How do I decide between a college in a city vs. one in a smaller town?

Where do you picture spending your college years? Would a city or small town suit you better?

Several factors come into play here. Ask yourself:

How do you prefer to spend your time outside of class? Do you want easy access to outdoor activities in terms of organized clubs and recreational opportunities or would you rather be going to restaurants and shops when you’re not in class?

Is a traditional college campus with an open quadrangle area how you envision college or are high-rise buildings and public transportation more appealing to you?

Is a strong sense of community important to you? If so, you may prefer a smaller college where the lives of students are centered on campus, rather than a college in a large city, where students live all over the area and may not spend as much of their free time on campus.

What is your comfort level with new experiences and what are your expectations about college life? If you are from a small town, is the idea of a big city with its fast pace and bustling crowds exciting or terrifying to you? If you are from a big city, does the idea of a small town with a close-knit community and frequent interactions with fellow students and professors outside of class sound wonderful or unappealing to you?

How are your money management skills? Going to college in a city gives you many more opportunities to spend your hard-earned cash; this can be a positive or a negative factor in your decision as to college setting. On the other hand, if you’re planning to work part-time during college, a larger city might provide more opportunities than a smaller town.

If you can’t decide between the two options, look for colleges in suburban areas near a city, as these may offer the best of both worlds.


I really loved all the schools we visited, and plan on applying to all four of them. I could see myself being happy attending any of them, they all seem like fantastic options for me. Thank you so much for directing me to these colleges which seem like great matches for me in terms of what I want in a school.