When researching a college, it is important to consider many aspects. Majors, course offerings, residence halls and overall resources are often at the top of the list. However, one thing that is often over looked is the college’s surrounds. Families often spend so much time on the college campus that they neglect to consider the surrounding community.
Think about what your life will be like beyond classes. What will you do for fun? Where can go to explore? What will your new surroundings look like? Also consider, how will you get there? Are you allowed to bring a car? If not, what kind of transportation is provided off-campus? How much does it cost? Where does it go? How often can you use it?
On a recent tour of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, I was struck by how much there is to do off-campus. While LMU does have the benefit of being in a prime location, they university also provides several ways for students to take full advantage of the fun things to do around them. Watch the video of the LMU tour guide describing the surrounding community and off-campus opportunities or read the transcript below.
We are obviously close to a lot of things. Off to the left, well sharp left is Marina Del Rey, then Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Usually you can see all the way up to Malibu, but it is a foggy, hazy day today. Across the way are Westwood, then Beverly Hills, then Hollywood. You can see the Hollywood sign, sharp right; about as right as you can go, on the mountain you can see a white rectangle. This is one of the only spots where you can see the Hollywood sign and the Pacific Ocean from the same spot- fun fact.
So there is a lot to do in LA and there are a lot of opportunities to get into the city. One way is through the different activities they put on for freshmen. Especially through your dorms, there will be beach days and things like that, which I already mentioned earlier. But we also have the Lion Express, which is the LMU shuttle. It is free and you can tell it when you want to be dropped off somewhere and when you want to be picked up, anywhere within a five to seven mile radius around campus. It will take you to the beach, to the movies, to the mall, pretty much anywhere you want to go. We are actually only about a mile from the beach. There is a trail along the bottom of the bluff that you can run on or bike on, so people go to the beach before class sometimes.
If you don’t have a car on campus, like I said before everyone is allowed a car for free, but if you don’t odds are a friend will have a car. I had my car freshmen year but hardly ever used it since all of my friends had cars, so getting around is generally not a problem. If no one has a car, we also have Zip Cars. Zip Cars are parked all through out campus but are mostly concentrated in the freshmen lot. You can check them out for 8 bucks an hour, including gas and insurance, so don’t have to pay for any besides the 8 bucks. Or if you want the car for the whole day it is $30. You check it out with your phone or on-line and take it anywhere and bring it back, park it and your done. So that is another great option. There is also the Big Blue Bus. It picks up right outside the front gate and goes all the way up PCH and Lincoln, passing by Santa Monica and all those fun places. It make a right on Wilshire and goes all the way inland to Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Westwood and passes all of those places. That is another great option because it picks up right in front of LMU. That is another great way to get around.