7 Reasons Why Location Matters When Choosing A College

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  • Travel costs. This is a hidden cost that many students and parents don’t take into consideration, but flying (or driving) across the country, or even just across your region, more than a few times a year adds up quickly. If you want to visit home more frequently than just the summer, consider travel expenses (gas can add up too) and their impact on your financial future. Make a plan ahead of time with your family and decide how important it is for you to easily travel home, and how many visits you want to be able to afford.
  • Internship access. Campuses located in more isolated locations might not have access to the businesses or organizations that offer the internships you’re interested in. Consider both the available resources on your chosen campus and the town or city you’re moving to. If it matters to have access to the New York fashion scene, then choosing a school in rural Iowa might not be right. However, the inverse can be just as true -- maybe you’re interested in studying agriculture or forestry and New York City might not be the ideal place to find your dream internship or job shadow opportunity. Match your academic interests to the place you’re moving and think ahead. Which leads us to our next consideration...
  • Future job market. It might not seem important before you’re starting college to decide where you’ll want to find a job when you’re done, but considering the job market of the region you’re moving to might be wise. This has more to do with geography and regional resources and less to do with specific cities, but making connections (academic, personal or professional) in a region that you don’t want to live later might limit your options after graduation.
  • How you spend your time outside of class. Think about what you want to do in your free time. Do you want to be hanging out in the quad with your friends, or seeing the newest indie film? Would you rather go to art museums or see a local sports team? Making sure the place you’re moving has access to the activities you most enjoy is key to enjoying your time outside the classroom.
  • Climate. Branching out to a new region is always adventurous (and often a great opportunity to explore another part of the country), but make sure you know what you’re signing up for. If you’re moving to a location that’s considerably different than where you grew up, check typical weather patterns for the year, and do what you can to visit. Experiencing the climate ahead of time, even if just for a few days, can help you recognize what’s realistic, what’s exciting and what you might want to avoid.
  • Campus community. Would you rather have a campus as your main community, or have the option to go outside of it for other experiences? A small campus in a rural location might offer lots of immediate community, but fewer outside options, while an urban campus might encourage more participation in other communities but feel less cohesive in your immediate surroundings.
  • Cost. In-state is often considerably cheaper, but students aren’t always aware of inter-collegiate exchanges that can make taking classes at other colleges (like the Five College Consortium) or applying to schools in neighboring states (like the Western University Exchange program) significantly less-expensive.