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Comparing colleges based on location, size, and housing

College admissions expert Sean Logan discusses factors to consider when choosing a college campus: location, size, and housing. Location involves distance from home and climate preferences. Size affects the campus experience, with small (0-3,000), medium (3,000-10,000), and large (10,000+) schools offering different community vibes. Housing varies by school, so researching on-campus living options and guarantees is essential.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] We're here today with Sean Logan, Director of College Counseling at Phillips Academy. Sean, one of the big things that students often think about is what type of campus they're looking for. If I'm a student, how should I be approaching that process? - [Sean] Sure. I think the first thing you want to think about is location. How far away from home do you want to be, and what that means to you, thinking a little bit about distance. Weather sometimes plays into that. Do you want to be in a different climate, same climate? What does that mean? Certainly the first thing that students think about is distance and location. - [Voiceover] Great. And are there some benefits that you've seen of students you work with staying close to home, or going further away? - [Sean] Sure. Now, for lots of students there are different reasons they may want to do that. I think it's always worth ... I think a lot of students at first will say, "Oh, I want to stay close to home," just because that's what comfortable, that's what's natural. But I would push any of you out there listening to this to think about going to schools that may be a little bit further away, because those schools may have things that you get from being away from home and not having quick access to home, especially around independence, but also, just again, really having to engage in that community that you're in because you can't easily get home on a bus ride or something like that. - [Voiceover] Great. That makes sense. What about size of school? Because obviously, for students, for me, if I'm talking as a student, it's going to have a big impact on the campus feel, depending on how many students are out there. - [Sean] Let's start with defining. Schools typically fall into three categories. There are small schools. Those small schools generally fall between ... upwards of maybe 3,000 students, zero to 3,000 students. Medium sized schools. Those schools are generally probably from 3,000 to, say, 10,000 students. The third type is large schools. Again, large schools are probably 10,000 plus. Some of those schools can be upwards of ... Ohio State University, University of Michigan, schools like that can be upwards of almost 40,000 students. Again, there can be very, very big schools out there. - [Voiceover] How does the size of the student body impact the college experience? - [Sean] You know, you as a student need to think about, "What do I want in my experience?" Smaller schools tend to be much more community-focused. Lots of smaller schools tend to be in more rural to suburban areas. Again, the community is really very important there. I would say, probably 90% of students typically live on campus at small schools. When you get into medium and larger schools, that number may vary quite a bit. It could be the same. It could be, again, 90% of students live on campus. Or it might be as low as, say, 10% or 20% of the students live on campus. And not that one is better or worse than another, but it's just a different experience. If you're looking for a community experience, you may want to be looking at schools that, again, have a lot of the student body living on campus. - [Voiceover] Great. Let's talk a little bit more about housing. Is there ... Do schools sort of guarantee that you can live on campus if you need to? Or how is that actually going to work for me, as a student? - [Sean] Right. Housing is going to vary, again, by school, and it's one of the things you should have on your list as you're researching colleges. What percentage live on campus? But also, is there a guarantee of housing for four years, for three years, and so forth, so you have a good idea of what you're getting into. Depending on the school and where it's located, it might be much cheaper, so if you're a first-generation college student or low-income college student, it may be cheaper for you if the school guarantees housing for four years, because the location you're living in is very expensive and they offer the best housing at a good, affordable price. - [Voiceover] Great.