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Oct 18th 2017

What Is Right For You: Small-Town College or City College?

A different college experience could mean anything, but it would likely point to the location. And your whereabouts should make a huge difference. Imagine the town where your college would be found. Your nightlife is limited to a few options, which should be a mixed blessing. (You want a balance between your studies and social life, but you don't want to stretch your budget.) On the other hand, the big city never sleeps at all. This could pose lots of challenges. You have a dilemma.

If you grow up in the country, then you're likely to pick a small-town college. The same thing applies to someone who has not ventured beyond the outskirts of the metropolis. (It wouldn't apply to those who travel to other countries, though.) It's no longer the case for many college students nowadays. It has nothing to do with the 21st century, not even political correctness pervading pop culture. It happens, but some have other reasons. (Studying in Europe can be more rewarding than backpacking in the continent for a month or two.) There are an upside and downside to it.

The money will play a major part in your decision unless you want to make the most out of your college experience. It could be the highlight of your teenage years, and there may not be a better time to make a bold step. You need to weigh your options.

The Perks of Being a Small-Town (or City) College Student

Why Small-Town College?

You'll meet genuine people. If you'll end up in the middle part (of America), then you might be looked upon a snob from the big city. (If you have seen a few episodes of "Northern Exposure", then you should know what to expect upon your arrival.) The awkward stage would be a brief one, as the straightforward attitude will disarm you sooner than you think. You'll turn sentimental about it, which can help you manage the coursework better. And you'll be lucky that these same people will help you lead to your first job after graduation. A city college won't give you that kind of assurance, even if it's an Ivy League campus.

You'll become a well-rounded teenager. There's a high probability of befriending other students from other colleges. They have different specializations, and it can rub off you during your conversations with them. It can help you. (You can memorize the names of secondary characters from popular titles in Modern literature instead of the elements in the periodic table.) Your social skills will improve further. (In other words, you're less likely to end up as a literary snob.)

The outdoors has benefits. If you're suffering from writer's block, then you can take a long walk. Fresh air will invigorate your spirits while the verdant (or colorful) surroundings will help you resolve to finish whatever task you must do for the day. You won't get the same effects after looking at the skyscrapers for an hour or two.

Why a City College?

Homesickness won't be an issue at all. There are too many distractions, even parties you can't turn down. You'll even find the time to go places. This might pose a serious problem to your coursework, such that you can miss a deadline to your assignment. If you set your priorities straight, then this won't be a problem. Furthermore, you'll be foolish to let your social life take a backseat.

Comfort food won't be a problem. The stress of the coursework can get to you, so it will be natural to eat something. (Pizza is the first choice while ice cream won't be far behind.) Metabolism isn't an issue among teenagers, but obesity can happen if you've been spending sitting for hours. It's a good thing that the city gives lots of time for walking. (The subway is another one, but it also involves lots of walks.) And it's a convenient activity. If you do this often, then you don't have to worry about love handles. (As if a 2,000-word essay isn't enough.)

There are job opportunities if you look around. The serious student must be thinking about the future. If you're one of those students, then you'll ask the Careers Office (in your college). You can start with an internship, where you can ask about payment first. Don't feel gutted when you end up with a nonpaying internship. (The experience will count most, which will make your resume stand out from the others.) You can also look for a part-time job, but don't be hooked to it. Bigger things are coming to you, but your part-time (work) experience will give you a huge advantage during the job-hunting phase.

Look at the Bigger Picture

After you get through those medley of cheesy songs, then you realize something. Your college years delay the inevitable world of work, which you haven't been paying attention while your parents are talking about it at the dining table. You'll feel ashamed about it, but it would be a moment. And you don't have to be dramatic about it.

This small-town college vs. city college issue may represent a new shift in education. Many teens want the best experience, if not a different one that can make an impact in their chosen career. It's fine if you're not thinking along that line, as you're thinking about making friends. But pay attention to the cost. Make sure that the proximity will allow you to do other things (and you'll seek advice on this matter). If you're uncertain about it, then take a leap. There are risks that will turn out to be good choices, and you'll never know it if you don't find it out.

Your selection shouldn't be a rash decision. Look at it over, if not do a campus visit ahead of Freshers Week.

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