The Pros and Cons of Rural Colleges

A picture of Middlebury College, an example of many rural colleges.

Flickr user Adam Levine

There are colleges in big cities, suburban colleges, and then there are those on the outskirts: the rural areas. Some may think they’re out in the middle of nowhere, others might find them peaceful and a place all its own.

Regardless of where you fall, there are definite pros and cons to rural colleges.

PRO: Away from Distractions

Cities are filled with distractions—from concerts, to theme parks, to professional sports games. While they all sound fun, they can be a major detriment to a student’s focus and GPA. Academics should come first, after all, and a rural college is great for balancing your college life and limiting outside interruptions. Plus, the college itself will throw fun events for the students to enjoy, will have plenty of students orgs and clubs, and provide entertainment for study breaks.

CON: Away from Opportunities

Rural colleges tend to be smaller, and away from major employment opportunities. While there may be some odd-jobs on campus, students might have to drive into town for jobs or internships.

PRO: Tight-Knight Community

Since rural colleges tend to be smaller, the student body typically become tight-knit. Forging close friendships is a highlight of college, and rural campuses do it well. A community is fostered through on-campus living, events, orgs, and activities.

CON: Transportation

You still have to get around, right? Even if campus is its own little town, you’ll still have to travel from time to time (and you may not have a car). Whether it’s going home to visit, or taking a weekend with your roommates, transpiration can be a bit of a drag. Buses cost money, cars need gas, and it can feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.

PRO: Landscapes

Many rural colleges are smack dab in the middle of some of the most gorgeous places in the country. Forests, plains, mountain foothills. There is definitely a connection between school and nature on these campuses, and as such many rural colleges have a focus on environmental sciences or agriculture.

Is a rural college right for you? Check out if the schools on your list are urban or rural via College Raptor’s free match tool.

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