Urban Campuses: Self-Contained vs Integrated Settings
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Hale Jaeger in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Going to college in a big, bustling city can be a thrilling opportunity, as many exciting, interesting events will take place nearby. But the idea of a sprawling, green campus might also be tempting and hard to pass up. However, there are different types of urban colleges, so you may not have to choose between your fantasy campus experiences. In this article, learn about self-contained and integrated campuses, along with all the good things that both options offer.
What It Is
A self-contained urban college is located in a city but still maintains its own campus. The school isn’t spread throughout the city; instead, there’s a reserved space within the urban area that’s fully dedicated to the college.
There might be plenty of green spaces or just a few buildings, grouped together, that are dedicated just to the university. These types of campuses have the same resources that you might find in a rural or suburban setting but are often a bit smaller because they’re penned in by the surrounding larger city.
The area feels like its own space, dedicated just to the school. You’re separated from the city but still have quick access to it. You can often get a bus or subway pass through your school or at least a discounted rate. Most universities in urban settings want you to explore the city that you’re now a part of.
If the campus itself is small, you won’t need a car to get around. Since you’re part of a larger city, you’ll also have the resources of that city available to you. You’ll have opportunities to do research or find jobs and internships during or after college. In fact, your school might have good relationships with individual companies in the city.
Columbia University in New York, Emory University in Atlanta, and Vanderbilt University in Nashville are all examples of self-contained urban schools. They have their own libraries, dorm buildings, and classroom buildings that are just for the school. They often have quads or ovals, with a good amount of green space.
Colleges like this pride themselves on balancing the resources of a city and a large university. You get the experience of a close-knit college community and a broader urban environment when you want to go on an adventure. In these self-contained schools, it’s more likely that you’ll eventually need to move off campus — cities are densely populated, so there often isn’t enough dorm space. If you want to have your own apartment in college, this type of campus might be right for you. When it comes time to make that move, you’ll be more immersed in the surrounding city.
What It Is
The urban integrated campus is found within a large or small city. This place isn’t just a college town, though; the school isn’t the biggest thing going on. These are campuses that are built into the city. Rather than having their own green spaces, buildings, and dedicated campuses, they like to say that the city is your campus.
There might be classrooms on certain floors and office buildings on others. These colleges will have streets and public roads that run through campus and divide it into sections. The parks that surround the campus are public to the city, and all the action is just outside of your dorm.
The college won’t look like your typical college campus, with students sitting around a tree in a sunny green spot, laughing on a blanket while they read their books or play Frisbee. Instead, you’re going to be a real part of the city that you now live in.
This is a crucial part of the culture and experience of these colleges. They’ll often have partnerships with local restaurants and chains that will be part of your meal plan. You can use your ID or your student dollars to pay for meals there, rather than just having one big dining hall or several smaller dining halls. Those take up a large amount of space, and there’s only so much room in a dense urban area.
These colleges will encourage you to get out and explore more than a self-contained college would. Think about New York University in New York or Emerson College in Boston. These places celebrate the cities that they’re in, and they expect you to be excited about them too.