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How important is location when choosing a college?

 

There are many factors to think about when you are selecting a college.  This is the third in a series of articles that will address several factors that students can consider when making this very important decision.  It's not like a checklist, but at some point all of these qualities or factors should be considered as a part of the college selection process, in that students are consciously deciding what it is they want in a school.  This one is a biggie - location.

First consider, how important LOCATION is as a deciding factor.  Is WHERE you go to college, more important than the overall quality of the school? Than cost? Than academic offerings?  Do you want to attend a school close to home, within a hour or two? Or are you willing to consider schools within a day's drive, four to six hours from home? Perhaps, the sky is the limit; you are willing to travel virtually anywhere?

 

Second, revisit your knowledge of geography. Select a particular region you would like to attend, or at least consider attending college.  Remember that you are choosing your academic environment for four or more years, not going on vacation.  Pull out a US map.  Look at the various areas of the United States and think about what regions of the country are more appealing to you.  You may choose certain regions because of the climate, friends or family who live in certain areas, ease of travel to and from certain regions.  Here is a list of US regions to jog your brain, (roughly West to East):

Pacific Coast Region

Rocky Mountain Region

Southwestern Region

Midwestern Region

Southern Region

Middle Atlantic Region

New England

 

The next decision in regards to location is choosing a college that is in a city, a suburban area, or in a small town or rural community. 

  • A college in a major city allows you to take advantage or it's many amenities, including art museums, extensive shopping and even professional sporting events. Coffee shops and eateries may be minutes from your dorm room. A college in the middle of a city is something unique and bustling.

  • Schools that are considered "suburban" will be located fairly close to large cities, and have access to many of the bonuses, but will enjoy a campus with distinct feel that enjoys open, grassy areas, a "quad," and oftentimes, an identity and spirit separate from the city.

  • Colleges located in small or rural communities may offer a more serene or relaxed setting. Such colleges may be one to two hours from major cities. Typically, towns in which these colleges are located are very supportive of students and interact warmly with them, even catering their services to students. Colleges further away from metropolitan areas tend to make greater efforts to bring entertainment to campus, providing concerts, speakers and events for low-cost. 

These are three aspects are "location" summarized briefly.  You may decide you want a college in a colder climate so you can snowboard in the winter months, or you may choose a college that is more than five hours from home because you don't want your parents visiting you every weekend.  These are all decisions based on location.  Choose carefully, as you are also choosing your academic home, and the place you are living for the next four to six years!  There are many considerations in selecting a college, but location is certainly an important factor to consider.

 

If you enjoy this series, sign up to be notified when there are updates to the website. Happy College Shopping!

 

 

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