Like anything else, it’s always helpful to hear straight from someone who has first-hand experience. Hear why some of our SMU Mustangs from the Dallas area decided to #Stay4SMU and why they’re glad they did.
SMU Mustang from Coppell
Majors: Statistics and Spanish
Staying in Dallas has definitely been a benefit for me. Although I'm just 20 miles away from home, I might as well be 500 miles away. My family never drops in unannounced, but I get to take part in some traditions that I wouldn't have been able to do if I was further away.
I am getting to have experiences that none of my peers at other universities are able to have. I have used my Spring Break to go to Germany with my history class, spent the summer in Spain to enhance my Spanish skills, and been able to serve as an Orientation Leader to welcome new students to Dallas.
I would say that being too close should not be a factor in making your decision. Choose your university based on what they offer and where you see yourself, not based on the concern that you'll see your family too much (trust me, you'll miss them no matter how far they are). Living close-by also makes things like moving in and storing things over the summer much easier.
SMU Mustang from Highland Park
Major: Biology, Pre-Med Track
After attending the Dedman College Academic Spotlight as a prospective student, I came to realize that SMU is a world-class academic institution, where professors - leaders in their field - are passionate about teaching, and where students are talented, driven individuals who genuinely desire to become "world changers." I admired sense of community that exists at SMU, where everyone is friendly, welcoming, and genuinely proud to call this campus their home. Moreover, through conversations with family friends who are SMU alumni and business leaders in the metroplex, I became keenly aware of the opportunities and prestige associated with an SMU degree. At that point, it became clear to me that SMU would become my first choice of school.
I truly believe that as a local student, I receive the best of both worlds! SMU offers a plethora of activities and opportunities to its students. Most of my time is dedicated to class and extracurricular activities or time spent with classmates and friends. However, as a local SMU student, I'm still able to remain close with my family and spend time with them as well. Sometimes a home-cooked meal and time together is exactly what I need to conclude a challenging week.
Over the course of five semesters, I've attended lectures by notable public figures, from an Olympic gymnast to a world-renowned journalist, traveled to Israel and Oxford, England, and currently serve as the student representative to SMU's esteemed Tate Lecture Series. Moreover, located only a few minutes from downtown Dallas, SMU connects its undergraduates to internships and job opportunities with corporate leaders in every field. Choosing SMU and Dedman College was truly the best decision I have ever made.
SMU Mustang from Flower Mound
Major: Business and Fashion Media
Minor: Law and Legal Reasoning
It is nice being able to drive home after a long day, or to grab lunch with my mom during the week! I also like bringing my SMU friends home for a home-cooked meal! When things get stressful, I have that additional comfort that out-of-state students do not get, so it has made the transition easier!
[Dallas] has almost become a new city in a way! When I bring my friends from other areas to place I already have experienced, it allows me to almost experience it again for the first time. It reminds me of just how cool Dallas is and all the things you can do here!
The miles between your college campus and home can mean nothing or everything; it's all about perspective. Dallas is always opening new restaurants, or a cool pop-up will come through, so there is always something different to do! And, the "relief" or "fun" idea of not seeing your parents goes away really quickly, as college is a new experience, and it is nice to have something familiar only a car ride away!
SMU Mustang from Richardson
Majors: Mechanical Engineering and Physics
My mom was always supportive of me going far away if I wanted, so I never felt the need or pressure to stay close to my family. Financial aid was the ultimate deciding factor. Secondarily, I considered the value of the degree and opportunity that is possible with an alumni base like ours.
I have experienced different restaurants and places in Dallas I would never even think of going before because I'm around people with such varied interests. I've gone to so many different places, and it's great. SMU is one of the [realest] microcosms of the US that I've ever experienced, in regards to diversity of thought, interests, and geographic origin. I wouldn't worry that one would have a similar experience to where they are from if they don't want to.
SMU Mustang from Coppell
I decided to attend SMU because I realized the value of going to a small/mid-size school. All of my professors know me by name and have gotten to know me better during office hours. These personal connections have allowed me to excel in my academic and professional career, as I feel comfortable asking them about not only school, but also my career aspirations. There is an arbitrage of opportunity at SMU that partially comes from its close, united atmosphere.
Distance was definitely a positive factor [in choosing SMU]. I live about 30 minutes from SMU, but I can 100% say that being at SMU feels like a completely different atmosphere (like another state!). I really enjoy this sense of distance from family, as it allows me to grow more independently. However, I also really appreciate that any time I crave a home-cooked meal, I can simply drive 30 minutes and be back home.
I have definitely experienced Dallas differently since attending SMU. Having direct access to the city now, I didn't realize how many awesome restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment locations there were! I love returning to the places I used to go in high school, but also discovering tons of new hot spots with people who are new to the city!
It's the best of both worlds! Being at SMU is a completely new and awesome atmosphere that I have never experienced before. You meet a ton of new people from all around the nation, and get to constantly visit new places around the city. If I am ever stressed from school, however, I can go back home and be with my family.
SMU Mustang from Southlake
Major: Electrical Engineering with Leadership Specialization
I chose to attend SMU because I knew I wouldn't be just a number here. Before I even enrolled, I felt like I was already a part of the Mustang community from the amount of personal relationships I was able to make with faculty at admitted student events and current students on campus! I was also drawn to the seemingly endless opportunities available right downtown in Dallas!
I never expected to attend college close to home because I wanted to feel like I was taking a big step away from high school and seeking independence, BUT after touring SMU and falling in love with the campus, culture, and community, I didn't let the distance influence my decision. I realized how many unique and prestigious opportunities are available in Dallas, like internships and cuisine and major year-round events like sports and concerts, and instantly became enthralled by the possibilities of living in such a diverse metropolitan area.
I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I get the benefit of living on campus and engaging in the full-time college lifestyle just like students from out-of-state, but I also get the perks of being close to home, such as being able to easily move in and out and have an almost negligible travel time when coming home for school breaks instead of having to purchase flights.
Living in Dallas as a college student offers a completely different vibe than what I was limitably able to experience in high school. As a college student, I have had the opportunity to experience the professional realm of the business world in Dallas through working internships and attending networking events on campus and downtown. Additionally, one of my favorite things to do with my friends is go explore all the unique parts of Dallas and having the freedom and opportunity to do that anytime we want is totally new and exciting.
My advice to students who are hesitant to attend a college near home is simple: don't go home! Even if you aren't far from home, treat being at SMU like you are 500 miles away, and ask your parents to do the same. Plan to see them on school breaks and holidays. Living on campus truly becomes its own world, and the experiences and adventures that await you as a college student in downtown Dallas and in the surrounding areas are exciting and endless! Going to college close to home doesn't hinder your college experience, it simply gives you more flexibility to make it your own!