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Old 06-23-2010, 01:07 PM
 
20 posts, read 43,377 times
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Hello. How are you? (I was raised to start off a conversation with that. I know, very unusual in a thread).

I am a high school senior living in Miami, FL, particularly NMB (for those of you who know Miami), and I am considering moving to Boston for college and maybe for a few years after because of the generous financial aid the colleges have and for a change from the Miami culture.

I just wanted to know anything general about the Boston area because I will live on campus, and campuses are safe with lots of food and people, but what about the surroundings? My target school is BU, Harvard, or MIT (whichever accepts me and is the most generous in financial aid). What is the crime rate near any of those areas? I'm not that scared of crime since I know some self-defense, and I live in NMB after all. (For those of you who don't know NMB, houses aren't exactly like those in Miami Vice.) Are there lots of homeless people or guys that just sit in front of a store begging for random things? Are there store shootings or gang issues, esp. concerning racial tension?

Also, I won't bring a car since I can't afford one (insurance, maintenance, and gas), so how is transportation? Are the buses roach-infested and come late, or do they have A/C or heat and arrive early? Are cabs reliable? I heard something about a T-rail??????? or T-something? If you know what that is, I would appreciate an explanation on that.

And most importantly, people. How are the people in Boston? Living in the same house for 16 years, my block is very ethnically and religiously diverse despite the crime and housing market (the real estate market is dead in Miami). Obviously, there are race-segregated places all over the world, but is Boston very racially segregated with all the minorities in one section and all the white people on the other side of town? Mainly, is it tolerant? Despite the crime on my block, no one has ever hated neighbors because they're Filipino or Jewish or Muslim or Hispanic or Haitian or white or West Indian-Pakistani (me).

Thank you in advance for answering any or all of my questions. Add your own two cents about Boston or the colleges or the college students if you want to. Opinions are good to gain perspective of Boston.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
31 posts, read 69,627 times
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Okay Stayinghonest,

I go to Northeastern so I'm not exactly positive about things across the river in Cambridge but generally its better than the BU/Northeastern area and those schools are both in a great part of the city. I don't know Miami at all but I'm willing to gamble that crime is a lot better in Boston, especially where you'll be living.

As for the BU area, the surroundings are generally busy and crime free except the wee hours of the night when there will be tons of college students roaming the city. Generally if you travel in packs, like most freshman do, you'll be completely fine. If you look like a guy who can take care of himself you'll also be completely fine. Once again, I don't know Miami but I think you'll find the housing pretty dense besides west of BU which is still dense but has a lot of houses. Good idea not bringing a car, its not worth it unless you have a job outside of the city. The transportation is excellent in the BU area and I'm willing to say in the Harvard and MIT area too. I don't have too much experience with buses as I have a car in the city but generally they are comfortable, and as a college student you won't ride them much anyways. What you're interested is in the T (as the the MBTA). BU about a million stops on the Green line B Branch which will take you downtown in about ten/fifteen minutes in non-peak hours. If the redsox game is on or its rush hour and you're coming from downtown it could be more like thirty. Look up the MBTA wikipedia page and it will tell you all about it. Harvard is right on the Red line which is more like an actual subway and MIT is close by as well. MIT is also a twenty minute walk over the bridge to the Berklee/Northeastern area.

As for ethnic diversity, BU is going to have a lot of kids from New Jersey and New York but there will be a ton of internationals and kids from all over the country. Harvard is probably a lot of preppy kids but I think that's more of a stereotype. MIT is going to be a ton of international kids as well as kids from all over the country.

As for dangerous areas, most of them are in the south of the city, if you can even call them dangerous. Mattapan, parts of Dorchester and Roxbury are notorious for crime but its really probably light compared to Miami. Mission Hill used to be dangerous but since kids from the longwood area and Northeastern started moving in it has become less and less. As with most places, it's about keeping your wits about you at all times.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:27 AM
 
7,230 posts, read 6,278,089 times
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The T is short for the MBTA, which is the public transportation system. It includes subways, commuter trains, buses and commuter boats. Many people just say "The T" when they are talking about the subway (as in, "I take the T to work, I'm taking the T to that party")

If you move here, you'll get to know it very well, particularly the subway and some buses. In the meantime, you can look at a map of the subway system here:

MBTA.com > Official Website for Greater Boston's Public Transportation System
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Long Beach
2,348 posts, read 2,596,582 times
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I would add Boston is a very young city. There are anywhere between 100,000 and 250,000 college students in the area [the city's total popualtion is 650,000-so it's a large percentage], plus those who stay after graduation. So you will be in good company whether in Cambridge or Boston. But for as young of a city it is, everything closes early. I mean bars and clubs are open til 2am, I think, but everything else closes around 10. But you'll quickly figure things out.

Boston may be the bastion of American Liberalism, but it is governed by Puritans. You may not understand that now, but after a month it'll make perfect sense. For those of use who call MA home, it is very frustrating.

You will walk everywhere, or you'll take the subway, then you'll walk. But buy some walking shoes. You can walk from Massachusetts Ave to Fanueil Hall in about 45min-thats about 2miles. To give you an idea. From BU to downtown might be about an hour. But you'd take the T for that.

When you want to get out, the Commuter rail system goes everywhere-one of the best in the country. Providence is a great weekend destination-we call it Boston Lite. The south shore beaches [Plymouth], the north shore culture [Salem, Gloucester], are all accessible by the purple line.

Boston is a northeatern city. It is a financial, cultural, education, social capital. And it looks and plays that part. People are smart and educated, and a little cranky-but so are New Yorkers. So try not to be offended or put off if a native Boston seems cold and impersonal. Just be personal first, they'll come around to respect that. But people in the service industries are friendly just fine-you'll encounter very little rudeness-but again it doesn't matter where you are.
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:51 AM
 
7,230 posts, read 6,278,089 times
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I'm not sure if you've zeroed in on those 3 schools because of the schools themselves or if you just have decided Boston would be a good place to go to school, but depending on your grades/test scores, you might want to cast a wider net if it's the latter. I hope you don't need anyone to tell you that Harvard and MIT are two of the most competitive schools in the country (if not the world).

Are you planning to visit these schools before you apply?
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:48 PM
 
20 posts, read 43,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabridgienne View Post
I'm not sure if you've zeroed in on those 3 schools because of the schools themselves or if you just have decided Boston would be a good place to go to school, but depending on your grades/test scores, you might want to cast a wider net if it's the latter. I hope you don't need anyone to tell you that Harvard and MIT are two of the most competitive schools in the country (if not the world).

Are you planning to visit these schools before you apply?
I have considered other locations for schools, but I'm focusing on the schools themselves and not the locations. Other places are California, NY, and maybe DC. I don't plan on visiting because I don't want to waste my money if I get rejected. I stayed in Boston for 4 days anyway, so I know some of the layout.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Brookline, MA
613 posts, read 2,151,525 times
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Boston is a great city for college students. There are so many students at so many schools. If you go to school here (or anywhere really) and live on-campus as most students do, your life will be (at least the first year or so) the university bubble. Your experience with people in Boston is going to be much more with your fellow students who are coming from all over the US and the world rather than Bostonians themselves.

There are homeless people and people panhandling here and there. But most are harmless. While it's a city and crime can happen anywhere, the universities aren't near the areas where you see gang violence.

All those schools are in safe areas, but, of course, it is a city so general rules of city safety and smarts do apply. Don't wander around by yourself at 3AM, keep your dorm/apt door locked, etc. All those schools are also on the T so it's very easy to get around. Many people (even non-students) don't have cars and rely on the subway/lightrail and buses to get around.
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