Campus Setting: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Find the right college for you.

two students outside

Which Is Right for You?

One of the steps in finding the right college for you is deciding what type of campus setting you prefer. Rural, suburban and urban campuses all have different advantages. The key is to find which setting will allow you to make the most of your college experience.

Rural Campuses

Rural campuses are located in the country, often near farms and wilderness areas and usually near a small town. Here are things to consider about rural campuses:

  • Most rural campuses are self-contained, with a majority of the students living on campus. This can increase a college’s sense of community.
  • Rural campuses can provide access to outdoor learning opportunities, particularly in fields like agriculture or environmental science.
  • Many rural colleges bring entertainment to their students and provide free events. Comedians and bands may perform on campus during college tours. 
  • Most rural colleges provide on-campus transportation options, such as buses, for students.
  • The landscape of rural campuses can vary widely. A rural campus in Ohio, for example, will be much different from a rural campus in Alaska.

Suburban Campuses

Suburban campuses are in small cities, large towns or residential areas near cities. Here are things to consider about suburban campuses:

  • Suburbs often combine some of the best features of urban and rural areas.
  • Suburban campuses usually offer access to nearby cities and to outdoor activities.
  • Suburban colleges are frequently self-contained, which can create a strong sense of community.
  • Suburban colleges often have connections to the towns where they are located. This can provide opportunities such as jobs and entertainment.
  • Public transportation may be available in addition to a college’s transportation options.

Urban Campuses

Urban campuses are located in cities. Here are things to consider about urban campuses:

  • Some urban campuses are spread throughout a city while others are self-contained within a city.
  • Many urban colleges offer off-campus learning experiences. These may include opportunities to explore the work world through cooperative classes and internships.
  • Urban colleges tend to attract culturally diverse students.
  • Students can find entertainment options — such as museums, concerts and plays — on and off urban campuses.
  • Cities usually offer strong public-transportation options.