The Campus Diaries: How to Decide the Best College Grounds for You

students on the field

College is an all-encompassing experience. It’s not just about what classes you take or the prestige of the school you get your degree in—it’s about what happens in the four years that will mold you into the person you’re going to become.

Your grades won’t define you, especially once you’re out in the real world. Of course, having good grades is still important because that can help you land a well-paying job in a renowned field of your choice, but your environment is what shapes you.

Being in a college that is miles away from your comfort zone, which is your hometown, can be a great way to assume responsibility in your life. This is the perfect time to realize what you actually want to do in your life, what you’re passionate about, and what kind of people you want to spend your time with.

It’s also the best time to discover yourself and who you are without the shadow of those with who you grew up. That’s everything and more that you can do in college, which is why choosing a campus that can allow you to do all that is vital to your experience. Here are a few deciding factors that you should consider when you’re choosing a campus:

The Location

Ask yourself if you can manage to live on your own, without your parents constantly hovering to provide you with everything you need or being within walking distance from where you are. These are only some scenarios that you will be in if you choose to study halfway across the country or even the world.

As mentioned earlier, your hometown is your comfort zone; no one ever grows in their comfort zone. If you think that being able to live on your own can give you an advantage in life, then living on a campus that is miles away from home can be a good option for you.

You also need to consider travel expenses, especially during holidays and family events that will require you to go home. Being in a faraway location can be expensive because you will need to spend on airfare, among other things, but that can be a small price to pay in exchange for freedom.

Another thing about the location is where the campus is situated. Is it near any cultural landmarks, art or music scene, or any place in particular that you want to be close to, like the beach? Such factors can also help you choose a campus that will be your home for the next four years.

students in a shared housing

The Housing Options

Since you will no longer be living at home with your family, you get to decide what your housing situation will be like in college. Will you live in an on-campus dorm with roommates, or do you want to get an apartment near campus so that you can live alone?

Living in a dormitory is like a rite of passage for most college students. You will be living with strangers who can become a big part of your future, or they can simply remain as people that you share a room with. Going to communal bathrooms and sharing toilets with random students can be an adventure in itself, especially on days when you’re late to class, and all the showers are full.

If you have more budget for your living situation, you can always look for apartments or units near the campus’s vicinity. This can allow you to truly be independent because you won’t need to have roommates, and it can also let you experience what it’s like to be an adult who pays bills regularly.

The Community

Arguably the most important deciding factor in choosing a campus is the community that resides there. Is the campus known for Greek fraternities and sororities, religious backgrounds, sports, or cultural events? If you find that they are heavy in one aspect, that can help you rule out a few options.

The community inside the campus can make or break your college life. This is because the people living there with you can mold you into the person you’re going to become after graduation, even if they don’t affect you directly.

Another thing that you should consider when choosing a campus is the diversity in the community. Many colleges claim that they are culturally diverse, but not everyone is telling the truth. Being exposed to students from different backgrounds is a great way to experience cultures from all over the world.

Of course, the ultimate deciding factor in choosing a campus is up to you. Whether that’s the quality of education that you will receive, the name of the school you graduate from, or the community that molds your personality for the future. No matter what you choose, make sure that your campus is a place that you will love and will make you happy to be there.

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