What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Going to College in the Northeast?

As with virtually any college decision, there are some major advantages and disadvantages of going to college in particular areas of the country and the Northeast is not exception. This region of the United States offers major perks to students, including its proximity to the country’s largest urban centers and some of its highest-paying jobs. Even so, many students might find that there are at least a few drawbacks to attending a college located in the most densely populated, highest cost-of-living area in the country. Before making a decision on any school in this region of the United States, make sure to fully consider its pros and cons.

The Advantages of a Northeastern College or University

The northeastern part of the United States is a national hub for employment, academia, and cultural enrichment. There are some essential advantages to choosing this part of the country over others when attending college.

1. Ease of Access to, and Proximity to, Major Urban Centers
The northeastern United States is home to a stretch of major urban centers that have often been called a “megalopolis.” This is because they’re each easily accessible and, due to their size, they almost all combine into one very large city. Students who study in New York City, for instance, are within just a few hours of Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and Richmond. Better yet, commuter and interurban rail systems link these major urban destinations and make it easier for students without a car to access amenities.

2. Prestige of Major Northeastern Universities
Many of the northeastern colleges and universities are older and have gained added prestige for their vast networks, academic reputations, and knack for guiding students toward lucrative employment opportunities after graduation. This region of the country is home to all of the Ivy League universities, of course, but it’s also home to major state universities like Penn State, Rutgers, the University of Connecticut, and the top-ranked UMass campuses.

3. Employment Opportunities Abound for Graduates

In a region with many major urban centers, from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to Brooklyn and Baltimore, students have an astounding number of places and companies where they can leverage a newly minted college degree. Even better, the easy mobility between the Northeast’s major cities, suburban areas, and exurban communities, means that upward mobility into higher-paying positions will be made easier. Job relocation often means just a slightly different commute, rather than a cross-country move.

The Disadvantages: The Other Side of the Debate

For all of its many perks and advantages, the northeastern part of the country does have at least a few drawbacks that students should consider. Before making things official with a northeastern college or university, consider these viewpoints.

1. High Cost of Living

This part of the country is densely populated and full of major urban centers, but it’s also full of some of the most expensive towns and counties in America. The suburbs of most major northeastern cities have a median home price above $300,000. Many cities have home prices that exceed $500,000 for very minimal square footage. Combined with higher tax rates, higher average fuel prices, and highway toll expenses this could add up to an unsustainable reality for recent grads.

2. Relatively Limited Population Growth
The Northeast is big, but it’s getting bigger very slowly. Dynamic growth in the United States is currently concentrated in the southern and southwestern parts of the country. This isn’t bad news for most students, but those who graduate into a profession that depends on population growth may find it very competitive to get a job in this region. Teachers, social workers, counselors, and others in similar roles may want to think twice.

An Excellent Part of the Country for College Students

Despite its drawbacks, the northeastern United States is primarily a positive experience and destination for today’s college and university students. Though there are many advantages and disadvantages of going to college in the Northeast, the advantages of a better education, better proximity to major urban centers, and better job prospects for most graduates, make the Northeast a solid place to live, learn, and grow.

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