Urban or Rural: Which College Setting Suits You?

Finding the right fit for you is what really matters, and that may require you to look beyond the obvious. When it’s time to search for a college, it’s no surprise that the schools in your own backyard are the ones that rise to the surface initially. After all, you may have cheered on their sports teams, had friends who attended these schools, and maybe even driven past them countless times. Students should proceed with caution when making this decision.

“At the University of Maryland, we market our proximity to Washington, DC, because of the opportunities it affords our students and our graduates,” says Annie Reznik, assistant director of admissions at the University of Maryland. “We have a perspective where we are trying to get students to enroll here, but we want the best fit for them.”

So, while a college campus located near or in a large, metropolitan area may be enticing for some, it’s not right for everyone. There are a host of other factors to consider.

Close to the Action

First, what setting makes you most comfortable? If you’re accustomed to an urban environment and you enjoy activities such as shopping, attending concerts, and visiting museums, a college or university located in or near a major city will probably make you happy. There you may also find greater diversity and the convenience of public transportation for getting around town. And, if an internship is in your future, a metropolitan area may present more opportunities. However, security issues are a concern for some students, and big cities often pose a threat, limiting students to fewer activities after dark.

Away from it All

On the other hand, if you’re an outdoor person who loves to connect with nature, easy access to a rural setting will seem quite attractive. Some subject areas, such as forestry, may only be offered in rural areas where students have access to the field. In addition, rural campuses often have a greater connection to the community, and many students find that comforting.

To help make the right decision, visit schools in both settings for a clear picture of what each has to offer. Spend some time on campus, and visit the surrounding area to make sure it has everything you need to call it home.


This article was written by Lori Murray

Freelance writer Lori Murray lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three children. In addition to writing for several national and regional publications, she is an adjunct writing instructor at Columbus State Community College. Lori can be reached through her Web site at www.LoriMurray.com.

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