Why is Location of your University in the US important? Image
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Why is Location of your University in the US important?

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Yocket Editorial Team
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While shortlisting universities in the US, a student evaluates a number of factors These include reviews from students & alumni, program curriculum, cost, class strength, etc. Among these factors, a very significant aspect to consider is the location. The location of your college/ university can significantly impact your overall experience. Now, why is location so important? Let’s find out in this article. 

University Locations in the US: Urban, Semi-Urban & Rural Universities

The United States has over 5,000 colleges and universities. They vary in size, the kind of facilities being provided and of course the location.  While some of these are located in a more Urban centre like Los Angeles in California, others are found in small rural college towns like Hanover in New Hampshire.

Before we proceed to discuss the impact of location, let’s learn a little more about the university locations. Based on this classification we can understand the advantages and disadvantages of each one of them in your university selection.

Rural Universities 

These are located in and around the countryside. Since the campuses are far away from the main cities, they are much quieter and students have easy access to several outdoor experiences. 

Some of the best-known rural Universities include:

Penn State University

University of Idaho

Cornell University

University of Virginia

Dartmouth College

Semi-Urban Universities 

Suburban universities lie somewhere in the middle of urban and rural locations. They offer the best of both worlds. Typically located close to big cities, these offer access to both outdoor experiences and entertainment in nearby cities.

Popular suburban universities in the United States are:

Northwestern University

Tufts University

University of Notre Dame

University of Connecticut

Swarthmore College

Stanford University 

Urban Universities

These are located in large cities. They offer students a chance to be a part of the bustling city life and easy access to entertainment. Their campuses are generally either self-contained or spread throughout the city. 

Some well known Urban Universities include:

The University of Chicago

Columbia University

University of Washington

New York University

University of Texas at Austin

4 Ways A University’s Location Can Significantly Impact Student Experience

A student’s choice of university can impact the student in a number of ways. Given below are some of the top ways in which the location of the university is bound to affect a student in a rural, urban or semi-urban setting. 

  1. Job Opportunities

  2. Exposure

  3. Campus

  4. Cost

Let us learn about them one by one -

Job Opportunities

The most important impact of location of the university is on JOBS. Everybody wants a job, right? It could be for various reasons, like to earn money while studying to help pay off some of the crushing debt, to gain experience, to add value to your resume, to stay back in the country, etc.

In general, the availability of jobs tends to be plenty where there are more companies. Since cities have a high density of companies, they usually come with the promise of a large number of jobs, in almost all types of industries. 

Other than big cities, jobs are also available in plenty, near tech or commercial hubs. Since most such hubs are located away from the cities, it is not always necessary that your university should be located in a big city. For example, North Carolina State University (NCSU) is not located near any highly sought-after ‘large cities’ like NYC or LA or Boston or Chicago. Despite this, it is still one of the most favoured universities for Computer Science and related fields. This is because it is located in Raleigh, home to the software hub dubbed as ‘Research Triangle’. A large number of Fortune 100 companies thus recruit students from NCSU. 

Similarly, for subjects like Mining Engineering, having a university near an important mining location would be helpful, and such sites might not exist near a big city.

Therefore, it is important to consider job opportunities around the location of your university. 

University Type

Advantages/ Disadvantages

Rural 

Maybe harder to find internships or part-time jobs unless it’s close to a commercial/ tech hub

Semi-Urban

Available in the nearby urban locations

Urban

Plenty of opportunities in all fields

Exposure

The next important factor is exposure. In a city-based university, the level of exposure you have will be higher as compared to a university in a comparatively rural setting. 

However, this by no means affects the ranking of the universities. Some of the best universities in the world have a rural setting

Also, exposure is just a matter of personal opinion and choice. Some people prefer a fast-paced city setting while others prefer a more laid back environment.

Therefore, consider what kind of exposure you would like before choosing your university.

University Type

Advantages/ Disadvantages

Rural 

Limited exposure with a close-knit community

Semi-Urban

A chance for connecting with the college community and the outside world

Urban

Higher Exposure 

Campus

Next, let us talk about the campus and the environment. The campus size is largely affected by the location of the university. Universities in city settings generally may not have enough space to have a proper ‘gated’ campus.

In urban universities, a campus might consist of scattered buildings or it could be restricted to a smaller piece of land. 

As opposed to this, for universities in a rural setting, a couple of hundred acres of land, a stadium, a football field, an Olympic sized pool, a river of its own, an airport here and there, will just be basic necessities. I’m exaggerating, of course. Or am I?

So, again, make sure you know what kind of experience you want while pursuing your degree and choose accordingly.

University Type

Advantages/ Disadvantages

Rural 

Bigger Campus with more options for  outdoor activities

Semi-Urban

Bigger Campuses with access to city life

Urban

Smaller campuses with limited access to outdoors

Cost

Now, I already discussed above that location affects the kind of jobs you get. Likewise, location also affects your total MS expenditure in the US. It influences how much money you need to pay for your personal expenses, like rent, food, amenities, transport, etc. 

Universities in a rural setting will be less expensive as compared to cities. You might even get a much bigger off-campus room/house for much less rent. Food is also cheaper. Transport costs are cut down a lot since you won’t need to stay very far from campus to lower rent.  

On the contrary, the Universities located in the cities are way more expensive. Therefore, consider the location if cost is an important factor in your university selection.

University Type

Advantages/ Disadvantages

Rural 

Less Expensive in terms of food & rent 

Semi-Urban

Moderately expensive

Urban

Cost of Living is really high

Before wrapping up this article, there remains one last point to be discussed because it is essential for students to know. And that is location of universities on East coast versus West coast -

East Coast vs West Coast  and Weather

The US has two major coasts - East Coast and West Coast. Both these coastal areas vary greatly in terms of weather conditions.

The East Coast comprises cities like NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Hoboken, etc. They have a humid, continental type of climate with four distinct seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn (Fall) and Winter. The temperatures in this part of the country vary highly. Summers can be warm and humid and winters can be cold and snowy.

On the West coast, cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Irvine, etc. are located. The climate here is mediterranean. There is warm, beautiful sunshine all year round. It may rain during the winter, but overall, the climate never disappoints.

Both the coasts have a number of Urban, Semi-Urban and  Rural Universities. Therefore, there are no major advantages/disadvantages of choosing  

Since the climate in India is tropical in nature, a lot of students find it difficult to adjust to the climate (especially on the east coast). If you’re someone who doesn’t respond well to extreme temperatures, take into consideration a location well suited to you.

In conclusion, it is safe to state that the location of your university can make or break your overall experience. Therefore, it is extremely important to take location into consideration before zeroing down on the university of your choice.  Weigh down on each one of the factors above and select that location that suits your needs the best!

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