From the Desk of Alan Sheptin:
Philadelphia: A Great College Town
I believe it was the comedian W.C. Fields that once said that first prize would be one week in Philadelphia, second prize would be two weeks.
In that game, I’d gladly take second prize. In fact, I spent the best four years of my young adulthood in Philadelphia, a place that is always near and dear to my heart.
Way back when I matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia was starting to emerge. It was known as a restaurant city, and I was never for lack of a great place for a meal. I loved being able to walk from campus to Center City (Philadelphia’s retail and business district) in 20 minutes and meander further to Society Hill to admire the pristine row houses or visit the funky shops of South Street.
Like many urban metropolises, Philadelphia has experienced a revival. It has been called New York’s sixth borough, given the fact that it takes about 90 minutes to drive there from New York City. There are cool neighborhoods galore, amazing retail, history that rivals any European city, and restaurants to satisfy every palate and budget. And, hotels from posh to boutique abound.
But, believe it or not, Philadelphia, with over 340,000 higher ed learners, has almost as many university students as does Boston, which has about 345,000 students. And the breadth of schools is amazing: from the ivy-covered walls of the University of Pennsylvania to the rah-rah of Villanova, to the small, intimate learning experiences Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Rosemont and Ursinus provide, there are wonderful places to learn all over Philadelphia.
Have a desire to do a co-op program? Consider Drexel, which has built up its campus to rival any urban university. Want an amazing business program? Wharton, of course, is number one in the United States, but Villanova is on its heels. Want to leverage the campuses of many schools without the hustle-bustle of the city? The Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr consortium may be schools to ponder.
And, if you are a basketball fan, what other town offers the excitement of five – yes five – amazing hoops teams? The Big Five: Penn’s Quakers. La Salle’s Explorers. Villanova’s Wildcats. The Temple Owls. St. Joe’s Hawks. Need I say more?
And if you need to get out of the City of Brotherly love, New York and DC are both a short train ride away. Don’t forget, though, the University of Delaware is less than one hour from University City. It was voted the best college town (and it is really nice). Want the experience of a small teaching college?
So, if you want a large city that is affordable with quality of life and much to offer in all respects, take a look at the many schools in Philadelphia and its surroundings. You’re sure to find something that will excite you.