Evaluating a College's Social Fit

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  • 0:04 College Life
  • 0:58 Social Makeup
  • 3:03 What to Know
  • 4:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Going to college is an exciting time, and much of that excitement deals with the social aspects of college life. In this lesson, we'll look closer at factors that affect a college's social makeup, and how to know what type of college is right for you.

College Life

Nikki is getting ready to go to college. She's a little nervous, though, because she's lived in the same place her whole life. Her friends have been her friends since she was a baby, and she isn't quite sure what she thinks about going off to a college where she has to make new friends.

College life is a group of factors that influence the quality of life that students experience at a specific school. How good the food is, the campus environment and sports teams are all part of the college life experience - so is the social makeup of the school - that is, what the college's student body is like.

Though it shouldn't be the most important factor in deciding which college to go to, Nikki should at least understand what a school is like socially. Let's take a look at the elements that make up the social side of college and what information students should know in order to understand whether a school is a good fit socially.

Social Makeup

Nikki knows that she needs to find a college that is a good social fit for her. But what exactly does that mean? What factors influence the social side of college?

There are many, many things that contribute to a school's social makeup. A few of the more common ones include:

1. Party reputation

Some schools are famous for being 'party schools.' Nikki isn't sure that she wants to go to a party school; she thinks that might be a little too rowdy for her taste. But she knows that some people view college as just a way to socialize, and those students might be right to choose a party school.

2. Sports teams

For many students, Nikki included, cheering on their college at sporting events seems like an integral part of the social scene at college. But not every school has a good sport team. In fact, some colleges don't have sports teams at all! Again, even though social aspects shouldn't be the main decision in choosing a college, Nikki will probably want to consider sports as part of it.

3. Clubs and organizations

Whether it's a Greek sorority or a club for lovers of Proust, many colleges have a variety of clubs and organizations available. For someone like Nikki, a club could be a great opportunity for finding friends who share her interests. But not all schools are alike when it comes to clubs and organizations; some have many, while others have only a few. Finding a school with a variety of clubs and organizations will give Nikki (and students like her) a better chance of finding a club that is of interest to them.

4. Student body

The student body of a college is just what it sounds like: all of the students combined. What do the majority of students have in common? Is the school mostly a commuter school, or do many students live on campus? Do the students enjoy attending political protests or fancy afternoon tea? Knowing what the student body is like can help Nikki gauge what it would be like to go to that school.

What to Know

Nikki is even more overwhelmed than ever. There are so many things to think about when it comes to a college's social life. How can she even begin to figure out what's right for her?

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