Students from all over the world are interested in US universities because of their international prestige, flexible curriculums, and first-rate student resources. However, students are also interested in the US college campus experience!
Many US unis and colleges have wonderful campuses where students live and learn together. Each school cultivates its campus culture. Thus, even amongst schools that have similar rigorous academics, selective admissions, and equal prestige, the campus cultures and the students they attract can be quite different! When doing your US uni research, A-List UK college advisors recommend investigating campus life to find your fit.
Consider the following:
The US is a large country and different regions often have their own cultural norms. Also, population density and the landscape also shape the way people live. For example, a few rural schools — most notable Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Williams, Middlebury, and Colgate — have very lively campuses where students also enjoy winter sports because of their locations! It is not as easy to ski at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN. Thus, thinking about how geographic parameters shape campus life should be part of your research.
One of the great things about the US uni system is the variety! But this variety also means that campus cultures vary, too. For instance, some US colleges are 1,200 students or less whereas some universities can have over 30,000 students! Size of the student body is one of the most significant factors that shapes campus life. Smaller to mid-sized schools tend to have closer-knit communities, more active campus societies, and better student-faculty relationships. Large schools tend to have more variety within the student-body, the opportunity to attend national-level sporting events, and the chance to meet new people for all four years of university life. There are advantages and trade-offs for each school size. The goal is to reflect on this important factor and find the best fit for you.
US unis and colleges often have traditions that reveal their values and ethos. Researching these traditions — everything from annual celebrations, to ways students blow off steam during exams, to cherished sports events — helps a prospective student determine if this is a place where they can thrive.
Though looking at rankings and course offerings is one way to create a US university application list — thinking about campus culture is also an important step in this process.
At A-List UK, we prioritise best fit for our students. If you are interested in US universities and want to know how to find the right school for you, please reach out to our college advising team.