Choosing A College: Urban Or Rural?

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In my last blog post, I talked about how to choose a college in the East or West coast. If you have got that down, now it’s time to start thinking by scale: urban or rural?

First, just to clarify, urban means areas with a high population density (50,000 or more), such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., or Philadelphia. Rural means anything outside of what would be called a city; the smaller towns.

From the time we’re little, we usually know which we prefer: a bustling city full of life and commotion, or a quiet, wide open space with room to breathe. Our parents usually decide where we live, though, and some of us never have the opportunity to travel and experience a different type of living. Determining the type of environment you want to live in is as important as determining which study method works for you. If you’re unhappy, it can affect your grades, and eventually career and internship opportunities.

So, before you decide on a college, consider these factors that go beyond the school itself:

1. Transportation

If you don’t have a car, public transportation may be necessary. Check to see what the school has to offer and how far things are for walking distance.

Bus Stop Transportation

Photo © Seattle Municipal Archives

2. Entertainment

When you live in the country, a trip into the city is just that, a trip. Museums, shopping, and concerts are all typically in the city. Entertainment can be harder (but not impossible) to find in a rural area.

Shopping Boutique Stores

Photo © dawn.v

3. Hobbies

You’ll find a huge range of outdoor activities in rural settings. Some smaller towns have a great sense of community involvement, which can be a comforting feeling, especially if you’re far from actual family.

Outdoor Basketball Hobby

Photo © mydogbeasley

4. Privacy and Safety

In the city, apartment windows often directly face another apartment’s windows. There’s no “view,” and consequently, no sense of privacy. Cities do also tend to have higher crime levels.

City Apartment Window View

Photo © Franki47

5. Internships

Most internships and jobs are in the city. It’s a trade-off; while you may not be able to have both the country life and a great internship, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be able to pick and choose later.

Girl in City Office Internship

Photo © Internshipeurope

It might be a good idea to make a list of what’s important to you in your choice of colleges. If you can, try to visit the area you’re considering before making the actual move.

Good luck!

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