Many students find the close-knit community and convenience of a campus university comforting, while others prefer the variation offered by a city
With so many factors to consider when choosing a university, students often overlook whether to opt for a campus-based or city university.
But it’s worth thinking carefully about where you choose to live for the next three years. While some students might be more suited to a countryside campus with a community spirit and facilities on their doorstep, others would thrive in a city – surrounded by the hustle and bustle, twinkling lights and culture on tap. For students making their first move away from home, the appeal of a campus university is obvious. With everything you need on your doorstep and a community feel, it’s no wonder that the National Student Survey 2015 (NSS) found that these universities achieve strong results for student satisfaction.
Francesca Surrell, 22, a student nurse at Keele University, opted for a campus university. She says: “I like that I can walk to lectures, nights out and to the library – only having to find my way around a campus rather than a whole city. It instantly felt like home.”
Philip Kruse, 22, is a student at the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany – a decentralised campus university with two campuses connected by a monorail system.
He says: “My university offers great conditions for studying without interruptions from the noise and bustle of the city. And while you might have fewer choices of activities inbetween lectures, you can spend more time on revision.”
While campus universities are limited in what they offer, city-based universities can’t be beaten for choice and atmosphere, according to Jack Ridley, 22, a recent graduate of the University of Manchester.
“Choosing to study in Manchester was the best decision I’ve ever made,” he says. “Being in the city gives you unlimited options for going out and eating out, which is great when you’re on a student budget. The big city feel is complemented by the atmosphere of the student community in places like Fallowfield. Cities like Manchester offer the best of both worlds.” Ursula Oliver, 23, a former Aberystwyth University student, valued the convenience of a campus university, but says that students should look for ways to spend some of their time away from uni.
“I didn’t live in halls on campus – I think it’s important to have everything a little separated so you don’t end up having tunnel vision. After all, part of the experience of going to university is being in a new place and exploring. Getting out of your comfort zone is important.”
Cem Gurkan, 25, who studied at both UCL and the University of East Anglia and has experienced both a city and campus university, agrees that campus life can be quite suffocating. He says: “At a campus university you develop close communities, you recognise familiar faces, and it offers a sense of belonging. But tight communities can often feel intimidating and exclusive.”
Whether you’re leaning towards a campus or city university, make sure you visit open days and decide for yourself which type of university you could see yourself at for three years – it might be somewhere completely different from where you had originally planned.