by Jack Kerwin | email@example.com
Veering off the beaten path a bit.
By luck or circumstance, life has afforded me opportunities to come across a wide assortment of colleges, both big and small, some expansive in size and others seeming no bigger than a postage stamp.
So, being a sucker for settings and scenery, especially within the auspices of higher education, here is one man’s take on the best he’s seen – with one disclaimer, if your favorite isn’t on the list, might just be a case that yours truly never saw it … yet.
OK, let’s count ’em down:
10. University of Georgia
Located in the college town of Athens, Ga., about an hour’s drive east of southern hub city Atlanta, it offers the same kind of collegial feel as some highfalutin school in the Northeast, but does so in a much more relaxed, almost sleepy way.
9. University of Delaware
Kinda lost amid the plethora of institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region, with Philly less than an hour north and the Baltimore-D.C. duo not far to the south, either, UD is a shocking mix of beautiful buildings and grounds plopped in right next to the small, but busy downtown of Newark, Del.
8. Villanova University
Located along the Main Line outside of Philly, the school’s Catholic and Gothic vibes can be enticing to anyone. It offers the smallest campus on this list, but, wow, does it deliver the visual goods … with the added bonus of being easily accessible from major roadways.
7. University of Illinois
Frankly, the expansive campus spans two cities, Urbana and Champaign, Ill., making things a bit daunting. But a quality bus system helps, thankfully, as UI offers a brilliant array of differing structures that blend incredibly well. The Main Quad is one of the most recognizable visuals in all of academia.
6. University of Florida
Perhaps an impartiality for the state plays a part here, but it is a very nice campus in Gainesville, Fla. … that, despite being about as far away from any coast as possible in the Sunshine State, manages to give you that near-tropical vibe along with a cool historic district.
5. Clemson University
A real South Carolina gem. Picturesque grounds that manage to highlight both the school and the region, Clemson offers a charming, somewhat southern college experience … without being “overkill” with it. Same thing with its cleanliness – like, it’s not over-the-top, Felix Unger-annoying spotless.
4. Montclair State University
An absolute stunner. Situated on the fringe of urban sprawl in North Jersey, it somehow manages to create an identity more in line with being in the mountains and far removed from any overflowing populace. You’re immediately transported to eye-pleasing tranquility upon entering the campus.
3. Bucknell University
If perfection wasn’t such a turn-off here, this exquisitely manicured ode to small-town, almost rural campuses set in Lewisburg, Pa., probably coasts to the top spot. BU is almost laughably “ideal,” with even a stream running through it. But you can’t ignore that, either.
2. Princeton University
Pretty much along the same perfection plane as Bucknell, just with a more suburban, “we like to link ourselves with New York City” scale. Incredible structures, beautiful grounds, cute town, you want it, Princeton has it … with a little air of “better than any place else” snobbery thrown in for good measure.
1. Pennsylvania State University
It’s an enormous campus, even bigger than Illinois, but it offers everything and then some in spades. Rather isolated from the rest of society, being situated in the mountainous nether regions of central Pennsylvania, the State College entity is a self-sustaining one that shockingly rivals pretty much anywhere for convenience and culture. Eye-popping views abound here, even with most of the ivy-covered exteriors of student housing.
Also considered: University of Pennsylvania, Lafayette College, Flagler College, Stetson University, Cornell University, Yale University, Harvard University, Rutgers University
It’s an enormous campus ... but it offers everything and then some in spades. Rather isolated from the rest of society, being situated in the mountainous nether regions of central Pennsylvania, the entity is a self-sustaining one that shockingly rivals pretty much anywhere for convenience and culture. Eye-popping views abound here, even with most of the ivy-covered exteriors of student housing.