They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What makes a college town great is fairly subjective. For this article’s sake, we’ll define a college town as one that exists mainly because of the college or university. In other words, the college or university has made a major impact on the city or town. In addition, there is a stark difference in the location when students are not there. Is the town really a college town if there’s no tangible difference when students are or not in class? Anyway, below we list some characteristics of what makes a great college town.
By dining we mean cheap eats, but not just fast food. College kids need something other than top ramen and dollar burgers to live off of. College dining options on campus are getting better, more creative and healthier. But they are still no comparison to the local watering hole with a ton of character and tradition.
Entertainment means something different to everyone. The best college towns have it all; sports, art, culture, night life and plenty of options to choose from on campus or off. It also means plenty of free entertainment options for students on a budget. Colleges are becoming much more diverse. That means the businesses in town and the campus activities personnel need to supply options. Not everyone is going to be into the big game or the Greek system.
While not everyone is going to be into the big game – a lot of people are! Sports have a way of bringing together generations of people from different backgrounds. College sporting events are the culmination of school spirit and pride. Your college doesn’t need to have a powerhouse program either.
Part of going to college means experiencing new things and new people. It’s about exposing yourself to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Culture includes people, places and things that open you up and expand your mind, soul and ideals.
Ignorance is overcome with having meaningful interactions and exposure to people with different ethnicities, backgrounds, social classes, beliefs and lifestyles. You may not agree with all of them, but being immersed into a diverse culture should build tolerance and understanding. It will also help you define your own personal beliefs.
Cost of Living
A low cost of living means students’ money stretches a little further. That means they can experience more of the town or city because all of their finances are not wrapped up in rent, utilities, transportation and other costs associated with expensive towns. Great college towns don’t cost an arm and a leg to live in!
Many students do not have transportation when they go away to school. That means the town should have a certain level of walkability. Students should be able to hoof or pedal their way to critical services and places to hang out on and off campus.
Public transportation is critical for college students without vehicles. Students can still get to where they need to be without the hassle of parking, gas, car insurance and car payments.
What’s your favorite college town? Share below!