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Best city to go to grad school in your opinion?


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30 replies to this topic

#1 Monika

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 10:47 PM

I'd say somewhere in Cali....
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#2 teaganc

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 01:39 AM

For me, a moderate-sized city within easy commuting distance to a larger city or other interesting things/jobs. Personally, I'm very fond of Philadelphia; the city is extremely affordable, you can take a train to DC or NYC, there is a lot to do and a lot of diversity, and of course, it's the best sports town in American. For similar reasons, I also like Boston, except that it is anything but affordable--and when living on a meager stipend, affordability is a big concern.
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#3 liszt85

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 03:07 AM

Columbus, OH, because I'm going there and I have to believe its the best :P

On a more serious note, its safer than most other cities I've considered (eg: Atlanta!), housing is very affordable and the city seems accessible but you can live away from it. I do not know much about the city area of Columbus though (malls, things to do, etc)..

Austin, TX is also inexpensive from what I hear. Can somebody (combined effort) post a list of such comparable affordable cities/towns and then talk about their pros and cons?
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#4 feisty

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 03:18 AM

I'd say a small city. Small enough to not be too chic and unaffordable, large enough to have a diversity of Stuff To Do and large enough that not everything is dominated by the university. Thinking Austin, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia.

I guess it depends on what kind of grad school though--something like business or public policy might best be done in a major metropolis, whereas the humanities and hard science students living deep inside their own heads might benefit from the relative peace and quiet of a more low key place.
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#5 teaganc

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 04:11 AM

Columbus, OH, because I'm going there and I have to believe its the best :P


I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you but... Ohio is terrible. It has all the negatives of the Mid-west, but without any of the large cities or interesting things to do. Also, it might have the largest population in America of neo-Nazis? (If it's not Ohio, I think it might be central PA). Just driving through it makes me a little depressed. I'm sure you'll make the best of it, and besides, you'll spend all your time on campus anyway. But since you are an international student, I just wanted you know that there are many nicer places in the US; please don't judge us on Ohio alone.
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#6 ElusiveMuse

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 04:22 AM

I've never been to Columbus, but I think it's true what they say about Cleveland- it rocks! Of course, I wouldn't want to ever try to get a job there. But as a grad student, you could do worse.

Also, it is not necessarily true that humanities grad students don't need a big city. Try being an art historian in a city without a major museum.

I will humbly submit Los Angeles as a great city to be a grad student. Everyone commutes, so it is entirely possible to live away from where you work. There is something for everyone in terms of stuff to do and networking for your career.
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#7 teaganc

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 04:31 AM

I've never been to Columbus, but I think it's true what they say about Cleveland- it rocks! Of course, I wouldn't want to ever try to get a job there. But as a grad student, you could do worse.

Also, it is not necessarily true that humanities grad students don't need a big city. Try being an art historian in a city without a major museum.

I will humbly submit Los Angeles as a great city to be a grad student. Everyone commutes, so it is entirely possible to live away from where you work. There is something for everyone in terms of stuff to do and networking for your career.


I lived in LA while going to grad school, and I have to say... I found it really, really unpleasant. Terrible traffic, super expensive cost of living, tons of strip malls and chain restaurants, not a single bar I could walk to in any zip code I could afford to live. The last thing I want to do after a 3 hour class is spend another hour on the freeway, and I had to work 35+ hours per week just to afford my 1 bedroom apartment. It sucked all of the fun out of... well, life, at least for a period of time.
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#8 liszt85

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 04:47 AM

I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you but... Ohio is terrible. It has all the negatives of the Mid-west.


What might those be? :o Other than tornado warnings, that is..
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#9 Aceflyer

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 06:38 AM

I nominate New Haven, CT for best city to go to for grad school. The food there is unparalleled this side of New York (and New Haven isn't nearly as expensive to live in as NYC!), and the city itself is just large enough to be interesting. Plus, it is an easy commute to NYC via Metro-North for those times when one desires the 'big-city' bustle.
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#10 dukegirl09

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 07:00 AM

I'll throw in a nomination for Durham/Chapel Hill. I live in Durham now and while most others here hate it, I actually like it. It's a bit crime-y, but if you take normal precautions, you should be fine. Plus the cost of living is RIDICULOUSLY low and there's a stretch of space with lots of bars/restaurants (some more grad student-y than others) all within walking distance of each other, which is also in walking (or short driving) distance of campus and a few apartment complexes. Everything's really compact, which is something I took for granted in undergrad and didn't realize was uncommon until I visited some other places (*cough*Storrs, Connecticut*cough*) on grad school visits. Also, I love love love the Streets at Southpoint (huge mall, movie theater, and outside area with shops, fountains, restaurants, etc.), about 30 minutes away from Duke (20 if you drive like I do). If you're going to UNC, Chapel Hill is great too -- awesome college town. I haven't lived there but I've gone there on weekend nights as many Duke students do, and it's fun -- lots of restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.

