Applying to colleges – are you a city person or a country person?

June 29, 2012

In the old Aesop fable about the City Mouse and the Country Mouse, a pair of rodents find that neither is made out for the other's prefered environment. The City Mouse finds the country impossibly dull, while the Country Mouse prefers to have his meals without fear of being swallowed by a dog.

The same sort of conflict is faced by a lot of high school seniors preparing to apply to the colleges of their choice. Some are city kids who haven't needed a car or driver's license and are habitually used to elevators that go higher than four floors. Others are born and bred country kids who have spent most of their lives hearing crickets at night rather than car horns and may prefer a long dusty road to a crowded intersection. And of course there are a whole number of students who hail from in between. How do they decide what school best fits them?

Perhaps you're happy to get away - to finally go somewhere with real diversity and culture, or some place that's finally got some fresh air. But for those fearing homesickness or the unknown, keep these thoughts in mind.

1. Not all cities are New York. In fact, only one city is New York City! The rest are diverse and usually a lot less hectic. Chicago has some of the best public transportation in the country. Boston is extremely walkable in size. Los Angeles requires a car and has such a fascinating ecosystem you'll forget you're even in a metropolis.

2. Not all towns are in the middle of nowhere. In fact, your average college town qualifies as a city based on population. They're filled with some of the best restaurants, playhouses, libraries and - obviously - colleges and universities in the world.

3. You'll adapt quickly. College is all about discovering a new environment, and while it's scary it's also thrilling. Getting to know your new town or city is a process, so give it time and remember to have fun - make the most of your new home!

High school seniors and college freshman have enough to worry about with academics, social stresses and finding themselves in new and unusual environments. Remember to ease your financial situation and increase your college options by applying for scholarships as a high school senior.

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