Campus Life in the USA Part I

While universities in Germany are primarily perceived as centers of academic activity, universities in the USA are also known for their unique campus life. Student life at US universities has been the inspiration for many college films.

Some university locations in the USA are so large that a comparison with a small town makes sense. Supermarkets and art galleries, huge football stadiums and large-scale parks – all of these can be found in American universities.

The number of students at universities and community colleges in rural areas is often smaller than at universities in large cities. Since there is usually limited entertainment and catering outside of larger cities, campus life traditionally plays a larger role at rural universities. The community spirit is also often very pronounced there.

On the other hand, large metropolises in the USA such as Los Angeles, New York or San Diego attract with an almost limitless range of leisure activities and a lively nightlife. As a result, campus life at inner-city universities is sometimes less important and student life is more focused on the cities.

US campus facilities

Many US colleges and universities have so many facilities that students could theoretically only be on campus. In general, there are certain types of institutions that are found at almost every university in the USA. Learn more about USA and North America on topb2bwebsites.

Teaching and research institutions

American universities are known for their excellent technological equipment in research and teaching. Auditoriums (Lecture Hall) and seminar rooms are available in all size dimensions. Some classrooms have interactive whiteboards, in others every seat is equipped with a PC.

In addition, there are rooms that differ according to subject area. Modernly equipped research laboratories, radio and television stations, photo studios or writing laboratories are just a few examples.


The university libraries are an integral part of campus life in the United States. Some are among the largest library systems in the country. Here, some students have access to several million volumes.

Many libraries are open late into the night, and some offer students 24/7 study areas. Depending on your needs, you can choose from computer workstations, group and individual rooms, workstations in media labs or, in some cases, workstations with 3D printers. Most of the universities also have a bookstore where students can buy specialist literature and often lecture notes.

Student Union

The Student Union is a popular contact point for students and an ideal place to pass the time. It is usually a building where a variety of student activities take place. There are often game rooms with pool tables, table football and game consoles. A pool, cinema or its own food court can often also be found in the Student Union building.


The Student Services or Student Affairs departments are among the best-known administrative institutions at American universities. Here students can find contact persons for all questions regarding the organization of their studies.

In addition, there are also classic university administrative institutions at universities in the USA. These include, for example

  • Admissions Office
  • Division of Business and Financial Affairs
  • Facilities Management Services
  • Academic Personnel Office.


The gastronomic offer at US universities and colleges is very diverse. The main focal point are the dining halls similar to cafeterias on campus. In many cases there are additional food courts in which restaurants, snacks, cafés, salad and snack bars border each other.

Some universities also have their own supermarket or offer students the opportunity to buy small snacks or drinks at the kiosk.

Student residences and apartments

Unlike in Germany, the majority of students usually live on campus. In particular, the undergraduate students usually live in an on-campus dorm during their studies in the USA. Two students often share a double room there.

However, there are also universities and colleges with apartment complexes on or near campus. In contrast to a room in a dormitory, apartments are usually equipped with a kitchen and a bathroom and enable students to cater for themselves.

Sports facilities and recreation center

What would campus life in the USA be without spacious sports and leisure facilities? University sports play an extremely important role in the USA. Fitness studios, multi-purpose halls for basketball, volleyball and badminton, tennis courts and swimming pools are almost part of the basic equipment. Some universities also have their own football stadiums, with golf courses, climbing gyms and indoor jogging tracks.

Many sports facilities at US universities are located in the so-called Recreation Center, or REC for short. As a rule, students have to pay a certain fee per semester in order to use the sports facilities of the university. The Recreation Center often offers outdoor activities at discounted rates. Registration for a sports course or a sports club is also often done via the Recreation Center.

Service facilities

The service concept is very strong at colleges and universities in the USA. That is why there are various service facilities such as the International Student Services Office or an Accommodation Service in the dormitories. There are also career centers, IT service centers, health centers and security facilities (campus police). There are also many centers for students with disabilities (Office for Students with Disabilities) or students with children (Children’s Center).

Campus Life in the USA Part I