That’s what I did and it’s totally normal. I was a kid from a small town with the option of attending a local school, but I needed a change of scenery and a way to step outside of my comfort zone. Four years later, I still don’t regret doing it.

Being a Fargo-Moorhead native is different. In this community, the people are great, the food is delicious and the opportunities are endless. If you’re a resident, here are a few reasons why you might want to stay close to home.

Cobbers eating ice cream at DQ

There’s so much to do.

The F-M area is a great community for college students, as there are endless opportunities for work and play. There’s a reason Fargo is listed as one of the U.S.’ fastest-growing cities. From local coffee shops and great restaurants to shopping and sporting events, the F-M area is an ideal place for a college student to spend their four years.

One might say that Fargo-Moorhead is like the Twin Cities only smaller. Here, you have all of the benefits of a big city (activities, food, night life, etc.) without the aches and pains of living in a huge, metro-style community. Everything seems to be within an arm’s reach but, as a local, you already know that.

Kernel hugging Cobber downtown Fargo

It’s very college-oriented.

Fargo-Moorhead is often called the tri-college area, but there are actually five colleges in the region. Between these local schools, there are more than 30,000 students enrolled, meaning you’re likely going to meet A LOT of people. These colleges often offer classes to students at the other schools for no additional charge. For example, Concordia business students with an interest in agriculture can take ag-business courses at NDSU, only a few miles away. Students also find many ways to interact outside the classroom as well, so the interconnectivity between schools also fosters a deeper sense of community.

Because there are so many college students in the area, your favorite local restaurants and stores offer various discounts when you show your student ID. Believe me, you will want to do this.

Students drinking coffee at Young Blood

You’ll be close to home but as far away as you choose to be.

Looking back at my college career, one thing I wish I would’ve done more is spend time with my family. Going to school a few hours from my hometown meant that I had the freedom of living away from home, but it came with the price of not seeing my family or childhood friends for extended periods of time (sometimes months). This is something you are sure to encounter when you get to college.

Going to college in the F-M area means that you’ll be close to home, so your gas tank can be filled, groceries can be bought and laundry can be done at home (believe me, this is something that you take for granted). Above all, being close to home means that you can spend more time with family, which is something you truly can never get enough of.

Cobbers in hammocks

However, being in the larger F-M community also means that you have the ability to step out of your comfort zone and, in a sense, “separate” from your past self and grow. College will provide you with many new friends, activities and interests, and you won’t be constrained to the routine you had in high school. I know many people from the F-M area who stayed for college. Some of them go home almost every day, some actually live at home to save money, and some spend hardly any time at home at all. Staying in the area for college means that you have the option of going home whenever you choose but don’t necessarily have to.

As someone who left home to go to college hours away, I can say that it’s a great experience and that leaving my comfort zone to go to a city where I knew no one was a good decision. However, living in Fargo-Moorhead means that you have a unique opportunity to remain close to the people and things that are important to you, while also fully submerging yourself in the college life. In my opinion, that’s a win-win.