Where Should I Go to College? How Location Impacts College Choice
By Sam Coren
Some students see college as a chance to experience life in a different part of the country. Others rather stay close to home to be near family or save money. Then there's a set of students who don't give much thought at all to the location of the college - they just care about getting in.
No matter what attitude you have about where you're going to school, you can't ignore the fact that location plays a major role in your overall college experience. Here are 3 ways how the location of the campus can impact your college choice:
1. The cost of attendance.
You can save a decent amount of money by choosing to commute to a college near you - even if it's only for a year or two. Relocating to a school far away from home can add up in travel and moving expenses. The cost of student housing varies on the surrounding area's cost of living. For example in Boston it's not uncommon to hear college students paying $1,000 a month to live in a dorm or off-campus apartment - that's over $9,000 on housing alone for the school year. Schools in more rural locations tend to have much less expensive housing for both on and off campus.
2. Your rural vs. urban campus lifestyle preference.
It's quite common that students want to get adventurous and use college as an outlet to live the "opposite" lifestyle from the one they're familiar with. Students who grew up in the city might want to head to the country while students who grew up far away from urban centers want to get a feel for city living.
While cities can offer tons of off-campus opportunities such as internships and a variety of entertainment options, city life can have its drawbacks. In StudentAdvisor's college reviews, many students from city schools report dissatisfaction in a lack of engagement in on campus life, high crime rates, and higher costs of living. Students who go to rural schools often complain about being stuck in a "bubble" and not having many options for off campus fun. But more often than not rural schools place a higher emphasis on campus activities and fueling school spirit.
3. Climate and weather influencing your attitude and wardrobe.
Some food for thought if you're thinking about schools up North and you're used to the snowless winters of the South. One of the dirty secrets of college marketing is that you rarely see pictures of a snowy campus in viewbooks from Northern schools. But guess what? Most of the academic school year happens during the coldest months of the year! And schools in places that normally get a lot of snowfall like upstate New York rarely cancel class.
Seasonal affective disorder is also common for students up North since the farther up from the equator you go in the US, the less daylight you have during the academic year. If your dream schools are all up North be sure to invest in some good cold weather gear. Also if you'll be commuting to a school in tundra-like conditions it's a not a bad idea to prep your car for the elements with snow tires, an ice scrape, and shovel.
Photo: b r e n t