One of the biggest problems I had when I first started looking at colleges was that I wasn’t sure what kind of environment I wanted. Without visiting a lot of colleges, it’s hard to know whether or not you’d be happier at a huge school in a city or a tiny liberal arts college in a small town!
The best way to decide what you might like is to visit a few different campuses and think about where you see yourself best. That being said, I toured a wide variety of schools (small, big, urban) and I thought I wanted a small school in a great college town. I ended up at a university with 30,000+ students that’s in the middle of a state capital!! Now, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.
RELATED: My College Decision
A lot of other people I know went through the same process as me and ended up at a school where they (originally) could never picture themselves. This College Profiles series will act as a guide to help outline the pros and cons of some different college settings. I hope that you’ll be able to get a sense of what kind of university you’d be happiest at. This series will also share the reasons why some of my friends chose the college they did!
First off, Emily is my amazing roommate (!!) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. USC is a large public institution with 33,000 students. Emily’s major is currently undecided.
Why did you choose your school? I really
loved the campus, specifically the Horseshoe with its trees and beautiful lawns. I was looking for a big school with lots of options for when I declare my major. At the same time, I did not want to feel overwhelmed in an enormous group of undergraduate students. Being a part of the Honors College here is a perfect combination. I enjoy being part of a smaller population with the resources and opportunities of a large institution. The warmth of the South was also a strong pull for me, as I’ve spent most winters hibernating in Pennsylvania.
What’s the surrounding area like? Do you like it? Columbia, although a state capital, is a relatively small city. It is urban without being overwhelming. Surrounding businesses also have a lot to offer and contribute to the community of the University of South Carolina. I love the city of Columbia, and an important factor in selecting a school for me was not being isolated in the middle of nowhere.
If you could change one thing about your school what would it be? Why? The stadium is about two miles from our campus. I wish it was closer to campus because then game days would be a lot different. I was at Clemson for a football game, and because of the proximity of their stadium, the whole campus was buzzing with excitement. Here, however, the campus is dead on game days. I would love to be able to walk out of my dorm and see families tailgating and ready to win.
What’s your favorite thing about your school/location? My favorite thing about my school is my friends. This sounds very cheesy, but there is nothing as important about a college experience as the people you surround yourself with. College is seriously what you make out of it, and having friends alongside you will certainly shape that. No matter where you end up, your school selection will not really determine your college experience—you will.
Abby is a freshman at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. Marymount Manhattan is a small liberal arts college with about 2,000 students. She’s pursuing a BFA Dance major with a concentration in Jazz.
How do you think your college experience is different because you’re in New York City? My college experience in a big city is different in multiple ways. One of the most significant being that we don’t actually have a campus. There is a dorm building and a few buildings for classes, but everything is interwoven into the city. I pass Bloomingdales and Dylan’s Candy Bar every day when I walk to school, and sometimes I even take the subway to and from school.
Another thing that sets my college experience apart is the accessibility of my location. I can literally get to any place in New York City from where my school is (Midtown) by taking the subway or catching a cab. I have taken field trips for my classes to Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and the City Center theater. This definitely submerges me into New York’s culture in a way that makes me feel less like a college student and more like an average New Yorker.