Going to College in Your Own Backyard

While about 70 percent of college students attend college outside of their hometown, some students opt to stay closer to home.

After growing up in the city of Auburn, students Justin Smith and Mallory Meagher believe there is no better school for them than Auburn University.  Both students say that the college experience at Auburn differs from growing up here.

“The university is kind of in its own bubble,” says Meagher, a senior studying biomedical sciences.

Before attending Auburn, Meagher lived in Auburn for 11 years and attended Lee Scott Academy.

Mallory Meagher, senior in biomedical sciences from Auburn, AL

Smith, a senior studying  chemical engineering, says “the community of Auburn is quite different than the university- demographically, economically, and socially.”

Smith was born and raised in Auburn and says it’s possible to get too comfortable in the hometown “bubble.” He was accepted to several other universities but decided on Auburn due to scholarship opportunities.

Justin Smith, senior in chemical engineering and economics from Auburn, AL

Originally, he wanted to leave and experience someplace new.

Coming to Auburn “ended up being the best decision,” says Smith, who attended Auburn High School.

Meagher knew since she was young that she wanted to attend Auburn.

“My entire family has attended Auburn ever since my great-grandfather served as the head football coach here, way back in the day. I grew up an Auburn fan, and could never imagine cheering for another team. Living here made me love the school even more, and I didn’t even think twice about making my decision,” says Meagher.

Although she wanted to attend Auburn since she was young, there are still challenges attending school so close to home.

“I took me a long time to understand how hard it is to go to college far away from home, and I appreciate my friends who make that sacrifice even more now,” says Meagher. 

Smith said the biggest challenge was being willing to step out of his comfort zone and finding friends who did not grow up with him.

“Every college student must do this, but it’s more challenging when you attend school in the place you’ve grown up in,” says Smith. “I wanted to make my own way at Auburn.”

Both encourage prospective students who live in the Auburn community to consider Auburn.

“Come to Auburn, you’ll love it. Don’t live with your parents. Don’t be afraid to make new friends” says Smith.

“While it might be adventurous to go far away, there’s nothing wrong with realizing what a special and unparalleled campus that we have right here in our home!” says Meagher.


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