Relocating to a University Town

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Penn State University

Photo © Alison Dian Photography

Moving from a small town or a large city can be an intimidating proposition. Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.

Research before you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, and laws that are native to the area. If you can, visit Penn State and the surrounding areas before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before.

Have a plan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you start packing the moving truck. Find housing before you leave, or at least know where you’ll stay while you look for a home. Never send money or sign for house that you haven’t seen. If you can’t get there, find a friend or an employer to check for you. Have a job waiting for you, or if that’s not possible, know what you’ll do for money in the first few weeks of living there. Try to line up things like driver’s licenses, car insurance, and parking passes ahead of time as well.

Get involved. Meeting people can be daunting. Don’t expect the neighbors to knock your door down with a casserole when you arrive. And living near a college can be noisy and hectic. But there are many tranquil and beautiful areas also. Take the initiative. If there are things you liked to do in your town, find ways to do those things here, too. Try new things. Volunteer. A university town offers so many opportunities to engage other people, so find what you like.

Mind your wallet. You’ll be surprised at the cost of living in State College. Some things do cost more: food, insurance, clothes, housing, the hair salon. But things might cost less depending on the area you are relocating from. Be careful how you spend, and know where your money is going.