Choosing your best-fit school is just like choosing a home: it’s all about location, location, location. Where do you see yourself living and studying for the next few years? In a lively city that never sleeps? The comfort of your own home? Here are a few examples of the learning environments that may make your list.
Imagine studying in a large city like NYC, Los Angeles, Boston or D.C. Not only would you be discovering a new school, you’d be discovering a whole new culture. Huge libraries, museums, concert venues and restaurants are all at your disposal. Loud noises, crowds and cars everywhere are not so much noise, but the soundtrack to your college life.
Studying in a large city positively affects your earning potential as well, by about 15 percent. Why? Money.com reports that employers tend to recruit locally for internships, and internships tend to lead to well-paying jobs.
The suburbs house campuses that tend to attract commuters. Commuters may live off campus for many reasons, but in most cases, it comes down to the cost savings. The average cost per year of room and board is $10,440 at public colleges and $11,890 at private colleges. Commuter schools can also have a large amount of students who live on campus, so those students who live hours away are given first priority with housing.
Fortunately, there is no need to worry about feeling like an outsider with your classmates. Colleges with a large number of commuters tend to invest in making their students feel welcome by holding events during class hours to kill time between classes and hosting clubs and events to foster social interaction.
Rural campuses are away from both the hustle and bustle of the city and the cookie cutter houses of the suburbs. The peace and quiet of a rural campus can help students feel focused and calm. In fact, research has shown that spending just 15 minutes in nature can help people feel more creative and less stressed. These universities tend to be smaller in physical size and population, so students feel more connected with one another and the local community that surrounds them.
You may not be physically in school, but that does not mean you aren’t in a collaborative learning environment. Many people choose to earn their degree online because they need flexibility for attending classes and completing coursework while they continue to work; the U.S. News & World Report found that 84 percent of online bachelor’s students are earning their degree while employed. Health-related professions are the most popular for online learning, with 31 percent of online students taking on health care as a major.
Your choice in learning environment is all about your needs as a student. It depends on your personality and comfort level, so follow your intuition when you go on a campus tour or research a program. If you can’t see yourself taking classes from home or living in the city for several years, you’ll want to consider that factor when making your final college choice.