Are you trying to figure out whether you'd like a big university, or a smaller liberal arts college better? Take this quiz to give you a better idea!
The Best Things About Going To School In a Small Town
Like nature. Remember nature?
Lots of schools are in rural areas, and get mad shit for it. Yeah, it may take us a few hours to get to a major city, but there a lot of benefits to going to school in the middle of nowhere.
You feel connected to your school.
When you go to school in a city, it's easy to get distracted by the hustle and bustle around you. At a school in a small town, the university is the main attraction, and you learn way more about it. Feeling connected to your school makes your whole college experience more engaging, so you know you're getting the most out of it.
The town loves the university.
In a small town with not much else to do, the community gathers around the college. You'll see families attending basketball games on weeknights and the whole town getting pumped for homecoming. This connection helps build a sense of community between students and the college's neighbors.
Your parents can't find you.
Well, they know where you are. But they can't bother you all the time. A rural school is probably at least an hour away from home, so you know your parents won't be showing up randomly on campus. That in itself gives you space to grow and some much-needed privacy.
A city school comes with all the risks of living in a city, most notably, higher crime rates. In a rural area, most of the community is made up of students, faculty members, and a generally older crowd, so crimes are much less likely (although not unheard of).
Rural campuses have the space for big fields, green grass, tons of trees, walking paths, and gardens. A rural school is the best choice for the outdoorsy and nature-loving, or those who just love to sunbathe on a big open quad.
You want to get involved.
Cities provide endless distractions from student life, but rural students avoid that problem entirely. Small towns compel you to get more involved in the university to stay busy, and that pays off big time when it comes to building your resume.
Things are cheap.
Living in a city, you pay a premium for everything, just because the cost of living is so much higher. Small university towns rely on students as their main customers, so prices stay low, and you save a whole lot of $$$.
Concerts come to you.
Have you ever tried to see a concert in a big city? Tickets cost an arm and a leg, and they usually sell out before you can even get your hands on one. Rural schools tend to be big, and so they attract big artists coming near the area. Schools usually subsidize these concerts too, which means you get to see Fetty Wap without having to dish out your whole paycheck.
You won't live in a shoebox.
People in cities often live on top of each other in apartments that are way too small and way too expensive, and city students are no exception. Small town schools mean more space and more housing options: houses, apartments, yards, patios, and lots of room to roam.
How to Make University Your Side Hustle
You can start your career while still in school.
Most college students start their day with a class. And while I have morning classes, my day doesn't truly start until I get home. I head straight home, kick off my shoes, and start working.
I'm a content marketer and freelance writer, and I haven't even graduated yet. And despite my lack of degree, I've gotten to work with great companies and great people to produce winning content.
I started freelance writing as a way to make a few bucks on the side I was expecting to get a few gigs here and there. And that's how it started out, slow but steady. I wasn't set on freelancing as a career.
Becoming a career freelance writer happened over the course of several months. I got one job after another, and I realized that I could make a living from writing. So I put more of my time into it, even after summer ended and school started up again.
And I kept getting more clients. Soon, my freelancing work was outweighing my schoolwork. I would get home from class and start working on writing jobs. It was a wonderful start to a wonderful career.
I was excited to have a steady workflow doing exactly what I wanted to do. In fact, I was so excited, I found it hard to concentrate on schoolwork. I made sure I got everything done for classes, but all of my energy went into writing.
And a couple of years later, it's still the same. I always enjoy getting out of classes so I can get home and start working.
Most students follow the traditional job path: They choose a major, get a degree, and get a job in a field (hopefully) related to their major. For many students, it takes hundreds of hours of job-seeking and networking to find a good opportunity.
With me, that scenario is flipped. I don't have to go out looking for jobs; they find me. I started one from my desk chair, and now, I have a steady stream of clients who seek my expertise. If you're looking for a way out of the rat race, putting a ton of effort into a passion you have just might be the ticket.
At some points, I've even considered if attending college was worth it. After all, I'm pursuing a degree, but to do what? Exactly what I'm doing right now. I've beaten my degree to the punch.
I'm still attending because I value the education, but I would be lying if I said I think my degree will get me anywhere. I'm right where I want to be, and my degree will be an embellishment, another inclusion to my resume.
If you had asked me what I did two years ago, I would've said, "I'm attending college and doing some freelance writing on the side." Now, I'll say, "I'm a full-time content marketer and freelance writer who's attending college."
Don't get me wrong, I'm still focussing on school and working diligently to complete my degree. But that's my side hustle.
Five Reasons Why I Love Going to a Big School
There's nothing better.
Any university is going to have its pros and cons. Size does a lot for the atmosphere and feel of your school. For a lot of people, the number of students can be the deciding factor for which university they choose to go to. I chose a big school, and while I had some misgivings at first, I couldn't be happier with my decision.
1.Your business stays your business.
I didn't want to go to a college that was near the same size as a high school. In high school, everyone knew everything about everyone. Who hooked up with who, who's crushing on who, the weekend's latest drama, etc.
