In the U.S. News & World Report and other national rankings, Princeton University frequently vies with Harvard for the top spot. The schools, however, are very different. Princeton's attractive 500-acre campus is located in a town of about 30,000 people, and the urban centers of Philadelphia and New York City are each about an hour away. With just over 5,000 undergrads and about 2,600 grad students, Princeton has a much more intimate educational environment than many of the other top universities.
 What benefits students most is to consider their niche in order to find a college environment that best suits their goals and personality, from the size of the school, flexibility of the curriculum, culture of the neighboring community, type of specialized programs, number of research and intern opportunities, options for graduate school, and access to alumni. Private schools often offer smaller class sizes, professor-led mentorship, customizable curriculum, merit aid and other benefits. All these factors combine to give students a wide range of options from some of the best academic programs in Florida.
Junior: MIT is an outstanding university with numerous and diverse opportunities in research and academics. Classes at MIT are indeed difficult, with homework and associated studying consuming a large chunk of time. The beauty of this is that it pushes students to go above and beyond their previous understanding of what they believed themselves to be capable of. Additionally, the explorative and creative atmosphere which springs from the vibrancy of the student body and the faculty is second to none. There are so many chances to do great things at MIT, even as an undergrad!
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Sophomore: University of Miami is one of the most beautiful schools structurally as well as exceptionally academic. From its quaint fountain lake to its modern building architecture, UM's landscape is a playground. Ducks, lizards and all types of animals freely live in harmony with the amused students, creating an adventurous atmosphere. Professors are compassionate to individual student concerns, and are always there to aid in understanding the material or to listen with a genuine manner. The students are always grateful, seen walking around campus with a natural bliss created by the mixture of warm weather and visually pleasing stimuli. There are events everyday, either frat promotions, club activities, or donation collections. Donate a dollar and throw a pie in a participant's face! There is always something extracurricular to do on campus such as free concerts; Zedd performed this last year! Although UM is a lot of fun, the library is a special place for commitment to studying.
Junior: Brown University has been an incredible experience and has allowed me to pursue passions that I wasn't even aware I was interested in! The unique open curriculum allows students to take courses from a broad range of subjects and helps to ensure they find the right area of study. I personally believed I wanted to go into biomedical engineering, however, after taking a variety of classes at Brown in environmental studies, I have switched my major. Every teacher, student, and dean is so incredibly passionate about the work and everyone is constantly striving to be better which makes the University an amazing place and experience!
Niche User: Our tour guide was well trained. He waited for someone to leave the dorms to have them tell the group what the best thing was about Amherst. The Dean was very intelligent and knowledgeable and gave a great information session presentation to the group. It is a small liberal arts college which is academically based and hard to get into. A mini Harvard that was scaled down. A shuttle transports you to the other 5 colleges connected with Amherst (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Smith College, Mount-Holyoke College and Hampshire College). If accepted into any one of these colleges, you can attend classes, sports, activities at any of these colleges if they offer something that you are interested in. A nice feature to have offered because all of a sudden there is a larger area of interest, sports and activities to choose from. Making it almost impossible not to have something that you are looking for or interested in which can happen at small schools with limited choices.
Alum: Northwestern is a well-balanced school--top notch academics, great arts programs, amazing engineering and science facilities, in a minor city (Evanston) and very close to a major one (Chicago), and even a bit of sports culture. NU students tend to be fun-loving, driven and ambitious, both in their academic and extra-curricular pursuits. It's definitely a work-hard-play-hard atmosphere when you're on campus, and while there is danger in this as you can easily over-extend yourself (and many students do at some point), it makes for a fulfilling four years.
Cappex.com, a free website that connects students with colleges and scholarships, studied college search behavior by the more than a million students that use their platform to search for colleges each year. Cappex found that while Ivy-league name recognition is high on the list for high school freshmen when they first think about college, students become more in tune with other factors by the time senior year rolls around. In addition to academics, geography and being close to family rank high on the list for seniors searching for a college and are two big reasons Florida is a popular choice. Moderate sunny weather is a huge attraction for students and if extended family or grandparents live in Florida to provide support and connection to home, all the better.
Let’s face it, there are many reasons to live in Florida and to go to college in Florida. Being near the beach, year-round warm weather and access to numerous outdoor activities are the perfect complement to classes, friends and nightlife. Florida’s climate is warm, subtropical and has an average yearround temperature of 82°F. Aside from classes and studying, student life may include sports or participation in Greek or service clubs. There’s so much more to a Florida life than what’s on campus.

