Choosing Your College Town
Moving to a different country is, undeniably, very scary. The U.S. has 5 geographic regions to choose from and they are all vastly different. Here's a few things to consider about the college town you may be living in when trying to find the right fit for you.
Each college campus is going to be slightly different as some are located in big cities and others are located in more rural areas. Each will provide its own set of pros and cons that need to be considered. Colleges come in all sizes so we are going to break down what these differences may look like! Check out the Carnegie Classification showing how university sizes are defined.
Big City vs. Rural Town
As mentioned above, the U.S. has 5 geographic regions that will all vary widely with the season, culture, program offerings (relative to location), and more. Here's what you need to know about living in a larger city or more rural town – regardless of region. When living in a larger, more populous, cities you will generally rely on public transportation more than one would in a small town. Public transportation can be difficult to navigate for some, especially if running late to class, so you must be sure to plan appropriately and give yourself plenty of time for any traffic delays. Attending school in a smaller town will still have traffic delays, but you may not need to rely on public transportation as much as you will likely be able to have your car on campus. Larger cities also have the option of easily walking to most destinations, whereas that is not always true for small towns. Many smaller towns will have grocery stores and restaurants but they may not be easily walked to and driving your car or riding with a friend may be the best solution.
Larger cities provide an abundance of networking, internship, and career opportunities given the volume of people you will come into contact with. Many view large cities as home to creativity and innovation which can provide a valuable jump start to your future. There will generally be more diversity in large cities which will allow you to expand your understanding of the world around you and deepen your network. Rural towns also have great relationships to offer, even if your network may not expand as rapidly. Smaller, more tight-knit, communities allow you to form more rich connections with your surrounding community which also lead to very valuable opportunities for your future. In either city you can certainly find great connections and networking opportunities.
The day-to-day life is another consideration when choosing what type of community is right for you. Larger cities will often have more entertainment opportunities and more of a "night life" that many students may partake in. More diversity means more cultural celebrations and opportunities to explore. Smaller towns tend to be more quiet and not have much of a "night-life". Some students may find they can focus on their academics easier when living in a small college-town, while others thrive on the hustle and bustle of city life. An important question to ask yourself is in which environment would you thrive? Do you get distracted easily when there's commotion going on outside of your dorm room or do you prefer quiet and serene surroundings?
Large University vs. Small University
The sizes of universities similarly relates to the size of cities. Large universities will often offer many opportunities to network with a high volume of people and experience many different perspectives and cultures. They will sometimes be centrally located to provide top-tier internship and or career opportunities; however, smaller universities can still be centrally located and provide similar opportunities for students.
The important thing to remember when looking at college size is that even a school with a smaller student population can still offer larger lecture classes (these will usually be introductory courses), and universities with larger student populations can also offer smaller class opportunities. For example, many universities with a larger student body will offer a "recitation", or follow-up class to review the material in a smaller class setting that still allows for more detailed discussion and review. Another important factor to understand is the makeup of a school's student population. They can be a "large" university, but most of their student population be graduate or undergraduate students . Be sure to understand the makeup of the school's population and ensure it's matches with your goals before deciding where to attend.
EdAgree partners with U.S. universities of all sizes and locations. Check out three universities that all have varying sizes, locations, and offerings here: Highline Community College, University of Oregon, and Hope College. More universities to explore on our platform – we will find the right fit for you!
EdAgree exists to help you identify your path to academic success at a U.S. college or university. We want to help you present your best self during the admissions process, and additional support throughout study abroad, and beyond! Including helping you identify accessible options that fit you and your needs as a student.