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Boston: America's College Town

250,000 College Students in Boston: America’s College Town

College is a time to explore the world; and college in Boston gives every student the opportunity to explore in a safe and accessible environment.

Imagine: fueled discussions in coffee shops and visits to the theater and major-league sporting events. Seminars at nearby colleges. Internships at biotech labs, architecture firms, or movie studios. More than ever before, a Boston educational experience extends far beyond the classroom.

In Boston, there’s the gleaming, skyscraper- studded downtown- the heart of all the action. Then, just across the Charles River, there’s the renowned city of Cambridge, where there are surely more Nobel Prize winners, street musicians, coffeehouses, and bookstores per capita than anywhere else on the globe. And just a short subway or commuter train ride away, are quaint but vibrant New England towns, home to some of the best colleges anywhere. Finally, when the time comes, there are fantastic road trips in all directions. Boston is within an hour's drive of Cape Cod, two hours from Newport, RI, less than three hours from the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, and four hours from New York City.

In the 2007 College Destinations Index, a recent nationwide rating of higher-education destinations, one major city stood out from all the rest. It ranked number one in essentially every category –academic environment, cultural and social resources, quality of life, and professional opportunities. That city was Boston, a place where all the right elements converge to offer a world-class education.

Sure, it’s home to more than a quarter-million students, with one in every five people on the street affiliated with higher education. And yes, there are more than 80 colleges in the region, ranging from art schools to music conservatories to women’s colleges to institutes of technology to internship-centered curriculums to liberal arts colleges large and small. But that’s just the start.

Everywhere you look, there’s something going on. The pulsing music venues that gave birth to Aerosmith, John Mayer, and the Dropkick Murphys. The athletic stadiums that are straight out of the sports history books (heard of Fenway Park?). The achievements of classic artists such as Monet, Gauguin, and Renoir at the Museum of Fine Arts, not to mention gems by these masters-- modern-day equivalents at the brand new Institute of Contemporary Art.

No wonder people from all over the world come here to live and to learn. This exhilarating diversity is easy to see in the assorted shops and restaurants of Boston’s many varied neighborhoods, not to mention the international mix of students. Here, eight percent of students are from a different country-- far more than in New York City, San Francisco, or any other major metropolitan area.

Boston perfectly epitomizes the best-kept secret of the college-search process: you're not just picking a college; you're shopping for a way of life.