"Understanding terminology is essential for researching educational communities. In the late 1800s, seminaries appeared across the country. For years there have been academies, colleges, and universities. Students and others associated with these institutions, were counted in various ways and there are techniques for researching them," so writes Judy Rosella Edwards in her most recent article, "Genealogy of Communities: Seminaries and Other Educational Institutions."
Again, using the census in concert with institutional histories and college yearbooks may help in locating or learning more about an ancestor. The challenge, perhaps, is identifying what schools existed at what periods of time in a particular location, for which we turn to local area histories. As the article points out, "Knowing a college town makes research that much easier," and local maps can often help in identifying neighborhoods and homeowners.