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Old 10-13-2013, 12:57 PM
 
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I am studying BA American Studies at a university in Ireland. I am in my first year, however, I have been told to start researching destinations for our year abroad. I have a full list of partner universities and I have bolded and given some info about why I like the look of that specific university. Could you help me decide, because I won't have chance to visit all of my potential choices beforehand.

University of Alaska - Anchorage: Although I am looking for a quintessentially American college experience, I feel studying in Alaska could be very interesting and unique. I am not sure whether this would be advised though considering I am supposed to gather research on my year abroad to use in my dissertation*.
University of Arizona - Tucson: I am very interested in the Wild West and this could be a good place to study, but I am not a fan of the heat and I don't think Arizona is the type of experience I am looking for.
Binghamton University (SUNY) - Binghamton, NY: This seems a familiar yet foreign place to go to. I mean, the East Coast isn't that different to Ireland (or so I am told).
University of California - Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz
University of Colorado - Boulder
Florida International University - Miami
Framingham State University - Framingham, MA
George Mason University - Fairfax, VA: This is near the top of my list. I would like to be near DC so I can make regular visits to the museums and monuments there. I want a traditional US college experience and I have heard this is a commuter campus.
Georgetown University - Washington, DC: I'd love to study here but I won't get the grades. The top percentile of the class gets a place here, so it is more or less off limits.
Goucher College - Baltimore, MD: I like the idea of liberal arts colleges and this is one. It's also in Baltimore, a city I've always been very curious about - I also have a soft spot for the Ravens (watching them right now) despite claiming to be a neutral.
University of Hawaii - Manoa
Hobart and Williams Smiths Colleges - Geneva, NY
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
University of Kansas - Lawrence: This seems a great choice, however, I have heard Kansas is pretty boring, and there isn't much history I am interested in centred here.
Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge
University of Maine - Orono: I love the look of Orono but I am not sure whether or not Maine is rich in history of interest to me.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst: This seems a good fit. I like the campus but not the party school status.
Middlebury College - Middlebury, VT: Stunning campus, but too isolated.
University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, MN: Also near the top of my list. Minneapolis has been a city I've wanted to visit for a while. However, I am not sure what historical topics I could research here.
University of Mississippi - Oxford, MS
University of Missouri - Columbia and St. Louis: Typical college experience, however, possibly too isolated/mundane.
University of New Mexico - Albuquerque
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill: This looks a VERY nice university with good academics and in a location with lots of history that I find interesting (i.e. civil war, civil rights)
University of Notre Dame - Notre Dame, IN: Typical college experience, and it's not far away from Chicago which is 2nd to NY on my list of cities to visit. I am fascinated by the mobsters in Chicago and this could be an interesting dissertation topic.
Occidental College - Los Angeles, CA
University of Oklahoma - Norman: Lovely town, however, I've heard it to be boring. Also, near Wild West sites.
University of Oregon - Eugene: Same reasons as Maine.
Plattsburgh (SUNY) - Plattsburgh, NY: Same reasons as Binghamton.
University of Redlands - Redlands, CA
Reed College - Portland, OR
University of Rhode Island - Providence, RI
University of Richmond - Richmond, VA: Great for civil war research, and a good university. However, I've heard it's very fratty and they're not my type of people.
Roanoke College - Salem, VA: Nice campus, good location, but apparently poor academics.
Rutgers - New Brunswick, NJ
San Francisco State University - San Francisco, CA
Stetson University - DeLand, FL
St. Olaf College - Northfield, MN: Close proximity to MPLS is my only reasoning.
Temple University - Philadelphia, PA: Philly: "The Birthplace of America". Need I say more? VERY POPULAR CHOICE - OVERSUBSCRIBED.
Tulane University - New Orleans, LA
University of Utah - Salt Lake City: I don't know if SLC is for me. Too many mormons and I prefer to look of east coast cities to west coast (that's why there's no California universities in bold).
Westminster College - Fulton, MO

*I am specialising in US History, specifically 1800s to modern day.

Criteria:
- Good/average academics. No party colleges.
- Good location. Easy to get to and in a place rich in interesting history (mainly Civil War or anything post-1890).
- Not too hot. I don't mind the cold (obviously not freezing all year round).
- Typical US college experience.
- Not a 'fratty' college.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:41 PM
 
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UC Berkeley all the way.

Good academics, great campus, great weather and unique city and environs (non-fraternity) and very close to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It's almost a vacation for you of sorts. If you were going for a full program, my opinion would be different.

Some of the colleges in Washington, DC would also be good and Reed College in Portland.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:36 PM
 
13,182 posts, read 31,916,046 times
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US History - Temple in Philadelphia, no question. I would agree with your remarks. REALLY good place for a history major. I think it meets all of your criteria.

I would throw out any of the big State U's if you don't want a party college.