I think it'd be particularly great for grad school because it has everything you need (nearby mall, easily driveable, close grocery stores/Target/etc., multiple bars in the same area (great for bar hopping), a range of bar options (sports bars, crazy "undergrad" bars, sit-down older-crowd type places, places that do trivia), LOTS of different kinds of foods) -- but it's also ridiculously low-priced. In other words, you will have EVERYTHING you need (unless you're expecting NYC), and you won't have to pay that much for it. If it made sense for me to apply to Duke for grad school (and if I thought I could have gotten in), I would have stayed here another 5-6 years in a heartbeat. Love it.
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#11 mims3382

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 07:12 AM

liszt85 wrote:
Columbus, OH, because I'm going there and I have to believe its the best


I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you but... Ohio is terrible. It has all the negatives of the Mid-west, but without any of the large cities or interesting things to do. Also, it might have the largest population in America of neo-Nazis? (If it's not Ohio, I think it might be central PA). Just driving through it makes me a little depressed. I'm sure you'll make the best of it, and besides, you'll spend all your time on campus anyway. But since you are an international student, I just wanted you know that there are many nicer places in the US; please don't judge us on Ohio alone.



Ok. That was offensive and unnecessary. I'm from Ohio and it's a wonderful place. Of course it isn't New York or Boston or LA, but it has its charms and it is what it is. There is a reason why it comes up in elections every year--it's an extremely populated state filled with extremes, and that in itself is an interesting culture. Cleveland has one of the best orchestras in the world, one of the best hospitals in the world, and the museum is one of the best in the country. The orchestra in Columbus isn't bad either--I heard Yo-yo Ma there when he first started his Silk Road Project, and they get world famous musicians coming in all the time.I don't know a whole lot about Cincy, except that both Cleveland and Cincy have excellent (and some of the country's best) amusement parks to boot.
It's easy to get to Cleveland and Cincy from Columbus too.

I did a year at Ohio State, and it's an interesting place. People are very passionate about (American) football, and although it might not be the safest place during football games, it's a kind of culture you won't find outside of America. It's true that some people are very closed minded there, but not everyone, and you just have to appreciate it for what it is.
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#12 feisty

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:12 PM

Columbus, OH, because I'm going there and I have to believe its the best :P


I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you but... Ohio is terrible. It has all the negatives of the Mid-west, but without any of the large cities or interesting things to do. Also, it might have the largest population in America of neo-Nazis? (If it's not Ohio, I think it might be central PA). Just driving through it makes me a little depressed. I'm sure you'll make the best of it, and besides, you'll spend all your time on campus anyway. But since you are an international student, I just wanted you know that there are many nicer places in the US; please don't judge us on Ohio alone.


It also has a giant lesbian population.

Midwest h8ters are the worst humans, more or less. Please don't judge the US by them alone.
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#13 engguy

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 12:44 PM

I nominate: Any city in which the program has offered you a great funding package and really seems to want you. Trust me, you will learn to love it there.

And I agree with the above: anyone who disses the Midwest is a shallow individual who gets "bored" with real people, seasons, apple orchards, rivers, and great architecture from the turn of the century. And probably drowns kittens to boot. (Thus ends my Bull Durham-like speech.)
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#14 liszt85

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 01:36 PM

real people, seasons, apple orchards, rivers, and great architecture from the turn of the century.


I like all of the above. I guess I'll do just fine in Ohio in that case.. :P
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#15 swr22

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 07:44 PM

Boston rocks. Looking forward to LA, though.
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#16 kahlan_amnell

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 10:19 PM

I'd say somewhere in Cali....


It depends on many factors, such as what kind of climate you like, what size city you like living in, and what features of a city are important to you. California is not for everyone, I'm looking forward to leaving Southern California myself.

The title seems to exclude towns and rural areas, which sounds like to best place for me to go to grad school.
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#17 michigan girl

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 08:45 PM

The Midwest gets no love from either coast. I'm a Midwesterner myself, and I enjoy the friendly personalities, small town feel, and seasonal weather. You couldn't make me live in the Northeast or southern California. The Midwest isn't for everyone, but it doesn't deserve the negative reputation it often receives here. The Midwest can be affordable for graduate students. Some of the best college towns (Ann Arbor, Madison, Columbus, etc.) are located in the Midwest.
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#18 ElusiveMuse

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 08:57 PM

I am definitely a coastal girl through and through but I have always enjoyed my time spent in the Midwest.

Now I'm very sorry to say that for the most part, the South gets little love from me. It has its awesome enclaves to be sure, but on the whole, F-.
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#19 apropos

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 09:09 AM

I would pick the San Francisco Bay Area schools (Berkeley or Stanford) for great culture, diversity, food, weather, great entertainment opportunities in places like San Francisco as well as all over the rest of the bay, and numerous terrific weekend destinations (Lake Tahoe area, the wine country, something like five national parks within reach, incl. Yosemite, Monterey, Big Sur, great hiking, great skiing, etc). There is really no other place like this. But alas, the bar for getting into Berkeley and Stanford is really high.

Second choices? Probably LA, NYC, Boston, Chicago, or Seattle perhaps.

Third choice: small, progressive college towns in nice natural settings like Boulder, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz.
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#20 ewurgler

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 06:59 PM

I am very much looking forward to leaving San Diego, California for Bloomington, Indiana. Call me crazy, but I will be able to buy a 3 bedroom house in Bloomington and the mortgage will be 1/2 of rent on a tiny 2 bedroom house in a bad San Diego neighborhood. I can't wait!!!
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