Campus Life at Cold Weather Colleges

Whether you love wintry weather or you have never seen a snowflake, one of the factors in your college search may include the climate. That’s why Go See Campus is taking a look at campus life at cold weather colleges.Campus Life at Cold Weather Colleges

While there is no one definition, let’s just agree that a “cold weather college” is one where winter weather is the norm. In other words, it’s a college that offers heavy snowfall or low temperatures for a major part of the school year. 

We’ve interviewed some former students to get first-hand insights. In “Campus Life at Cold Weather Colleges,” we get their thoughts on the best reasons to attend these schools. Read on, and don’t forget to check out Part Two of the series, “College Campus Tours and Cold Weather Schools!

Fun Activities and Experiences

During Go See Campus’ interviews with alumni, there were some common themes to the responses. One of them: campus life at cold weather colleges offers a lot of great opportunities… if you take advantage of them.

For example, there are activities like sledding, snowball fights, ice skating, hockey, and skiing throughout much of the school year. Hang-out time means hot chocolate, comforting food, and great conversation with friends. 

Then, there are some of the more unique experiences our alumni mentioned: 

  • “It’s fun to have snow during holidays and football games. Events like that are supposed to be in crisp, clear air.”
  • “Kids take trays from the dining hall and made sleds out of them on really heavy snow days.”
  • “Our sorority had cheesy-fun experiences. We had barn dances, hayrides, and bonfires. It was a surreal experience!”
  • “A group of us would play softball on the lake that froze over every winter. It was hilarious!”

Learn all you can about campus life in the cold. Ask current college students what they like to do in the winter and explore the school’s website for special events and traditions.

Reasons to Love Seasons

Big winters can be a student’s favorite thing about a college. When high school students come from places that do not vary much between seasons, they are sometimes surprised at how much they like the dramatic changes in the weather. 

One of our interviewees who attended the University of Michigan was originally from a warm weather state. He says, “I had an easier time than people who had grown up with [cold weather] their entire lives. It was a novelty for someone from the South.”

Another of our interviewees hails from the Midwest. She looked forward to life on campus in the winter, saying, “I liked the days where it was cold and bright and sunny. The colder it is, the prettier it looks.”

Cold weather colleges also provide one of the most exciting moments for a campus full of snow-bound students: the arrival of spring. 

“I always really loved the change of seasons,” a former great lakes student said. “At my college, things were really cold for a long time. But when spring came, it was like slow motion, with everyone outside and happy. It may have only been as warm as the fifties or sixties, but they were beautiful sunny days, and the change made the winter worth it. You don’t get that at colleges that are brutally hot all of the time.”

Another grad from University of Wisconsin, Madison seconded this opinion. “It’s really fun in the spring. The first day that was over 32 degrees, people would be outside in shorts and skirts. They were so excited!” 

It becomes almost an unofficial event: campus life changes suddenly as everyone makes the most of the warmer weather. The transformation is one of our alumni’s favorite moments.

Understanding the Cold

As you can tell with the examples above, cold weather schools can provide a lot of great experiences. However, our interviewees cautioned that high schoolers should know what to expect from the weather.

Winter can begin early and last a long time. The cold weather might make leaving the warmth of a residence hall tougher, but students should still make the effort to get out and socialize. It is important to explore new places, participate in campus life, and spend time with friends. Otherwise, a person can start to feel cooped up during an especially long winter. 

High school students may want to discuss this concern with friends and family members who have attended cold weather colleges. They should also explore the resources a school offers that will help them become part of the community. After all, wherever students attend college, they should feel at home.

In Part 2 of our article, get more advice on what to do on a campus visit and what to expect as a student at a cold weather college.

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