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5 Advantages of Going to College in the Suburbs

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Choosing the right college for you means considering many different factors, including location. The location of your school determines the weather, entertainment, opportunities and overall culture surrounding you. 

Of course, the United States is a big place, and it’s home to thousands of colleges. To help you narrow your search, it’s helpful to decide whether you’d prefer to attend school in a city, a rural area or the suburbs. 

In this article, we’ll look at the advantages of going to college in the suburbs. If these benefits appeal to you, apply to several suburban colleges when you begin sending out applications. 

What Is a Suburban College?

Suburban colleges fall somewhere in between city life and rural life. Although you may find them in small cities or in larger towns, most suburban colleges are located in small towns near a bigger city. For this reason, suburban colleges can provide the best of both worlds.

Examples of suburban colleges include:

Advantages of Going to College in the Suburbs

Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of going to college in the suburbs. 


1. Close-Knit Campus Community

Like many colleges located in rural areas, colleges in the suburbs typically offer a close-knit campus community. The student population is larger than the student population at rural colleges, but campus life is still active and engaging. 

With plenty of clubs, sports and other on-campus opportunities, there’s something for everyone. You’ll find a niche or a community where you feel comfortable, even if it’s impossible to know every student by name.

Suburban colleges provide more of the traditional college experience than schools in big cities, because much of the entertainment and social scene is still centered on campus. If you enjoy school spirit, a community atmosphere and a campus-focused experience, you can find it in the suburbs.


2. Varied Forms of Entertainment

If you’d still like the option to find off-campus entertainment, going to college in the suburbs offers that too. You’ll find a healthy blend of on-campus and off-campus entertainment, including restaurants, shopping centers, museums and nightlife. 

Depending on where your school is located, the nearby city or cities may also draw concerts, comedy shows and festivals. So, if both campus life and off-campus entertainment are important to you, you’ll enjoy the varied forms of entertainment available in the suburbs.


3. Transportation to Nearby Cities

You won’t live in the middle of a big city, but you’ll have transportation and easy access to larger cities nearby. Many suburban colleges provide students with free transportation options. Otherwise, you’ll likely have a student discount to various forms of transportation.

Even if you don’t have school-provided or discounted transportation, the city is only a short car ride away. It’s a good idea to bring your car, but it’s not a necessity. Carpools or road trips with friends into the city are always fun. 

Where Do You Fit: City, Suburban or Rural Campus?
4. Access to Internships and Job Opportunities

With easy access to neighboring cities comes access to internships and job opportunities. Although you may have to travel slightly farther than students who live right in the city, you’ll have similarly abundant and diverse choices. 

You’ll meet and network with plenty of people, forming valuable connections that can help you advance your career. 


5. “Best of Both Worlds”

Ultimately, going to college in the suburbs gives you the “best of both worlds.” You can choose to venture out and explore nearby cities, or you can choose to stay in the campus bubble and enjoy your close-knit college community. Or you can do both, engaging in both off-campus and on-campus activities and adventures.

You can enjoy the benefits of a big city without being right in the middle of one. Depending on the exact location of your school, you may also have access to nature and outdoor activities. And you’ll have the option to live either on or off campus, without the potential stress of navigating life (and traffic) in a major city. 

Plus, colleges in the suburbs often have close relationships with the local community, which means plenty of student discounts for you. If you enjoy some features of rural life and some features of city life, college in the suburbs offers you the perfect compromise.

Are There Any Drawbacks to Going to College in the Suburbs?

Every college and every campus location has both advantages and disadvantages. Of course, what one student sees as an advantage, another might view as a drawback. It all depends on your own personality, priorities and preferences.

Suburban colleges offer the best of both worlds, giving you some features of an urban college and some features of a rural college. But if you’re someone who would thrive best in a big city or who would love life in a rural area, then college in the suburbs likely isn’t the best fit for you. You might find yourself wishing you were right in the middle of the nearby city, or you might daydream about living closer to nature.

Additionally, many suburban campuses have large student populations. If you’re more comfortable with smaller class sizes and personalized attention, you may feel lost or overwhelmed on a big campus. But if other aspects of going to college in the suburbs appeal to you, you can always look for a suburban college with a small or mid-sized student body.

Final Thoughts: 5 Advantages of Going to College in the Suburbs

So, should you go to college in the suburbs? It’s completely up to you and your own personal preferences. You’ll learn (and possibly live) at your college for the next four years, so you want to feel comfortable, at home and inspired. 

If you don’t know which setting is right for you, try visiting campuses in varied locations. Check out at least one suburban college, one urban college and one rural college. Which campus feels especially “right” to you? Where can you see yourself exploring, thriving and growing? You know yourself better than anyone, so trust your instincts.

Most importantly, remember that there’s no right or wrong answer. The college that is right for you might not be the right fit for someone else, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s all about what feels right to you. 

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Author: Jason Patel

Jason Patel is the founder of Transizion, a college counseling and career services company that provides mentorship and consulting on college applications, college essays, resumes, cover letters, interviews, and finding jobs and internships. Jason’s work has been cited in The Washington Post, BBC, NBC News, Forbes, Fast Company, Bustle, Inc., Fox Business, and other great outlets. Transizion donates a portion of profits to underserved students and veterans in of college prep and career development assistance.