If you’re planning on going to a physical college, then you’ve got to spend some time contemplating the college campuses. What do you want from them? How much do you really care about the place where you’re going to be studying?
If you’re not sure whether or not to go to a physical college or to use online college courses, then you’ve still got to ask yourself the same questions. Would you miss having an actual campus to walk around on? Would you rather not have to deal with the complications of a physical campus?
For students just getting started in their thinking about college, here are some key questions you should be asking yourself about college campuses.
1. City, suburb, or rural area: do I care?
Colleges exist all around the country and the world, and you can find one wherever you want. So where do you want to find one? If the campus was in the middle of the city, would you be happy? What if it was in the middle of a pristine, totally empty wilderness? Think about whether you want to be in a city, a suburb, a rural area, or anything in between…or even if you care at all.
2. What facilities do I need?
If your campus doesn’t have a gym, are you going to be unhappy? If your campus doesn’t have a pool, are you going to go mad for lack of a place to swim? Especially when, depending upon where you are, you can find facilities of nearly any nature you want at a very high caliber, off campus. So what do you need to have on campus, and how good do those facilities need to be, for you to be content attending school there?
3. Do the amenities and extras matter?
Lots of campuses bear with them bonuses that don’t necessarily scream utility or importance. Natural areas through which you can hike, for instance, or underground tunnels between buildings to allow for easy traveling. Think about whether those things are just nice touches, or there’s anything that you actually care about that doesn’t directly relate to your lifestyle.
4. What’s the Goldilocks size?
Do you want to be on an enormous college campus, spread out over a vast stretch of territory? Or do you want to be on a nice, close knit campus where you can easily walk to any other building in 10 minutes? How many people are you interested in having on campus? Those’re all questions about the size of the school, and it’s important to figure out the size that’s just right for you.
5. Through rain or sleet or snow…?
If you’re going to a physical campus, then you’re going to have to deal with all those other pesky qualities of physical reality like, y’know, the weather. Consider this one heavily, because if you go to a college campus for your education, you’re probably going to be there for a substantial portion of the year, and you’re going to be dealing with the weather as it changes throughout the seasons. Can you deal with massive piles of snow? Or sweltering terrible heat? Humidity? Terrible rainstorms? The weather you’d be most comfortable with might play a huge factor in determining the region of the country that you’re going to look at for college.
6. Can I stand to look at these buildings?
It may seem trivial, really, but keep in mind that if you’re going to apply for a traditional on-campus 4 year college program, then you’re going to be looking at the same structures for the next 4 years. Do you find the architecture on campus ugly as sin? Or do you find the buildings to be beautifully constructed marvels of building-art? It can make a huge difference to your overall satisfaction with your life on campus.
7. How the heck can I get around?
This one goes part and parcel with the size of the campus and the nature of the extras. How are you going to actually navigate the campus? Just walking? Do you have to drive? Are you going to need to bike? How you get around is going to determine the day in, day out activity of your life on campus, so it’s important to keep in mind. If you need a car and you can’t afford it or the insurance, then that campus might not be the best choice. If biking everywhere doesn’t interest you, then maybe you should stay away from campuses where that’s going to be the key way to navigate paths and sidewalks.
8. Am I going to do stuff here?
One of the primary advantages of physically being on campus is that you can actually take advantage of activities that happen in and around the campus. When your college brings a speaker on campus, you can just pop on down to the auditorium and listen in. When there’s a cool concert in the college pavilion, it’s just a hop skip and a jump away to enjoy some good music. But if you’re never going to take advantage of any of these on campus activities, then you’ve really got to ask yourself if it’s worth it to go to a college campus that has them, or to go to a college campus at all.
9. How are the dorms?
It’s possible that you might attend a physical college campus while commuting, but there’s a pretty decent likelihood that you’re going to actually be on campus, living in a dormitory. So it’s incredibly important that you take a look at the dorms, and decide what’s important to you. Do they need to have air conditioning? Do they need to have nice bathrooms? What about the rooms, what do they have to have for you to be content? Think carefully about this one: you’re going to be living in these places! And if you’re not happy with the on campus dorms, make sure you consider whether or not you can live off campus.