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Does College Setting Really Matter?

Yes, yes, and yes. Just like in real estate - location, location, location...

Students often don't realize that a college's setting could significantly impact their college satisfaction and whether they will be able to stick it out for 4 years or more.

So, what is the difference between an urban, suburban, and rural setting?

Urban – A campus located in a city landscape. Some advantages include: convenience of restaurants, shops, transportation, entertainment, access to a variety of services. Examples: UCLA, NYU, Boston University, Harvard

Suburban – A campus located in a residential community near cities of considerable size. Some advantages include: generally quieter, less traffic, more relaxed surrounding community, easy access to local cities and towns.

Examples: Stanford, Chapman University, Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo

Rural – A campus located primarily in an area devoid of a local non-college community at a significant distance from even a small city or suburb. Some advantages include: Many activities organized on-campus, quiet study environment, large numbers of students live on-campus, many outdoor activities.

Examples: Bowdoin, Dartmouth, Colgate

So, if you can't take your teen to tour all of the colleges he or she will be applying to, perhaps you can take them to colleges in your local area that can be described as urban, suburban, and rural. Even though it's not the exact same thing, they can get a general idea. It is often a difficult transition for a student to go from rural to urban and vice versa.

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