There is a saying when talking about colleges and universities that it’s nice when they have a “work hard, play hard” mix. If you think academics are the only thing that happens in college, you’re wrong. For traditional students, academics certainly come first, but the social aspect of college is a close second.
In this blog, we outline which social parts of college life are important to consider. When putting together your college list, don’t underestimate the campus culture and activity.
Clubs and Student Organizations
Similar to high school, colleges can offer many clubs and organizations for students to join. Typically, they are related to student government, social/ political issues, hobbies, religion, travel, leisure, etc. Prospective students should first think about the kinds of clubs they would like to engage in while in college. Then, research what various colleges offer. If dance, for example, is a passion of yours, and you would be sad to be at a college without it for four years, make sure your prospective college offers it.
Fraternities and Sororities
Whether or not Greek Life is present at a particular college, and to what extent, can make a big impact on the social scene at the school and overall community. Keep in mind that fraternities and sororities can be very different than the stereotypical social/ party place (although, there are some of those). Many Greek organizations refute that reputation and are more focused on academics, community service, culture or religion and more. At its core, a fraternity or sorority is a place that brings together students with similar backgrounds or interests. Greek life can play a big role on a college campus, or can play a minor role, or may not be available at all. Think about whether or not this type of organization is of interest to you, and research how Greek life impacts the culture at your prospective colleges.
The structure, location and community of the campus housing can play a role on the social scene in college. Consider if you would want to live in single-sex housing or co-ed. Would you want to live in “theme houses” with people who have similar interests, which might make it easier to make friends, or would you want to live with all different types of students? If the dorms are far away from the academic buildings, that can be different than if the dorms are scattered throughout the campus. So, give some thought to your ideal living arrangements.
Off-Campus Options/ Suitcase Schools
The location of the college can determine the social opportunities off campus. Some students want to be on campus all the time and enjoy the options there, while other students may want to be in close proximity to a city or small town with more social options than what the college can provide. If you would like to engage in activities off campus, consider how you would get there; make sure your potential college provides transportation. Additionally, some colleges are known as “suitcase schools.” This means that many students have family close by and choose to go home on the weekends rather than stick around campus. If you are looking to have fun on the weekends with other students, a “suitcase school” probably isn’t for you.
These are only some of the many social scene considerations to think about when looking at potential colleges. For traditional college students, it’s true that college is 50% academics and 50% life (I’m being generous). The culture of the school, the social opportunities and the activities outside the classroom are extremely important. If you think you need help discerning which social aspects are most important to you, and which colleges offer those things, Campus Bound can help.