Five Alternative US student cities

By StudyLink

Five Alternative US student cities

The US is the largest study destination in the world, and that may comes as no surprise considering the large number of prestigious universities and colleges to be found in the many cities across the country. For many students, their first choice is to study in the well known US cities such as Boston, New York and Washington DC, but what about the other prestige institutions that reside the US? The following cities are all very different, but all offer students a whole host of culture and fascinating American history, alongside some of the world best universities.

San Diego

Located in California, San Diego is home to beautiful beaches, a stunning harbour and plenty of space in which to explore and relax when your studies become too stressful. If you’re looking for American military history then look no further as San Diego enjoys strong links with the US Navy.
If you’re interested in sports then San Diego has a lot to offer you, with an array of sports celebrated and played both at college and professional level. If you’re a baseball, football, basketball or soccer fan then there’s something for you to watch live while studying in San Diego.
This area of California is home to a huge number of private colleges and universities but some of the more well known universities in San Diego include San Diego State University, San Diego (UCSD), University of California, UCSD School of Medicine, and three law institutions including: Thomas Jefferson School of Law, California Western School of Law and University of Dan Diego School of Law.


If you have a keen interest in US history and politics then Philadelphia presents a perfect opportunity for you to carry out your studies in an environment full of American culture and historical value. The city has paid a huge role in American history, for example the Declaration of Independence was signed here in 1776. If you desire a vivid cultural experience during your time spent in America then you can take advantage of a huge selection of museums, galleries, as well as theatre and music experiences in Philadelphia.
Like many US cities, Philadelphia is a popular tourist destination and a great place to visit if you have a big passion for sport, as it is played and enjoyed both college and at university level. On the topic of things people are passionate about, Philadelphia is also home to a wide variety of food, with a large number of small family owned food joints across the city, specialising in a variety of favourites, including the Philly Cheesesteak.
Philadelphia is home to an Ivy League member in the form of the University of Pennsylvania, making it a top priority school for anyone looking at famous prestige universities. Philadelphia is also home to Drexel University and Temple University.
So whether you’re the kind of student that enjoys sport and fast food or you’re more likely to enjoy the historical culture on offer here, the city has something for everyone.


As the largest city in the US state of New Jersey there is no wonder that Newark is home to a fair few educational institutions. Most academic institutions in the city can be found in the University Heights district, which is home to some 40,000 students and members of staff.
Although Newark might not boast a vast number of exotic beaches and countryside, it is home to beautiful architecture and historical culture with a number of museums, galleries and performance arts centres around the city. If you’re looking for cultural experience look no further than the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Newark is located a short hop from New York and could act as a slightly cheaper alternative in terms of living costs, but if you want to have a taste of what New York has to offer it is only a stones-throw away.
Newark houses a large number of universities and colleges but some of the most recognisable include; New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Rutgers (Newark campus), Essex County College, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, University of Delaware (Newark campus) and Berkeley College.


If you are a musician or just a fan of jazz and blues, then studying somewhere with such a musical history may be high on your list of countries to visit, so why not study in Chicago where you can enjoythe musical history and culture on your doorstep. As one of the larger, more popular cities on the list you can expect living expenses to be steeper than in other cities on this list, but as a student completing their studies you make find it advantageous to take advantage of the high volume of employment opportunities from the surrounding area.
Tuition fees in Chicago are some of the highest in the country but that is due to the quality of institutions to be found there. The University of Chicago and Northwestern University are among the nations and the world’s most prestigious institutions. Other universities in Chicago or nearby include University of Illinois, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (UIC) and Loyola University Chicago.

San Francisco

San Francisco found fame in the 1960s for its laidback take on life. The sunny coast only emphasises the relaxation that is to be found there. It is a wonderful city if you are looking to live on a reasonable budget, as although it is a popular tourist destination and is rich with history, living costs are cheaper than an other cities like New York.
If you are a business student or have an interest in business or technology then it may be of interest to know that San Francisco Bay is home to one of the world’s leading financial centres, where you will be able to find the likes of Apple, IBM and Facebook. Imagine graduating from an institution here and finding work placements or a career with a firm such as these.
This is a popular destination for tourists because it is one of the most iconic cities in the US. It is also near to two of the world’s most prestigious universities, Stanford and Berkeley. Other institutions found in the city include; the University of California, University of San Francisco and San Francisco (UCSF).
For more information about studying in the US, read our Study in the USA destination guide.
Like the idea of studying in an alternative student city? Read our Top 5 Alternative UK Student Cities article.

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