The Most Important Aspect Of Your College Search

June 14, 2016

The college search process is more than just reading statistics and department curriculum notes on a university website - it’s also understanding the benefits of each school’s location and campus culture.

If Harvard, Emerson, Reed, Vanderbilt, or Santa Clara is on your college list, here’s how current students feel about their school’s location and culture.


Harvard University ‘19

Harvard’s location in Cambridge, MA is ideal. The environment is urban, as it is only a 10 minute subway ride away from downtown Boston; however, it has a community feel to it that the rest of the city doesn’t have. It has the opportunity provided by a big city with the feel of a bustling small town. Harvard Square has great food including chains like Panera, Chipotle, and yes, Starbucks. But the local ethnic food places are absolutely a highlight. What’s great is that you will not ever need a car because most of what you need is in walking distance, and there is a great public transport system. Overall, Cambridge is a perfect place to attend university.


Emerson College ‘19

Everyone at my college is so open minded and friendly. Because it is a communications school, everyone has similar passions and skills. We are all so eager to be apart of a fellow student’s work and give a helping hand when needed. Classwork doesn’t even feel like work because we are all passionate and full of love for what we do! The campus is right in the heart of Boston. It is beautiful, urban, and within walking distance of so many great locations.


Reed College ‘19

Portland has an amazing food scene. The city is also very trendy and everyone has their own unique style. Reed is interesting in regards to its drug culture. During O-week, senior “beer fairies” go around handing out cheap beers to freshman—very different from other schools “**** freshmen” attitude. Along with that, there are “night owls,” students that walk around campus at night making sure that everyone is okay and partying responsibly (they hand out water and snacks and stickers and jokes; I love night owls). Reed has also gained notice for its drug culture. Drugs are fairly available here, most notably marijuana, but a slew of others too. Though they are easily accessible, no one is pressured into doing them. Like no one ever. If you don’t want to do drugs, you can come to Reed and still have an amazing, fun time.


Vanderbilt University ‘18

My love for Nashville was a huge part of why I applied to Vanderbilt. In fact, I fell in love with Nashville before I fell in love with the Vanderbilt, which is unlike my experience with other schools I toured. During my sophomore year of high school, my mom took me to the Country Music Awards in Nashville. I had never really been to the South before and my initial reaction was very positive. Walking down Broadway, the only word I can use to describe the atmosphere is lively. An entire street of honky tonk stores, live music at every bar, barbecue restaurants, people dancing and singing in the street, flashing lights - the nightlife was amazing. Now that I live in Nashville, there are so many amazing sites to see, restaurants to try and memories to be made. I don’t feel like I am lost in a big city, and also don’t feel like I’m confined to a small college town. I love that the southern culture is evident outside campus, yet only 30% of the student body is from the south so you still get a diverse experience.


Santa Clara University ‘19

Santa Clara is situated in a very nice neighborhood surrounded with lost of restaurants and friendly people. There would be families on walks in the morning with their children as I walk to class which gives off a friendly and warm atmosphere on campus. Also because of our small class population you really get to know your professor which is immensely helpful when you need help from them.

Applying to college next year?
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About The Author

Frances Wong
Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.


Browse Successful Application Files

Harvard ‘21

Accepted to Harvard, Dartmouth, UC Berkeley, Emory, USC

Hi! I'm a Harvard PreFrosh interested in service, economics, math, and philosophy excited to help you.
Harvard ‘17

Accepted to Harvard, UVA, USC

Hi! Harvard senior (brother in class of '19 here as well) studying Economics and East Asian Studies while journalism, wood design, dance, baseball, cultural, & professional groups.
Harvard ‘20

Accepted to Harvard

Excited about the world.
Harvard ‘20

Accepted to Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, UVA

Lover of physics, math, and chess. Football player and bass player. California born and raised.

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