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Which College Campus Setting Is Right For You?

Stephen Friedfeld, Ph.D

With the new year underway, now is a great time to start planning your child’s college visits for spring break. To help you narrow down your list of college visits, start by determining which type of campus setting is the best fit for your child. Rural, suburban and urban campuses each have their own advantages so the key is to find which setting best fits your child’s preferences and goals.

Rural Campuses
Rural campuses are located in the country, often near farms and wilderness areas and usually near a small town. Here are things to consider about rural campuses:

• Most rural campuses are self-contained, with a majority of the students living on campus. This can increase a college’s sense of community.
• Rural campuses can provide access to outdoor learning opportunities, particularly in fields like agriculture or environmental science.
• Many rural colleges bring entertainment and social life to their students and provide free events. Comedians and bands may perform on campus during college tours.
• Most rural colleges provide on-campus transportation options, such as buses or shuttles.
• The landscape of rural campuses can vary widely. A rural campus in Ohio, for example, will be much different from a rural campus in Alaska.

Suburban Campuses
Suburban campuses are in small cities, large towns or residential areas near cities. Here are things to consider about suburban campuses:

• Suburbs often combine some of the best features of urban and rural areas.
• Suburban campuses usually offer access to nearby cities and to outdoor activities.
• Suburban colleges are frequently self-contained, which can create a strong sense of community.
• Suburban colleges often have connections to the towns where they are located. This can provide opportunities such as jobs and entertainment.
• Public transportation may be available in addition to the college’s transportation options.

Urban Campuses
Urban campuses are located in cities. Here are things to consider about urban campuses:

• Some urban campuses are spread throughout a city with campus buildings integrated into the city itself while others have a self-contained campus within a city.
• Many urban colleges offer off-campus learning experiences. These may include opportunities to explore the work world through cooperative classes and internships.
• Urban colleges tend to attract culturally diverse students.
• Students can readily find entertainment options — such as museums, concerts and plays — on and off urban campuses.
• Cities usually offer strong public transportation options.

Whether your child may have a preference toward a rural, suburban or urban campus, the best way to determine a campus setting fit is by going on college visits.

(Stephen has 10+ years of admissions experience at Cornell University and Princeton University. He is a founder of AcceptU, an admissions counseling group comprised entirely of former admissions officers from highly selective colleges and universities. For questions or to learn more about AcceptU, contact Stephen (stephen@acceptu.com, 617-424-0700) or visit www.AcceptU.com. )

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