College location: Rural, Urban or College Town?

College location: Rural, Urban or College Town?

A college’s setting can have a significant impact on your life as a student.

Rural Campus: At rural colleges, the campus itself functions as the focal point for the academic, social, and extracurricular scene. The tight-knit community that forms on many rural campuses is what attracted Evan Lambert to Dartmouth College. “The relatively insular campus created the opportunity to become closer with the other students,” he says. “You are forced to stay within the campus, and it gives you a closer group of friends.” Because rural campuses do not have the luxury of a city in close proximity, the student body tries to bring entertainment to campus. As Lambert explains, “The programming board and student council have a lot of activities for students all the time.”

Urban Campus: In cities, traditional college culture (dorm life, frat parties, and football games) coexists with the external urban settings. Students have to be up for the challenge of using the city to make the most of their undergraduate experience. Take Lisa Tauber, a 2007 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. As Tauber explains, “It was important to have a culture outside and in addition to what is considered the college culture.” An aspiring music journalist, she interviewed and wrote about the major bands that came through Philadelphia. As a Manhattan native, the streets of Philadelphia seemed like a natural choice for Tauber. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” she proudly concludes.

College Town: In a college town, one can usually find coffee shops, bookstores, cheap eats, student-centric bars, and football game-day celebrations. UC Berkeley’s charm is what enhanced Lauren Stern’s college experience. Berkeley has a concentrated social scene where “all of the Greek and co-op life is mostly in one place. The fact that Berkeley is not a commuter school allows for more socializing with peers on the weekends.” At the same time, Berkeley provides its undergraduates with a window to the outside world. As Stern explains, “The city of Berkeley has a lot of volunteer programs for helping the homeless community, and everything is relatively close or easily accessible by public transportation.”