And just an FYI, Roanoke is not especially a slacker college - Roanoke rises to a third Up & Coming recognition from U.S. News - Roanoke College - Salem, Virginia
Quote:
For the third time in four years, Roanoke College has been recognized as an Up and Coming college by U.S. News & World Report's college rankings. Roanoke advanced to the No. 2 spot in the Up and Coming National Liberal Arts colleges. The list is part of the magazine's Best Colleges 2014 rankings. Roanoke's No. 2 recognition this year is up from last year's No. 4 ranking on the same list and a No. 7 spot in the 2011 U.S. News Best Colleges ranking.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:38 PM
 
11,667 posts, read 15,668,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
US History - Temple in Philadelphia, no question. I would agree with your remarks. REALLY good place for a history major. I think it meets all of your criteria.

I would throw out any of the big State U's if you don't want a party college.

And just an FYI, Roanoke is not especially a slacker college - Roanoke rises to a third Up & Coming recognition from U.S. News - Roanoke College - Salem, Virginia
Temple University, no question?

It's located in a very sketchy area and Philly isn't the place I'd want to be if I had a year to spend in one US City. It ain't bad though.
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:50 AM
 
24,944 posts, read 39,269,794 times
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I would vote for George Mason University first overall. It has a good academic reputation, a very international student body and you'd be just outside of Washington DC which provides unlimited academic and cultural opportunity plus easy rail/bus access to Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia, NYC and Boston for side trips. If you're looking for more the typical American college experience you can't go wrong with the University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill is a "postcard college town", the campus is beautiful and UNC has an excellent reputation in terms of academics, ranking as one of the top public universities in the country. It has a welcoming student body despite being a state university and draws students from all over the US (and world) making it much less cliquey than many. I know first hand the US History Department is excellent and there will be plenty of academic opportunities to explore.
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads
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University of Richmond has a beautiful campus and many of my peers went there and had great experiences. I have also had pals who lived oncampus at George Mason University who have had great experiences.

I might be biased towards Virginia though. It is a shame your school doesn't have a partnership with University of Virginia, because that might be your perfect fit.
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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College of William and Mary would be awesome.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Camberville
15,029 posts, read 20,044,210 times
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A few things of note:

1. The East Coast is not "too like" Ireland. My college was based in Boston and for one of my 3 study abroad locations, I spent 6 months in London. The two cities are considered by many to be similar, but it was still a huge culture change. Don't get too caught up in "will it be too similar?" It won't. No matter where you are.

2. Keep public transit and airports in mind. If you go to Alaska, you're just going to be in Anchorage with little opportunity to travel. Many of the big state schools you listed are in more out of the way college towns. Living in Boston now, it is near impossible to get to UMass-Amherst without a car. UMass, UOklahoma, UMissouri-Columbia, UOregon, Binghamton, Middlebury, and especially UMaine are going to feel isolated - especially without a car. Keep in mind that public transit here is nothing like Europe. Even getting from my college a few miles outside of Boston into the city could take over an hour - and only if you timed it right with buses and trains. That all said, the best train system in the country is between Washington, DC and Boston. Ideally, pick something in that range if only for ease of travel.

3. In many cases, you can't rent a car in the US if you are under 25, so look for campuses that have ties to ZipCar, a car sharing company that often has deals with colleges. Otherwise, it could be very difficult to impossible to get to historical sights that you want to study.

4. Reconsider some of the western schools. You keep mentioning the "Wild West", which makes me wonder why you aren't considering UColorado-Boulder. It's a great school, Boulder is a hip town with public transit links into Denver, and is close to the "wild west" Rockies. Also, several of the UC schools are close to the gold mining towns.

Minneapolis and Chicago could be interesting places to study the industrial revolution and Great Migration of newly freed blacks from the South to industrial positions in the North. Minneapolis is the birthplace of the American Indian Rights movement that grew up around the Civil Rights movement - that would be a really interesting and unique topic to study.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:48 AM
 
Location: USA
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George Mason University.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Central Mass
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Arizona is nice, and during the school year is quite mild (besides September and May). It would be between 60 and 80F ever day. Except the 5 days a year it rains in the winter, then it'll be in the 50s.
BUT, it is very "fratty". The Greek system is very big on the campus.
During the summer, it does get very, very hot though.

Framingham State is kinda an interesting choice. Not the greatest school, academically. Probably 3rd or 4th tier in Mass (If you consider Harvard/MIT 1st tier, BU/BC/Northeastern/UMass-Amherst 2nd tier, Umass Lowell/Dartmouth/Boston 3rd, xxx State would be 4th). BUT, while Framingham itself is the heart of MetroWest Boston - is totally strip malls, malls and wealthy suburbanites, it is a quick rail trip to Boston.
Sure, Boston wasn't the #1 US city after 1800, but you do get some good areas, and Lowell (~20 miles north of Framingham) is the birthplace of the industrial revolution in the states. Most the old mills still exist in Lowell too.
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