As you explore colleges, one thing to look at is the location of the college. The location of the college could have a significant impact on your experience.
Here are terms used to describe college “locations” by definitions:
#1. Major City: Population 300,000 or more: or within a 25 -mile radius of a metropolitan area.
#2. Small/Medium City: Population 75,000 – 299,999 or within a 15-25-mile radius of its metropolitan area.
#3. Large Town: Population 25,000 – 74,999 or within a 10-mile radius of a large town.
#4. Small Town: Population 5,000 – 24,999 or within a 5-mile radius of a small town.
#5. Rural: Population under 5,000, in or near a rural community.
How do you know what will be best for you? You should search for:
#1. Nearest airport.
#2. Nearest large city
#3. Nearest outdoor experiences (beach, mountains, etc.)
#4. Popular student gathering places on campus
#5. Popular student gathering places off campus
#6. Activities available on weekends at the school
#7. Activities available on weekends in the community
#8. Nearest tourist attractions
#9. Movie theaters, bowling, or other recreational activities that may be nearby
#10. Employment opportunities
#11. Your faith community both on and off campus
While doing your research be sure to explore the college’s website and visit their social media pages. Most importantly, look the college up on a map and plan a visit if you have the opportunity.
Not sure which location fits you? Check out “The College Quiz” by Mike Hines, Director of Public Relations at Northeastern Illinois University.
College Town Quiz
This quiz isn’t exactly scientific, but it should help you determine whether the cities and towns in which your favorite schools are located fit you. Let’s find out!
#1. When I picture my classmates in college, I see…
A. Random people sitting at desks around me. There is too much to do outside of class to spend even more time with these people.
B. My go-to study mates and friends for life. These people are totally going to be invited to my wedding!
C. A couple of people I know, but most of my friends from the residence halls are in other classes.
#2. I’m serious about school and earning my degree, but if I’m honest with myself, when it comes to distractions, I…
A. Can control my impulses. Beyoncé was sighted down the street. No biggie. I’ve got to study for a final in the morning.
B. May be easily led astray. Hey, did anyone else just hear an ice cream truck?
C. Know when I can have fun and when I need to buckle down and be serious about my studies.
#3. When I take a walk off campus, I want to…
A. Get lost in the crowd.
B. I don’t understand the question. Why would I ever leave campus?
C. See my university’s logo on flags hanging off every house on the block.
#4. When I want to blow off some steam, I like to…
A. Hop on the subway to attend every street festival and art gallery opening that I can find.
B. Get out in the wilderness. Anyone got a bike I can borrow?
C. Watch football in a stadium with 100,000 of my closest friends. Go, team!
#5. When I’m trying to go to sleep, I want to hear…
A. Buses honking, nightclubs thumping, and streetlights buzzing. I want to know I’m surrounded by humanity and that it’s just on the other side of my door.
B. Absolutely nothing. Fine, maybe some crickets, but those crickets better keep it down after 11:00 p.m.
C. No buses and no sirens, but I’d like a bustling dorm. What’s life in college without hearing intellectuals argue at midnight about which of Franz Kafka’s books is his masterpiece?
If you chose mostly A’s
Hello, big city! You yearn for a college experience where there are four major museums within a 20-minute bus ride, and you can study at diners that stay open—and are packed with customers from all over the world—until 4:00 a.m.
If you chose mostly B’s
It looks like you are interested in a rural college experience, far from the distractions of the big city and the traditional college town. By the time you graduate, you will know the middle names and birthdays of everyone in your graduating class.
If you chose mostly C’s
You appear to be cut out for the classic “college town” experience, where there is more to the city than your university—but just about everything revolves around your school. Are you going to Saturday’s big game? See you there!
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