What are some differences between rural, suburban, and urban campuses?
Big city…small city. Inner city or suburbs.
As there are many factors to take into account, this is not a definitive answer but will provide some points for consideration. The focus of this response is on the physical attributes of the campuses and their surroundings, not on any other aspects. Many college campuses, whether rural, small-town, suburban, or urban have beautifully laid-out and landscaped self-contained campuses, often with wooded or park-like areas which add to the pleasure of being a student there. (“Self-contained” means that the campus buildings, dormitories, sports facilities, etc. are on a plot of ground providing a connection among all of them, and social and extracurricular activities center around this hub. It will usually be quite apparent when you have entered this type of campus.) A campus of this description could be found in any of the areas mentioned below. Rural – As the word suggests, these institutions are located in the country. In some cases, urban/more developed areas are not too far away, and in other cases, it may be quite some distance to more populated areas. If you would often or even occasionally want to enjoy the offerings of a city/large town, the aspect of location will be important to keep in mind. On the other hand, if you want to be totally away from the chaos of city life, a rural campus could be the right choice for you. A rural campus may provide numerous opportunities for outdoor activities in the surrounding environment, which would, of course, vary depending on the geographical location of the campus. Social life at a rural campus often focuses strongly on on-campus activities. Small-Town – Small-town institutions have often (but not always) developed wonderful relationships with the residents of the towns in which they are situated. The school may have become a source of identity for the town, and students are made to feel part of the town community. (I will reiterate that this is not always the case. Sometimes, for whatever reasons, a sense of community between the town and students at the university has, unfortunately, never developed.) This sense of connection, or lack of it, is what is referred to as “town-gown” relations. While these campuses offer many activities which are centered on the campus, students in a small-town environment will also have access to whatever that town has to offer – restaurants, movie theaters, etc. Suburban – These schools are, as the name implies, situated not very far from an urban area. Depending on the nature of the suburb, there may or may not be as much sense of community as in a small-town environment. There will usually be good public transportation connections to the nearby city, however, which can be an interesting free-time and entertainment destination. These schools are most frequently self-contained and will offer numerous on-campus activities for their students. While schools in the above areas will usually, as mentioned, be on self-contained campuses, there are distinct differences among urban campuses. Urban – Urban campuses may be self-contained, with the college-specific lay-out and landscaping which we typically associate with such campuses, but they may also merge into the city in such a way that the city itself becomes the campus for the school. The buildings of these schools will look just like the surrounding office buildings, and when one steps out of a school edifice, one will find oneself on the sidewalk of a busy city. Whether the campus is self-contained or integrated into the city, social life tends to be focused on what the city has to offer – live theater, museums, concerts, sports events, restaurants, etc. For some students, this type of environment is exactly what they are looking for as they take their first steps toward independence. Self-contained or integrated into the city? What is your preference? As you do your college research, be sure that you understand the type of campus lay-out and the surrounding environment of each of the schools which interest you. Your stay at the school will represent four years of your life, and you want those years to meet your expectations.
Rural campus often dominate the town they are located in and come Saturday afternoons in the Fall, football can dominate all. In suburban environments, you have the benefit of a small local community with the close proximity of a city to escape the college routine. In an urban environment, you can lose some of that “college” feel, but you can always enjoy all of the comforts that a major city can provide. It is best to visit all campuses as how they interact with their environment can vary from school to school.
There are lots of differences such as: the food choices outside of campus, availability of cheap and dependable transportation, the type of people you will interact with, fun stuff to do, work opportunities that include internships, and a host of other things to look into.
The differences are a bit obvious, but one thing you can think about is how your opportunities off-campus might vary in each situation. Will you have the same opportunities to do internships during the school year at each setting?
It all depends on where the schools are located, but urban campuses will surely have a higher % of commuters. The possibilities of differences are really endless.
•If you are a rather cosmopolitan individual a city may be the right choice as you have greater access to cultural events, museums, major league sports, ethnic food, public transportation, internships, etc. On the other hand, it also has many more safety issues, generally significantly higher living expenses ($$$ to park your car) and less of a “campus feel.” •A rural environment offers a close-knit community, access to an abundance of outdoor activities, a generally safe environment, the campus set apart from the neighboring town, activities that are almost entirely focused on the college, etc. On the other hand, they can also seem more stifling, not have as much access to internship opportunities during the academic year, and be more difficult to get to via public transportation. You often need a car, but will also have a place to park it. •Suburban campuses fall somewhere in between the urban & rural settings, often having a quintessential college campus and town, easy access to cultural events and internships, relative safety, and ease of transportation. Which is best for you depends on you. It is important that you assess yourself to determine which type of campus would be the most comfortable for you and where you would thrive. Not everyone would be happy on each type of campus.
In a very general sense, the location of a given school can have a pretty large impact on the social environment of that school. For instance, on a rural campus, where there is not much to do off campus, the campus itself drives the social life. Those schools will work hard to bring in plenty to keep the students occupied and happy. This tends to engender strong feelings of community and school spirit. At an urban school, there might not even BE a campus necessarily. The social life is mostly driven by the city itself with its restaurants, bars, theatres, museums, etc. A suburban campus might be more like a rural one, but with accessible cities so that students can experience what the cities have to offer in addition to campus life.
