City Or Country Living: Where Should You Go To School?
By Gina Mobilio
How important is a college’s location? Is it better to attend college in a rural community or an urban setting? These are questions that potential college students ask themselves when choosing where they will spend the next four years. Both settings have pluses and minuses, and examining the positive and negative effects of both could lead to better college choices.
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is home to three popular schools: Wilkes University, Kings College, and Marywood University. All three are a part of a suburban community with rural features and have students attending who enjoy the small-town college life.
“I like that our campus is large enough to have a football team,” said Paul Tonacci , a 21 year-old Wilkes University Pharmacy Major. “And I also like that we have a greenway to walk to class on. It is kept really clean and beautiful all year long.” When asked if he could picture attending a city school, Tonacci laughed and shook his head vigorously.
“Absolutely not. I would feel claustrophobic and very confined. I mean, it’s probably full of more opportunity for theatre and dance and stuff, but I can’t imagine giving up the way autumn, winter, and spring look in the country. [City Life] isn’t for me.
Wilkes University has multiple buildings and classrooms that accommodate students year round including a three-floor library, a three-floor student union building, a seven-station cafeteria, a café, and multiple mansions converted into functioning dorm rooms. The school also offers an on-campus workout room, and a basketball court used for the school’s Division III games.
“This school has everything I need to attend college comfortably. Anything less would not feel like a college to me. It wouldn’t feel as free.” Tonacci is scheduled to graduate in 2009 with a degree in Pharmacology.
Urban colleges, such as Marymount Manhattan College located in New York City offer an entirely different college experience with a variety of attributes and features. Marymount offers a vast and detailed theatre major program, such as majoring in acting, theatre studies, directing, stage management, and playwriting. The school also provides appearances nationally and internationally recognized speakers and performers as additional opportunities for learning.
Kara Thomas, 20, a Marymount student majoring in playwriting, believes that the education she is getting in an urban school is better than any she could receive in a rural setting.
“I couldn’t imagine it, I just couldn’t. At our school we are able to have access to renowned theatres and famous guest speakers that help us in our educational process. What do the rural schools have that we don’t? Dave Matthews performing? Give me a break. If you are going to [take school seriously] then you need to attend a serious college, Thomas said. "We may not have that “college feel” complete with football games and frat boys doing keg stands at mixers, but we have an education program that takes students far beyond the classroom. We are able to gain knowledge in our field outside of a classroom and mediocre teachers.” Thomas plans to graduate in 2010.
Although there are many benefits to attending college in the city, people affiliated with the smaller country schools beg to differ.
“There are too many distractions,” says Theresa Fallon, the theatre arts advisor of Wilkes University. “Students who attend school in New York and various other big-named cities view it as a place of immediate opportunity, and it just isn’t. The opportunities are there, of course, but the students begin to forget about their education and the importance of graduating.”
Fallon has been Wilkes University’s Theatre Arts advisor for three years and a theatre instructor for 10. “In a smaller school that is centered away from the distractions of alternate theatre options, the student focuses themselves primarily on their studies,” she said.