By David Hautanen
Senior Associate Director of Admissions, Northeastern University
Attending a college or university in a city offers easy access to academic,
cultural, and social venues that enrich the college experience beyond the
campus boundaries. The entire city becomes a laboratory for learning. Whether
you want to do research at neighboring universities, libraries, or research
centers, visit museums, attend professional sporting events, go to the
symphony, or simply have a broad range of retail choices, it is all
nearby. Going to college in the city means a short walk, bus ride or subway
trip, and the world is at hand.
When you are visiting campuses located in the city you’ll notice some distinct
differences from rural or suburban college campuses. Compared to rural or
suburban colleges and universities that have been able to grow and remain
distinctly separate from their surrounding community, urban colleges and
universities typically have grown into their host communities. As a result,
urban colleges offer a wide variety of campus styles. At one extreme, the
college or university is blended with the city, offering its students the
experience of being fully part of the urban community at all times. At the
other extreme are schools with clear campus boundaries where the student has
the benefit of a distinct campus experience within the city while still having
all the amenities of the city right there.
Urban campuses tend to attract students who are more culturally diverse and
aware. As a result, urban colleges do typically represent a more diverse
student body, socially, ethnically, and culturally. At metropolitan
universities you’ll find students furthering their education in different ways:
from full-time students attending class in traditional residential settings to
part-time and commuter students using education as a means to further their
goals, dreams and aspirations. Diversity at this level inspires students to
embrace and understand different cultures, ideas and experiences.
All college campuses offer a range of cultural, academic and social
organizations. Urban colleges often partner with their neighbors to extend the
work of these campus-based organizations into the community. This experience is
an important way of giving students voice to their own aspirations and
interests. From mentoring local school children to assisting residents or
participating in community service, the opportunities to engage with the
community in an urban setting are endless.
The benefits of attending an urban college often extend beyond graduation as
students take advantage of the network they have created by living and learning
within an urban environment. Many urban universities offer off-campus learning
experiences like cooperative education and internship programs, which allow
students to pursue work opportunities within their field of study. These
opportunities help students gain relevant experience by applying what they are
learning in the classroom. This improves their chances of landing a job or
entering graduate school in their chosen field upon graduation.
As you begin to think about the college setting that you would be most
comfortable in, be sure to visit each campus and the city in which it lives.
Whether rural or urban, the campus visit is the best way to understand the
benefits of living and learning in the college environment.
About the School
located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, is a world leader in cooperative
education and recognized for its expert faculty and first-rate academic and
research facilities. Through co-op,
undergraduates alternate semesters of full-time study with
semesters of work in fields relevant to their professional interests and
academic major, giving them nearly two years of professional experience upon