Big vs. Small, Urban vs. Rural: Consider College Campuses - Fastweb

Big vs. Small, Urban vs. Rural: Consider College Campuses

By Bridget Kulla

June 04, 2008

Big vs. Small, Urban vs. Rural: Consider College Campuses Big vs. Small, Urban vs. Rural: Consider College Campuses

Urban Schools vs. Rural Schools

Which do you prefer, falling asleep to the sound of honking taxis or the chirps of crickets? College will be your home for the better part of four years, so make sure you’ll like where you’ll be living.

Rural schools:


  • Easier access to wilderness areas, outdoor recreational areas
  • A strong sense of community
  • School tends to be the center of academic and social life


  • Not as many activities, students have limited options for social activities
  • Fewer options for internships
  • Less access to airports and highways
  • More limited shopping options

For some majors, attending a rural campus makes sense academically. Studying forestry or agriculture, for example, isn’t practical in an urban setting.

Some students prefer the quieter atmosphere rural campuses offer. “It is nice and quiet so it allows you to concentrate on what you need to … You always feel part of a group because everyone waves at you and says hi. However, because of small size, rumors spread easily,” says Jerica Collins, a student at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

Urban schools:


  • Opportunities for cultural and learning activities
  • Wide variety of internship opportunities
  • Public transit makes a car unnecessary
  • A wide variety of social activities available
  • Greater diversity of neighborhoods and activities


  • Expensive
  • Security more of an issue
  • Little access to outdoor/nature activities
  • May lack traditional campus features like quads and ivy-covered buildings

* Abundant distractions

Keep in mind, urban campuses vary greatly. Some, like Occidental College in Los Angeles, have small campuses, while others, like UCLA, have large campuses spread out over many blocks. Some urban campuses are close to downtown areas, while some are set aside in their own “island” in the city. These differences affect your experience on campus.

“I love the fact that I live in New York City to attend college so I get more of a cultural learning experience … My college experience isn’t a typical one, the city helps me become more independent and ready for the ‘real world’,” says Jennifer Kachler, a student at the School of Visual Arts.

College size and location are personal preferences. Ask yourself what atmosphere makes you most comfortable. Visit campuses and talk to students to get a better sense of what life there is like.

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