You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that applies to college campuses as well as people. While academics, athletics and extracurricular activities play a big part in deciding where to attend college, a beautiful and functional campus can sometimes be the deciding factor in making the choice. Today’s college campuses have been designed to aid students when it comes to such issues as security and convenience.
With campus security becoming a more important issue in recent years due to shootings at Virginia Tech and other schools, colleges and universities have spent much time planning and implementing security precautions on campus. Many schools have installed extra lighting around campus to eliminate hiding places for criminals and possible abductions. Colleges are also installing more emergency phones around campus, allowing those needing help to have a direct line to the campus security department. The presence of a well-kept campus can have other implications. Surveys of graduating students have shown an interesting trend. Those who liked the appearance and layout of the campus reported higher satisfaction with their college experience, making colleges take notice of just how important a beautiful campus can be to students.
Modern Style and Educational Tradition
Because students spend so much time on campus, the need for a modern campus that will be student-friendly has never been more important. Students living on campus expect dorm rooms that are modern and up-to-date, providing necessary wiring for computers and other technological gadgets. The key for many colleges with older campus buildings is to implement needed updates while maintaining the look and feel of tradition. Universities such as Yale, Duke and Northwestern are wonderful examples of schools combining today’s needs with yesterday’s traditions, creating an environment that will please their students while keeping those who love the “old-school” feel happy as well.
A beautiful college campus can have a big impact on students and their learning experiences. As environmental issues become more important to students, colleges are re-shaping their campuses to meet the needs of the environment. Many universities are updating buildings and “going green.” Schools such as Rice University are re-designing campus to create more green space for students, and buildings such as Duncan Hall and several new dorms are installing more efficient lighting and power sources. Other schools are making classrooms more student-friendly with better seating and lighting. Gone are old desks and hard chairs, replaced with tables for groups complete with padded chairs. Many colleges are limiting class sizes, enabling them to have classrooms that are less crowded in an attempt to create learning environments emphasizing personal instruction.
A Productive Learning Environment
Students who report having better learning experiences due in part to a well-kept campus say they like a combination of old and new. Campuses with lots of outdooor areas for students to congregate tend to be rated very high, as are those which have modern facilities for lab work and research. Modern research buildings that give students the best tools to work with make a big impression on students and how they view their learning experience.
However, despite all the new buildings and gadgets, it’s still location, location, location when it comes to beautiful campuses. Schools in warm-weather states like California or Florida usually top the list of favorite campuses of students. Rollins College, outside of Orlando, boasts stunning architecture coupled with sunny skies to create a favorite college campus. Students there even get a day off to enjoy their surroundings even more. Called “Fox Day,” students are encouraged to take the day off and enjoy the local community along with their campus. Others like Whitman College, located in the place so nice they named it twice, Walla Walla, Washington, is also a student favorite. The campus offers students hiking trails, streams and outdoor sculptures to enhance their learning experience, along with a nature preserve used for research projects.
Where Do You Fit In?
When prospective students are deciding which schools to visit, there are some things to keep in mind. First is giving thought to what type of environment will they be most comfortable with? Do they prefer a warm-weather climate like Florida or California, or are they okay in a northern location like Minnesota or Maine? Do they want a campus with lots of open fields or wooded areas, or do they prefer the beach to be next door to their dorm? Do they like the hustle and bustle of a big city, or would they prefer a more rural location for their studies? All of these questions come into play when deciding on a college.
When on a campus visit, spend the day walking around and getting a feel for it. Visit classrooms, labs, research facilities, athletic stadiums and other places. Look over the buildings that house classrooms of your major. This will give you an idea of how important the college views that department. If facilities are not to your liking, it may be better to look at other schools. Ivy League schools and others have done remarkable work with their campuses, updating to meet today’s needs while maintaining their historical architecture and style. If environmental issues are important to you, find out about the school’s sustainability program. Colleges such as Sonoma State University have set the standard for colleges across the country, using recycled rubber and glass to help construct campus buildings. Take your time and look around, because like people colleges don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.