It is that time of the year when young adults flock to campuses in pursuit of a future career. Some travel only a few miles, others thousands. The decision has fascinated many, including myself, wondering why students favor this or that university over others. Why say, WSU, and not MSU.

One research-based website tells us that the answer often starts with affordability, followed by the availability of a desired program. “80% of students surveyed” it says, “pointed to one of seven reasons behind their final decision, namely affordability, desired program, career outcomes, reputation/academic quality, value, proximity to home and of course, that elusive ‘fit.’”

Which makes sense, but then the study adds that we may be surprised to know “that the physical attractiveness of a school and its setting tended to tip the balance more than most other factors.” The matter involves more than stout brick buildings and well-manicured lawns, but a seamless and meaningful connection between campus and city center. Having decided to go the distance, students (and parents) look to spatial opportunities to build lasting relations.

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