Deciding how to pick a college is extremely stressful. I still remember my senior year of high school, when I was frantically applying to schools, writing essays, and visiting campus’ nationwide. A huge part of my decision was whether to attend a traditional state school or a big city school.
In the end, I ended up choosing a city school, and now attend university in Chicago, IL! While I love the choice I ended up making, I wish I would’ve had someone to tell me the pros/cons of attending a city school beforehand. Without further ado, let’s explore how to pick a college.
How to Pick a College: Is a Big City Right for You?
The Good Things About College in a Big City
First, let’s talk about the good things that come along with attending a big city school. I could probably go on for hours because I love my school + big cities so much 😉
Fast + Fun Lifestyle
Living in a big city honestly never gets boring. There is never a time where I feel like there is nothing to do because I can always hop on the train/get an Uber and go downtown. Living in a city means that there is constantly concerts to attend, museums to visit, etc.
The diversity you get to experience when living in a big city is probably my most favorite part. Not only are people from all different walks of life, but also all different ages, etc. Attending college in a big city is like sharing your college experience with a million other people, all somewhat different than yourself. This is awesome, for me, because there are always new things to learn and new people to meet.
I really think that attending college in a big city like New York or Chicago is for a certain type of person. Because city schools have a lot of commuter students, the campus itself can sometimes feel dead. This sometimes forces me (and other students) to go back to our apartments, or “do our own thing.”
Basically, living in a city has made me feel like I am a lot more independent than other people my age. I don’t really see my university as my home base while in college, but just a place I go to attend classes.
Growth + Opportunities
Perhaps the most valuable part of attending school in a city is the multitude of opportunities, internships, mentors, and career choices available to you.
Almost everyone I know that attends my school has had at least one internship in their undergraduate years. Because you are in such a buzzing location, opportunities for your career + personal growth are constantly presenting themselves. There are also tons of creative and up-and-coming people/businesses in big cities, which I love!
The Bad Things About College in a Big City
Like anything, there are some downsides to attending school in a big city. It’s a give and take!
Not So Typical
I’m not even sure if I would consider this a negative or not, but attending college in a big city is going to be completely different than anything you ever imagined university to be. Nothing you have seen from movies/media growing up will really correlate to what attending a big city school is like.
For example, at my school at least, greek life (sororities and fraternities) are not big. A very small percentage of undergraduate students at my school are involved in greek life, where some state schools have a majority of students involved.
There is also no football team at my school, as I previously mentioned, so I don’t get to attend stereotypical college game-day parties or tailgates.
Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of pride about where I attend school. However, I feel like it’s a lot different than the “in your face” pride that I see at other schools. Because we don’t have huge sports teams, our school spirit is a little less apparent, and it can feel a little isolating at times. There is definitely still school spirit at city schools, but it is expressed in very different ways than more traditional schools.
I only lived in the dorms of my college for my freshman year. After that, it was apartment living for me. The truth is, a lot of universities cannot accommodate the large number of students that they attract because space is limited in big cities. Because of this, a lot of students live in apartments/houses throughout the city and have to commute to school.
Oh, how I miss my freshman days and being able to roll out of bed and be across campus in class 10 minutes later 🙂
Do you have any other tips on how to pick a college?