On my internet explorer the homepage happens to be MSN. There usually is an interesting article on the main page but the other day one article caught really my eye. The author wrote about the best college towns in North America. I figured since I run a personal finance blog I should start covering and providing my feedback to these kinds of articles. What I will do is list the college town, list the author’s reasoning, and then share my thoughts.
Best College Town #1: Amherst, Mass.
Reasoning: The author states that there are five quality college’s in such close with proximity with many great athletic programs. Not only are there many colleges but you also have the option of cross registering between colleges. There are also many post graduate opportunities and best of all the food is very affordable in the town.
My thoughts: I want to start off by saying that I’m really surprised that you can cross register between 5 different colleges. I think this is really great because when it comes time to write your resume or search for your career you will be able to write about how you took courses at more than one college. If you are the athletic type then this town is made for you.
Best College Town #2: Berkeley, California
Reasoning: The University of Berkeley is located in this town where many Nobel Prize winners teach. There is great food along with an outdoor theatre that is host to many live shows and live music. The weather is usually good so you are able to spend tons of time outdoors with all of the other college students in the town.
My thoughts: This is definitely the place to be if you can afford it. It’s no secret that the Bay area can be pretty expensive when it comes to food and housing. If you have a college scholarship or if money is not an issue then you should look into obtaining a college degree from the University of Berkeley or any other college in the area.
Best College Town #3: Montreal, Quebec
Reasoning: The city is really entrenched with an European atmosphere and is one of the few truly bilingual destinations in North America. Montreal has the second largest amount of post secondary students in all of North America, making it really easy to socialize with your fellow college students on St. Catherine’s strip. The education is also much more affordable than at most top tier schools in the United States due to the currency exchange and because tuition in Canada is generally lower.
My thoughts: I have been to Montreal many times and have a few friends that study there, so let me tell you that this is a party town for sure. If you choose to attend McGill University or any other college in the town make sure you can prioritize because you will have many distractions that may prevent you from studying. The weather is absolutely horrendous in the winter so if you come from a warmer climate you will be in for a shock. It is essential that you learn the French language because it is used EVERYWHERE. Yes people do speak English but in Montreal everything is written in French. Not being able to speak or read French may slightly hurt your experience in the town. However, do not let that stress you too much because there is plenty to do and fortunately most people understand English.
After I typed this up I ran into a random fact. Apparently Playboy Magazine ranked McGill University in Montral as one of the top 10 party colleges in North America in 2006. If that’s the case then you really need to be able to have a school/social life balance.
Best College Town #4: Washington, D.C
Reasoning: The colleges in the town are diverse and internships opportunities are available to a high amount of college students. Students have the chance to work for the headquarters of some of the most popular companies in the country (XM Satellite Radio or the Nature Conservancy to name a few). There are diverse selections for cuisine and the subway system is apparently clean.
My thoughts: One thing that I stress that college students need to capitalize on is a paid internship in college. From reading this whole article it seems like the Nation’s Capital is your best bet for finding an internship out of all of the other towns mentioned. Diversity is important when going through college because when you enter the work force you will have to work with people from various different backgrounds and cultures. If you can experience diversity and culture in college, your life views will definitely change.
Best College Town #5: Boston
Reasoning: Well besides the obvious fact that there are over 100,000 students in the area, you can obtain a bus pass for $59 a month and travel the whole city at your convenience. Your college ID provides you with many discounts around town so you could enjoy some of the cultural activities without going too broke. A message for all parents out there: the clubs close at 1 am so at least you know your child will not be drinking TOO late into the evening.
My thoughts: I think that this is a no-brainer because Boston is synonymous with terms like college town or college life. Not only are some of the best colleges in North America located in Boston but you will meet many students in a similar situation to yours. There is so much to do in Boston and so many affordable activities that you will never got bored. Once again I will stress that you must have your priorities straight because the party life is easily accessible. There’s a time for studying and a time for partying, the problem is many college students that move away from home have trouble with making that distinction.
What do you think the best college town is?