Hanover, New Hampshire, is the quintessential New England college town, and Dartmouth College surrounds the attractive town green. The college (really a university) is the smallest of the Ivies, yet it can still boast of the type of curricular breadth we find at the other schools on this list. The atmosphere, however, has more of a liberal arts college feel than you'll find at any of the other top universities.
Niche User: I greatly enjoy the overall ambience of Princeton University. The University truly offers a high quality education, especially as a result of its wonderful professors, some of which are Nobel Laureates. Moreover, the University's network allows for extensive connection between current and graduated students. This leads to great opportunities that would not necessarily be available elsewhere. Lastly, I really believe the Bridge Year program instills a humble nature in students through introducing the opportunity to volunteer for a year abroad. Doing so allows students to mature and experience other cultures prior to embarking on a difficult, yet rewarding task of attending Princeton University.
Florida’s rental housing market (with the exception of Miami) is often more affordable than markets in the Northeast and West. Working students will not pay state income tax, and Florida has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the nation, making everyday purchases like food, gas and nights out on the town less costly. In essence, the cost of going to college in Florida can be much less than many other locations.
Junior: Georgetown University is an incredible university with top-notch professors and academic programs. Professors DO seem preoccupied with their research, but most genuinely care about students. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the university is connected to how pre-professional it is. This can translated to club culture. People are more focused on getting jobs after graduation than most other schools. This is connected to Georgetown's return on investment, however. Well worth coming!
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Hanover, New Hampshire, is the quintessential New England college town, and Dartmouth College surrounds the attractive town green. The college (really a university) is the smallest of the Ivies, yet it can still boast of the type of curricular breadth we find at the other schools on this list. The atmosphere, however, has more of a liberal arts college feel than you'll find at any of the other top universities.


Junior: Georgetown University is an incredible university with top-notch professors and academic programs. Professors DO seem preoccupied with their research, but most genuinely care about students. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the university is connected to how pre-professional it is. This can translated to club culture. People are more focused on getting jobs after graduation than most other schools. This is connected to Georgetown's return on investment, however. Well worth coming!

According to Glassdoor Economic Research, America’s labor market is the healthiest it’s been in a generation, with rising pay, record numbers of unfilled jobs and historically low unemployment. In the 5 Jobs Trends to Watch Report for 2017, Glassdoor researchers report that increasingly, tech graduates (such as data scientists, mobile developers and database engineers) are in high demand for every industry from health care to finance and retail. Fast Company reports that technology and the related software development and computer system careers are areas that will continue to grow, along with artificial intelligence, healthcare and engineering.
UPenn is located in Philadelphia, a city with a lot to do, whether the goal is leisure and entertainment or career advancement and research for a project. But the campus itself is beautiful and busy enough to trap you. There is always something going on, especially if you commit to activities and clubs that interest you. And lastly, everything from your classmates to the professor bring alive that feeling that gives UPenn its cannon as an Ivy League; beyond academic excellence, its people are friendly, intellectually curious, driven, and serviceable, willing to share their passions and desire to grow with others.
Figuring out what college to attend can be a bit like taking a drink from a fire hose, so we’ve assembled a comprehensive guide to selecting the top colleges that are right for you. Using this College Choice Rankings Guide will help you quickly understand the basics of getting into college or university, what to expect once you’re there, some of the ins and outs of good colleges, and the usefulness of college rankings systems in helping you make an informed decision.
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