While I'm sure that gossip will still happen in college, let's hope it decreases simply because people care less. But, the same rules still apply - the smaller the school, the greater the chance of your business getting out there.
2. It's easy to meet new people.
I love going to a big university because every weekend there's a chance to meet new people, and every weekend there's always something fun to do. You hooked up with someone who turned out to be a douchebag? Next weekend you have a whole new crop of douchebags to choose from.
3. School spirit is on a whole other level.
I feel bad for people who go to schools that don't have real college football. There is nothing like game day, especially at a Big 12 school. Any school with a serious stake in the college football community is gonna have its own traditions and the better part of the 30,000 students at your university will take part in it.
4. There's always something to do.
A big school is going to have a number of clubs, bars, and activities to do every weekend. Whether it's the school bowling alley, or an outing to go rock climbing or whitewater rafting, there will always be plenty of things to do, and plenty of people to go with. Last week my school actually had a free Brad Paisley concert for all the students. I can't imagine going anywhere else.
5. Endless campus resources
There is a stigma that larger schools give their students less attention, but I find that to be untrue. While I did have issues with being bounced around through a number of different guidance counselors each year, I did find that professors were always willing to spend extra time with me if I needed it.
My school also offers a highly-regarded career services center with self-assessments, mock interviews, career fairs, resume review, career counseling, and more. Within each major there are also a number of employees dedicated to helping students acquire internships and jobs in that field both during and after college.
Small schools have their advantages, but so do big ones! If you are still deciding on which route to take, keep these points in mind.
High School vs. College
They could not be any more different.
When I was lowly college freshman years ago, there were some things that I learned that are vastly different from high school to college. It definitely became evident, once I went to high school that some people have had differences in regards to their upbringing, but here are some things that were way different when I got to college. And the change was really nice.
Being able to take bathroom breaks without alerting everyone.
For someone who has an incredibly small bladder, it was a wonderful feeling knowing that I could get up and leave class if I needed to use the bathroom. I didn't need permission to go any longer! Glorious! I didn't need to publicly humiliate myself by announcing to the class that I needed to urinate!
What dress code?
I loved being able to wear whatever the hell I wanted. My high school had a ridiculous dress code about not being able to wear spaghetti strap tank tops, hats, or shorts that didn't extend past your fingertips. Guess who wears all the above now? It's wonderful, and now I don't have to be overheated in the summer by wearing stuff that just isn't conducive to summer weather.
Phones, phones everywhere!
My phone was not a forbidden object when I started college, and that took some getting used to. In fact, due to high school conditioning, I will still hide my phone in my lap and try and be super discreet about answering a text from someone. I understand that there are some professors that prefer you don't do that, but they aren't going to tear your head off in front of the class or write you up.
Professors actually give a shit.
Now, this is not saying that there weren't teachers who didn't try to make class entertaining or care about the kids in their class, and that most certainly isn't to say that there aren't college professors who couldn't care less. However, I have professors who have evolved into being my mentors as well. They want me to succeed in my life after college and they even get connections for you if you are persistent enough (and if they like you enough).
College classes are dope.
For someone who has been in the rut of waking up before 7:00 a.m. just to get ready for a school day that isn't even over until around 2:30 p.m., being able to go at your pace and do assignments at any time in online classes was a godsend. Some people don't like online classes, but there are also in-person classes too if you prefer that.
Moving From A Small Town To A Big City
It is the best of both worlds.
The words small and big are kind of understatements for me. I went from living in the middle of nowhere with a graduating class of 48 students to attending a university with over 50,000 students. This sudden leap in size can be a bit of a struggle to adjust at first, but eventually you get the hang of it. Here are the ups and downs.
Crosswalks are a thing.
In a small town, you just walk right across the road and don't think anything of it because there is barely any traffic. But, that all changes once you go somewhere drastically more populated. Now there are cars, bikes, and buses everywhere, so you have to press a button and wait your turn to cross the street. I just find this so strange.
It's hard to find peace and quiet.
There are all kinds of noises in the city. Traffic, construction, people shouting, and sirens from various emergency vehicles are just a few of them. It is all so loud and distracting.
What you did back home is no longer normal.
Mudding. Country music. Bonfires. Driving aimlessly around. These basic things that you grew up with just don't happen in the city.
You will miss the stars.
It is such a simple thing that you won't think about it at first. Until one night, you will look up and see lights and buildings. There will be this feeling that something is missing, like the magic and beauty is gone.
There is more to do.
Like, a lot more. There is actually a good variety of stores you can shop in. There is more than one restaurant. So many buildings with so many activities like gyms and bars. Cities just provide you with so many more options
You get to meet new people.
Back home, everyone knows everyone. From preschool to senior year, the people in my class stayed the same for the most part. There are so many different types of people and perspectives in the city. You will become friends with people you never imagined.
Food places deliver.
From Chinese food to pizza, it is all just a phone call or a click of button away. It is such a magnificent thing that you never realized you needed in your life. I mean who doesn't love food.
In the end, you really do get the best of both worlds. You get the beauty and relaxation from your small town. You get the excitement and possibilities from your big city. I call both home, and I wouldn't want it any other way.