people my age, but I also had a place of my own that I did not have to share with anyone.
The only major difficulty I dealt with by attending a regional campus was myself. I thought people would think I was not smart or that I did not get accepted to the Columbus campus so I was deferred to a regional campus, which does actually happen. But the truth is that no one seemed to care what campus I attended. I still received a quality education, and many of my instructors taught the same classes at the Columbus campus. My degree is indistinguishable from someone who spent double or more on their tuition by attending the Columbus campus.
So if you are asking yourself if a regional or branch campus is right for you, my simple answer is “Yes!” I encourage anyone and everyone to at least check out a regional campus for a great opportunity.