Just as one class of seniors graduates and begins to gather their possessions to take to college, another group of students is finishing up their junior year and are facing college applications head on. One of their first tasks is to narrow the field and decide where they actually want to apply. However, there are so many options that many kids get stuck trying to figure it out. For those looking beyond familiar colleges close to home, I’d like to spend a few weeks thinking through how to narrow the college search.
One of the first questions I ask a student is where their heart feels at home.
Some students need a more rural campus, or at least a place with green spaces and room to breathe. Not always, but often these kids are introverts who recharge with solitary time rather than group activity. They occasionally need alone time to find solutions and a beautiful spot to sit and calm frayed nerves.
Students preferring a more pastoral campus frequently value a somewhat quiet environment. They like to know what they will face as they walk across campus every day. It is comforting to them that they can always find a spot to study in the library and that they aren’t crushed in a mass of people everywhere they go. They are happy staying on campus and enjoying life in the dorm, eating meals with other students in the cafeterias, and participating in activities sponsored by the college.
Some kids live for the out-of-doors and need to frequently escape to hike the trails or kayak in the river not far from where they have classes. They feel confined without a long view and very rural environs. But, keep in mind that even within the heart of a great city, a campus with high enclosures, lots of trees to deaden the noise, and greenbelts can seem a world unto itself.
A pastoral campus is extremely important to some students. To others, schools like this lack excitement and can seem boring. We’ll talk about the campus with an urban feel next time!
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