Urban college vs campus college

<p>I have a bunch of schools on my list which offer about the same academics, but I don't know what I want in my environment. I live in a suburban neighborhood btw...</p>

<p>Should I choose the bustling city with many things to do? Will I get mugged and robbed?! xD Is it more expensive living in the city?</p>

<p>Or should I choose the isolated, clean campus life? I'm told that the college brings entertainment to students.</p>

<p>Any experience/stories with one of the two?</p>

<p>When I think of a school with a bustling city I think of either NYU, Columbia, or Yeshiva and contrary to popular belief, those schools are located in safe neighborhoods so you shouldn't worry about being mugged. It is definitely expensive living in the city. But it all depends on what suits you and the schools in particular you are looking at.</p>

<p>The urban vs. campus-oriented schools have different advantages and disadvantages and what's best depends a lot on what you value:</p>

<p>An urban campus enables you to easily get away from school, class-mates, and the entire 'student life'-you can vanish into the city any time. If you have unusual interests, or want to combine internships with school, it's easy to do in an urban environment (check out the public transportation option though). You can live off campus and share an apartment if you don't like the housing options (and yes, it can be expensive, or more expensive than a dorm, depending on what city we're talking about). Transportation home is likely to be easier/cheaper too-more bus/train/plane options. If you are sick of the food in the cafeteria, there are likely to be lots of other options. And the school's culture, whatever it is, is less likely to be as all-pervasive, which is good or bad depending on your personal fit.</p>

<p>So urban schools are less 'inwardly forcused' than campus-based suburban or rural schools. Students can opt in or out of student life and some, especially seniors, will opt out. Urban schools don't have to do as much to entertain their students-and in fact, student-based entertainment, competes with whatever else is being offered in the city. There is also probably more diversity in your day-to-day environment in terms of age, socio-economic status, race, etc...</p>

<p>The flip side of this (and we're talking opposite extremes here - most schools fall somewhere on the continuum rather than at the extremes) would apply to a school with a campus, especially one that is more isolated. You get a strong, student-focused, student generated culture and almost everyone is vested in campus life to some degree. Students create a lot of their own entertainment - it's likely to be people you know or who know someone you know out there doing the acting/sports/music, etc...which can be a lot of fun. Or the admin brings in the entertainment and lots of people you know are likely to be going to see it. The facilities are often nicer and newer because there's more space to build and the costs of building are lower. And hopefully, the grounds are attractive and have some green and open space, which you may not get with an urban campus unless there's a park nearby. Lots of people talk about the 'bubble' that their campus creates around them. Usually this is disparagingly meant, but I think for someone leaving home for the first time, it can be pretty comforting to be in a more controlled environment with a higher density of familiar faces crossing your path each day.</p>

<p>My final observation would be - and this reflects my bias - you will have the rest of your life to enjoy an urban environment if that's what you want. If you haven't had that traditional college campus experience, this is probably one of your few opportunities to do it. So unless you are escaping an existing bubble, or know for sure that urban is what you want, you may want to give 'the bubble' a try. It's only four years minus any study abroad.</p>

<p>Some urban schools succeed at having an on-campus community and culture more so than others...it's a function of factors like:</p>

<p>-school size
-location of the campus within the city (NYU is in the middle of manhattan, Columbia is way up on the upper west side, it matters whether the nearby distraction is 2 subway stops or 20 subway stops away...)
-the size of the city (smaller cities will have less of a vacuum effect on campus life...paradoxically this makes better cities a worse choice for those looking for a "college" experience
-the degree to which the urban campus has cordoned off a leafy green area within the metropolis (UChicago, Penn, Columbia pull this off very well, and NYU of course has no campus to speak of)</p>

<p>Try to visit several of both kinds, to get a feel for what you prefer. The atmosphere is usually much different, and not everyone likes both.</p>

<p>Here is an article in the New York Times about students coming to NY for college and how it is different from a regular college campus.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/education/edlife/25urban-t.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/25/education/edlife/25urban-t.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I started at a rural college campus school and found it was not the right environment for me so transferred to a city school and loved it. This is a very personal decision that can only be made by you...visit the schools and see where you feel most comfortable. City schools open up a miriad of possibilities but can be more isloating. If you are more the independent type it might be a good fit. Campus schools are more about social groups...frats, sororities, clubs, parties and fitting in. If you are the type that like to hang in groups then the campus school might be more your thing.</p>

<p>If you're looking to combine that urban/campus feel, I'd suggest Johns Hopkins if you're on that sort of academic level. It has its own enclosed campus which provides great atmosphere, yet it's right in the middle of Baltimore. Columbia is this way as well, although Columbia's enclosed campus has a much more urban feel (lots of stone and marble as opposed to grass).</p>

My final observation would be - and this reflects my bias - you will have the rest of your life to enjoy an urban environment if that's what you want. If you haven't had that traditional college campus experience, this is probably one of your few opportunities to do it.


A self-contained college campus, especially a small one, is just about the last vestige of anything like traditional village life in America. Once you graduate, whether you settle down in a city, a suburb, or the countryside, you will pretty much lose this. Very likely you will no longer have the experience of waking up every morning, stepping outside your door, and quickly encountering a familiar person whose company you can enjoy over breakfast or on a long walk across the grass to a common destination. I recommend you seek this out in your 4 short years of college, whether you choose an urban or a rural campus.</p>

<p>ok it seems you guys have established that campus colleges have stronger communities.
But what about the academics? After some research, I've found that small liberal arts colleges assign TONS of work making it very hard to achieve an A, while at larger universities (even the Ivies) may assign a lot of work but make it much easier to get good grades (causing the well known grade inflation). To what extent is this true?</p>

<p>To what extent does it matter if you're concerned about academics? Or rather, I should ask are you concerned about academics, or about getting a high GPA? (for grad school, jobs etc)</p>