I usually find much more similarities than differences, but there can be very different social experiences. At rural colleges, most social activity will be based around the college. This is true at many suburban and urban campuses where students live on campus, but many do not require students to do so. This may lead to less of a sense of connection. The bigger differences occur if large numbers of students commute or not, the size of the school, they style of education and so forth.
The differences among rural, suburban, and urban campuses are less about the campuses than about the opportunities that exist for students in their rural, suburban, and urban surroundings. The campuses themselves maybe not be any different. Columbia or Vanderbilt are in major urban centers but their campuses still feature the nice grassy quads that embody what one typically thinks of as a college campus. However, if you step to the edge of the campus center, you find yourself in the heart of a pair of vibrant cities and it is in those areas that the differences are real and where there are things, good and bad, that cannot be found in a truly rural area that does not offer the same surroundings. Admittedly some urban campuses do not have the quad like set up and may be more reflective of the its urban setting, but in general the true differences are more about the surrounding areas and their attendant opportunities and drawbacks than about the campuses proper.
When students are weighing the value of rural, suburban and urban campuses, they are really considering: Accessibility and Community. Urban campuses will undoubtedly offer great benefits of accessibility (internship/job opportunities, great off campus excursions, easy travel to and from), but may be lacking in providing a central, cohesive residential community. Meanwhile, Denison University is known for a great on-campus community despite the sparse surroundings. The student camaraderie that comes from building a community together is an appealing alternative to an indistinguishable city/college atmosphere. As you determine the best campus type for you, consider the importance of accessibility and community to your personal and professional goals.
As you can imagine, if you study at an urban, suburban or rural school the area surrounding the school will definitely affect your experience. Here are some of the factors to consider between the three types of campuses: Urban
The choices for off-campus entertainment and restaurants will be unlimited. Transportation within and to and from the city should be frequent, easy and convenient. If you’re looking for a job during the school year, summer internship or when you graduate your chances will greatly improve with an urban school as you`ll be surrounded by a variety of employers. Also, you probably will have a number of alumni who are living in the city whom you’ll be able to network with. Urban campuses tend to offer a number of events that are open to both students and community members and this can be an advantage to you as well. Furthermore, you’ll likely be able to learn from and network with a number of guest speakers who find it easier to speak at urban campuses. Many times they can piggy back on a business trip to that city. But be careful, you still have to study so you must maintain a balance between school and the many distractions on and off campus. Rural
A rural campus is probably the direct opposite of an urban campus. But depending on your personality, a rural setting may be perfect for you. No urban activities and sins of the city to distract you from your studies. Most of your entertainment and weekend activities will be on campus. While you may enjoy the peace and tranquility of your surroundings, you may hate how difficult it is to travel home. The lack of variety and diversity may at times be an issue. Suburban
A suburban school may be the best of both worlds; offering nearby access to off campus entertainment, employers, alumni, etc. but with less distractions from an urban school. Transportation to the city may be frequent and convenient and it may not be too difficult to travel home on weekends. There may be a number of alumni who continued living close to the campus and therefore networking with them will be easy. But of course, the choice is yours and ultimately you`ll want to be comfortable in the school and the surroundings whether it`s urban, suburban or rural.
making the transition to a different enviornment is not easy for anyone. however, the focus should be on campuses in terms of the resources that open to students. if would not apply to you unless you are going to use it.
Rural colleges will have close campus life because there will not be much to do off campus. Suburban campuses offer the feeling of seclusion within a city, giving a student more options off campus. Urban campuses are in the middle of large cities with crowds of people and traffic, and they are usually more spread out. Options for activities are diverse and available. Take a look at each type, you may be surprised at what you really like.
In a word, access. Urban campuses offer more cultural offerings close by such as museums, theatre and dining unparelled by smaller college towns. Urban colleges often attract and furnish a larger cross-section of diversity, be it cultural, religious, socioeconomic or lifestyle. Rural campuses become the apex of student life and activity. Frequently, the surrounding communities come to rely on and support college events and activities as a refreshing source of intellectual and cultural simulation.
A rural campus is often what support the town it is in. Rural does not have to mean boring. A perfect example is Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Because of it’s premiere School of Music, Broadway Touring Productions and major entertainment swing through campus on a regular basis.
Suburban campuses tend to be on the fringe of a town. It may feel like you have one foot on campus and one in town. It’s a way to not be remote and still not feel overwhelmed by an urban city.
Urban campuses tend to be surrounded by the city. Opportunities abound as a result, but don’t confuse that with distractions.
Some students will feel more comfortable attending school in an environment similar to the one they’ve grown up in. Other students will welcome the chance to experience a different lifestyle for at least four years.
The more rural the school, usually the tougher it is to get to and usually the more of the college life revolves around the campus, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your preference.
Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.
Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!
Disclosure: EducationDynamics receive compensation for the featured schools on our websites (see “Sponsored Schools” or “Sponsored Listings” or “Sponsored Results”). So what does this mean for you? Compensation may impact where the Sponsored Schools appear on our websites, including whether they appear as a match through our education matching services tool, the order in which they appear in a listing, and/or their ranking. Our websites do not provide, nor are they intended to provide, a comprehensive list of all schools (a) in the United States (b) located in a specific geographic area or (c) that offer a particular program of study. By providing information or agreeing to be contacted by a Sponsored School, you are in no way obligated to apply to or enroll with the school.
The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.