When it comes to considering which colleges you want to apply to, the criteria can get a little complicated to sort out. Which has the best student services? Which one is closest to home? Which one has a higher academic ranking? Which one has the ability to get my foot into the door of my preferred career?
Backtrack to the “location” heading in your criteria for a minute. Have you ever considered the actual location of your prospective college’s campus, not the general area or place, as something to consider? Well, if you haven’t, here’s a general distinction of what kind of campus goes where, and why you should have a look at it more closely:
These campuses are located in the heart of the city. Most urban campuses are linked to bigger colleges, and as such will provide a fast-paced and wide environment for all students to participate in. City campuses are great for people who aren’t afraid to start out big (go big or go home, right?) and who aren’t intimidated by the thought of being in a large city without supervision or any of those juvenile restrictions. Some well-known examples of colleges with urban campuses are MIT, Columbia University, Harvard, University of Chicago and Georgetown University.
Rural campuses/”student towns”
These campuses tend to be removed from any wide urban setting and in many cases the students and the college make up a large majority of the town’s population or economy. Life at a rural campus is ideal for people who want to start out their adult lives in small steps instead of launching themselves straight into the city, and for people who want a more “homely” feel to their college of choice. (Just saying, though: college students from student towns are the ones I’ve seen who party hardest.) A few examples of colleges with rural campuses would be University of Oregon, University of Idaho, Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania State University, and Sweet Briar College.
Okay, so why is it important to know the difference and choose accordingly, you ask? Simply because the kind of campus you’re studying on can have a huge impact on how much you enjoy your academic year. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal – it’s only a place, after all – but put it this way. I’m a student at a college where a large majority of the population is students, which means it’s easier to make friends because you’ll see so many of us around who are doing the exact same thing: trying to make it through our last phase of education. My friends at colleges with city campuses say differently: in fact, they’d rather be where I am right now because they haven’t had such a great time.
Not that you’ll have an awful time at college if you choose a city campus: maybe that’s exactly what you want from your college. All that I’m highlighting here is that the kind of campus you choose to attend is pretty important to your happiness. Hopefully you’re more aware of the kind of implications it has!