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Old 10-03-2008, 07:32 PM
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As the poster of the question related to colleges -- I am taking both NJ and Penn to be well ranked, and hence college will not be a factor for which side of the border to live in.

If interested in keeping this sticky thread clean, I think this level of discussion on this topic is sufficient for this thread. Thank you.
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:04 AM
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This thread was started at members' request to provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions. This was not intended to be a tug-of-war for best school/neighborhood/hamburger stand etc. Let's get back to the original intent of the thread. To get the ball rolling, I'll try to provide a few talking points in upcoming posts.
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:33 AM
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One popular and important topic discussed here is the quality of schools in the Philadelphia metro.

The Philadelphia School District, like many larger cities, has more of its share of challenges. That said, it appears to be on the slow but steady road to improvement. There are more proverbial diamonds in the rough than one might think. Nonetheless, parents would do well to be proactive and assertive in finding the more well-regarded schools in the city as those tend to face high competition for admission.

At the elementary level, some of the better schools tend to be in or near downtown including Greenfield, McCall and Meredith. (Thanks to newmarlig for frequently reminding me of the names.) Otherwise, I would surmise that the quality of elementary schools is directly affected by parent involvement. I believe that this may be especially the case in many neighborhoods in the NW and NE.

On the high school level. there seem to be more choices. Central High School is arguably the best in the city and more than holds its own with many suburban schools. There is also the Philadelphia High School for Girls aka "Girls' High" for those who feel their daughters would benefit in such an environment. (Until about 25 years ago, Central was essentially "Boys' High" but is now very much co-ed.) Mastermann is the magnet school for gifted kids. There are also other magnet schools based on interests like International Affairs, Engineering & Science, Performing Arts and more.

There are a growing number of charter schools in the city, most of which seem to serve elementary-aged kids. There is also a signficant parochial (Catholic) school presence as well.

As in many metros, the suburban school districts are generally better than in the city and is certainly a popular incentive for incoming families to relocate outside of Philly. Exactly which school district is "the best" is subjective and a regular matter of debate here. If you believe that average income level will determine the quality of schools, then you will want to look into the "Main Line", a collection of "old-money" upscale communities that run NW of the city along Route 30 (Lancaster Avenue). Overall, school districts in the western suburbs tend to rank highly on annual surveys published in the local media. But that's not to say that one can not receive a high quality of education in the northern and NE suburbs; unless you're set on having your child attend Harvard or MIT, then you'll receive a highly satisfactory education in these areas. There are a few unfortunate exceptions in the suburbs: examples that immediately come to mind include some inner-ring suburbs of Delaware County as well as the City of Chester.

I admit to not having much knowledge of NJ or DE schools. I'm sure that there are plenty of good school districts there as well. I'd imagine there would be more detail to be found on the respective state forums.

EDIT: Regarding suburban schools, I also meant to say that unless you're looking for a more personalized teacher-student ratio or have particular spiritual religious beliefs, there may be little significant difference between a private school and many suburban schools.

Last edited by FindingZen; 10-04-2008 at 01:09 PM..
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Old 10-04-2008, 08:49 AM
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There is vibrant nightlife mostly in but also outside of the city.

Most of it will revolve around the many neighborhoods of Center City (what we call the downtown area). These days the epicenter would be in the Old City section, featuring numerous nightclubs, lounges, bars and restaurants. If you like paying bottle service and looking out for local athletes and other celebs, you'll want to hang out here. During the day, there are a number of furniture stores and art galleries to peruse. First Fridays is a popular event where all of the art galleries open to the public.

Above Old City is Northern Liberties, with a more laid-back atmosphere and concentration of bars.

Below Old City is South Street. It's our version of Greenwich Village/Haight-Ashbury albeit more commercial these days with the "takeover" of the Gap, Starbucks and other national chains.

Rittenhouse Square is the most upscale part of town with nightlife. If you're a foodie, then you'll find most of the well-regarded eateries here. There are also a few active lounges as well.

Outside of downtown towards NW Philly, Manayunk is a hilly neighborhood popular with those who reverse commute to suburban jobs. It has been called a "frat boy" scene on this forum. It's probably true that there is an uneasy peace between the long-time residents and the younger population moving in.

Two popular suburban destinations are West Chester and Media. In West Chester, you may share some space on Gay Street with college students at the namesake state school but it's not quite Animal House. In Media, you may find yourself strolling along with younger families and county government workers after-hours.

Two great sources for current nightlife information are Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia City Paper. If you're not in town to spot their respective yellow and orange honor boxes, you can find them online.

Last edited by FindingZen; 10-07-2008 at 07:57 AM.. Reason: City Paper honor boxes are orange.
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:53 PM
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Some threads on this forum that discuss Philadelphia area neighborhoods:

Diverse/Family friendly neighborhoods outside of Phildelphia?

where the rich live in Philly?

Boyertown? Can anyone please give me any information about the area.

Wayne, PA

areas to live near Vilanova

LaSalle University area?
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Old 10-04-2008, 07:59 PM
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Useful threads:

Top Ten Locations Within One Hour of Philly

Negative / positive things about Philadelphia
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:57 PM
Location: Montco PA
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Originally Posted by MoorestownResident View Post
Guys, US News rankings are garbarge. Rutgers trumps any public school in PA. Rutgers is one of the largest and most prestigious research universities in the world. Princeton is Princeton. Nothing in PA can touch them.
Ah, so US News rankings are garbage (I guess because they rank so many of PA's best colleges and universities, of which there are too many to mention, so highly).

But, Money Magazine, which ranked Moorestown as #1 (and I'm not saying it didn't deserve such a ranking) is the Holy Grail?

What are your qualities when you judge such publications?

When living in Philadelphia, there are tons of quality schools in the region. Significantly more are in PA, with a nice mix in city and suburbs.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BPP1999 View Post
Ah, so US News rankings are garbage (I guess because they rank so many of PA's best colleges and universities, of which there are too many to mention, so highly).
Actually, they are, because to say Samford, LSU, Arkansas, Colorado State, Buffalo, Kentucky, Ohio, TCU, Oklahoma, Dayton, Nebraska, Iowa State, Drexel, Baylor, Delaware, Rutgers, etc. are all better schools than Temple is a complete and utter joke.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:11 AM
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There is an Education forum where discussion about colleges would be more than welcome.

In the meantime, let's get back to providing answers to Frequently Asked Questions by prospective and incoming residents.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:05 AM
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Philly area restaurant guide, and any list of the critic's top 25 or 50 restaurants?
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