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What to Look for in a College Town or City

a mini model town with buildings, streets and lights


Taking a walk around the town or city that surrounds a campus is almost as important as touring the school itself. Here are some things to look out for while checking out a college or university town.

Student Discounts

You’d be surprised how prolific student discounts can be around college or university towns. It’s common for restaurants, hair salons and other small businesses to offer discounts to people with a school ID. Making a habit of going to these businesses could save you hundreds of dollars by the time you graduate. Keep an eye out for signs and flyers advertising these deals.

Event Spaces

Unless you plan on going to school in or near a big city, you should make sure there’s stuff happening around town. Whether it’s occasional festivals, a farmers market, races or concerts, these kinds of events keep campus life refreshing and give you an adventurous alternative to everyday life.

Be sure to look for parks, as wide-open spaces are perfect for you and your friends to organize pick-up games, outdoor study sessions or picnics.

Social Entertainment

As exciting as campuses are, you might want to get off the campus and go somewhere more exciting. When touring a town or city, see what’s available. Asking current students about their experience off campus also is a great way to get a sense of the social scene.

Affordable Housing

Many colleges and universities require all first-year students to live in a residence hall. Although being on campus and close to a large portion of the student body are significant conveniences, moving into an apartment or house has benefits. Living off campus brings a greater sense of independence and can be more affordable than a dorm.

Look around the area surrounding campus to survey the options for affordable housing. Most students don’t live in dorms for their entire time in school, so making sure that the town or city has adequate housing can help avoid future headaches.

Consumer Goods and Services

This is a more obvious point, but make sure the surrounding area has things like a grocery store, pharmacy, summer storage facilities and dry cleaning. Any town missing one of these businesses could be a tough place to live in, considering their use by almost every student.

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