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Committing to a college town

Graphic of a view of the city from a country road

Libby Harrington
September 22, 2017

When choosing a university, one thing to keep in mind is that you are also choosing to become a resident of the town or city where your school is located. Even if a college campus is fairly self-contained, the surrounding location will have an impact on you as a student at some point. Some questions to ask yourself before making the jump to a new location are as follows: 

What size city works best for me?

Universities and colleges come in all shapes and sizes. Some are located in urban settings with city life right at the doorstep, and others are located in rural areas with lots of open space to explore. A college in a rural area might be a great choice for students who enjoy the outdoors and want to be a part of a close-knit community. Those who prefer a relaxed setting may also be interested in this type of community. In many cases, these schools also have strong ties to the towns in which they are located, which can lead to job, internship and social opportunities.

Campuses in an urban setting can be self-contained or integrated into the city. In many cases, a big-city location will give students the opportunity to interact directly with the surrounding community and feed off its energy. Students also might have access to public transportation and many opportunities for networking, jobs and internships. Something will always be going on in the surrounding city, giving access to a wide range of experiences.

What opportunities will I want off campus?

If you’re looking to get an off-campus job or internship, then it might be pertinent to look into the prominent industries near each institution. This is also important when looking into what outlets you will want. Big into creative arts? You’ll want to find a school that has performing arts centers and a creative community. Studying marine biology? Look for a school with a large body of water nearby for fieldwork and hands-on experience. The surrounding community can go hand in hand with your field of study as well as your hobbies and interests.

Will I want to stick around after I graduate?

When students attend college, some dig in and create roots, while some are in the mindset of “I’m here for a good time, not a long time.” If your major requires an internship or other job experience in the area, that may be a pathway to a local career after graduation. Networking and building your new home base can begin as soon as you arrive in your college town. But college is also a time when you can theoretically live anywhere and try out a new city for a brief period of time. Committing to college does not mean you will be stuck in that part of the country forever!

However long you choose to stay, committing to a college also means committing to the community the college is in. Make the most of the experience!

Libby Harrington 

is a junior Human Services major with a minor in Political Science. She's an out-of-state student from New Jersey but started her college adventure in Colorado, and she is loving every minute of it!