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.
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.”
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:
making the transition to a different environment 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.
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