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Where you should study in the US Quiz

Contemplating college or university in the United States of America? US higher education includes local community colleges, large research universities, close-knit liberal arts colleges,and specialty trade and arts schools. Students can earn certificates, associates, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. There are thousands of colleges, universities, and institutions in the US and each school is unique. While the number of available schools might feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be. We have broken the country into seven geographical regions to help you narrow your search and find your best fit. 


Applying to a US university or college

Before diving into the where, it is important to consider the how and when of applying to college or university in the US. You can apply directly to universities or colleges that interest you; however over 900 colleges in the US participate in the Common App. The Common App allows US and international students to streamline the application process. Rather than filling out individual applications for each school, prospective students can enter their data once and share it amongst the institutions to which they intend to apply.


Do you need to take the ACT or SAT?

While preparing your applications, know that advanced testing for entry, known as the ACT or SAT, may be required. Many schools have suspended the requirements for the ACT and SAT during the COVID-19 pandemic, but these standardized tests are used to help determine a student’s eligibility for entrance into the university or college of their choosing and many colleges still accept or are reinstating requirements for these test results. 


How much will it cost to study at a US university or college?

US tuition rates can fluctuate based upon a student’s home state or country. For example, many state schools offer an in-state tuition rate for residents, but charge more for out-of-state or international students. Tuition rates will also vary depending on whether a college or university is public or private. Many students are eligible for financial aid. To find out, you can complete the FAFSA, which helps students qualify for and receive financial aid. Federal financial aid is generally not available to international students, so this should be considered when determining how you would like to pay for your education. 


When should you apply to a US university or college?

Most colleges and universities in the US follow a two-semester schedule.  The fall semester begins in late August or early September and usually ends in December. The spring semester begins in January and typically ends in May.  Most applications for fall enrollment are due by the end of January and universities and colleges usually respond to these applications by mid-March. May 1st is College Decision Day and is generally the deadline for accepting offers of admission from a university or college for fall enrollment.  Some colleges and universities accept late admissions and applications to begin in the spring semester, so it is important to find out what is required by the schools that interest you.


Now that you know more about how and when to apply to a US college or university, check out the seven regions of the United States to help figure out which school is the right fit for you.


The seven United States regions


Located in the northeast corner of the United States are:


  • Maine

  • Vermont

  • New Hampshire

  • Massachusetts

  • Connecticut

  • Rhode Island


These are some of the oldest states in the United States and the region has a storied history that is embraced by its universities and colleges. Also known as New England, the Northeast is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the country. In addition to four of the eight Ivy League schools, the Northeast boasts Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, Boston University, Bowdoin College, and Providence College. Students will also find large land-grant universities and many charming liberal arts colleges. 


New England is known for its snowy winters and temperate summers. This region has a bit of everything, from bustling cities like Boston and Providence, all the way to outdoor adventures in Acadia National Park and the White Mountains. An up and coming region in regards to technology and job opportunities, the Northeast is the ideal location for a student who wants to settle in and make their way in the world.



Those interested in living and studying in 


  • New York

  • Pennsylvania

  • New Jersey

  • Delaware

  • Maryland

  • Washington, DC 


will find themselves in the mid-Atlantic region. These states are where the remainder of the Ivy League schools reside. There is also a  plethora of other amazing schools to choose from, including New York University, George Washington University, Rutgers University, Vassar College, and Barnard College. 


Those seeking a fast-paced lifestyle along with the excitement, culture, and activity that comes from living near or in a large city will not be disappointed. New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. play host to amazing nightlife, history, art life, front-row seats to US politics, theater, and shopping. This region is also home to one of the most robust job markets in the world. The mid-Atlantic region is a great place to attend school and make long-lasting connections that can help you take your next steps after you finish school. 



If the hustle and bustle of the eastern seaboard is too much, consider the more relaxed way of life in the Midwest. This region includes:  


  • North Dakota

  • South Dakota

  • Nebraska

  • Kansas

  • Minnesota

  • Iowa

  • Wisconsin

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Michigan

  • Ohio


With overall lower population density, these states offer students a great opportunity to find their place at a school where they can connect, and make a lasting impression on their professors, as well as fellow students. 


Moving to the Midwest doesn’t mean you have to give up the opportunity to for a big city experience. The Midwest’s urban powerhouses like Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit and Milwaukee give you access well-known universities such as the University of Chicago, Notre Dame University, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, and Oberlin College. 


If big city life isn’t for you, you can also find yourself at smaller, rural or suburban institutions that allow you to experience small-town living without sacrificing education quality. North and South Dakota, as well as Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas offer chances to get really involved with your school and the community. Plus, you might get to find out what’s in a Midwest salad (hint, it usually isn’t lettuce).



The south has its own unique culture, history, and traditions. If you are looking to learn more about the southeastern part of the United States, or hoping to attend one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country, start your search with schools in 


  • Missouri

  • Kentucky

  • West Virginia

  • Virginia

  • Arkansas

  • Tennessee

  • North Carolina

  • Louisiana

  • Mississippi

  • Alabama

  • Georgia

  • South Carolina

  • Florida 


Universities in the south are steeped in tradition, and football is hugely popular. Students are very involved in campus life and for students looking to get involved in Greek Life, the southeastern schools are home to some of the largest and most active fraternity and sorority organizations in the country. 


Some of the top schools in the southeast include Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University, Emory University, and William & Mary University, amongst countless others. With over 600 colleges and universities in the southeast alone, there are plenty to choose from. 


Summers in the Southeast are hot and humid and winters are mild, so there are lots of opportunity to get outdoors and explore. The Southeast is home to many gorgeous, historic, and architecturally significant cities like Charlotte, Miami, Savannah, New Orleans, and Sarasota where you can sample the fabled southern cuisine and enjoy vibrant nightlife . The region is also home to several of the country’s most famous attractions, such as Walt Disney World, Graceland, Dollywood, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For students who are interested in a career in music, Nashville sits at the center of the United State’s country music industry. 



A small but mighty region, the southwest offers so much for students to explore. Included in this region are 


  • Arizona

  • New Mexico

  • Oklahoma

  • Texas


Going to school in the Southwest gives you a chance to explore top-notch education from schools such as Rice University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Arizona. 


Both Texas and Arizona boast a great community college system and the Southwest has several well-respected Christian schools like Southern Methodist University, the University of the Southwest, and Baylor University. You will also find a number of noteworthy tribal land-grant colleges like the Institute of American Indian Arts, Diné College, and Bacone College. 


As a rule, the southwest is generally hot, with a desert-like climate, though the mountainous areas, like those in Arizon and New Mexico, can receive snow. Austin and Dallas are both well-known for great food and music and students can visit some of the nation’s oldest and most infamous historical sites, like the Alamo. The Southwester landscape is unlike any other in the nation, with stretches of desert, towering rock formations, and ancient cacti protected in national parks perfect for weekend adventures.



Heading north, the Mountain region encompasses 


  • Idaho

  • Montana

  • Nevada

  • Utah

  • Colorado

  • Wyoming


For those looking to study amongst some of the most majestic scenery in the United States - and the world - this region is for you. 


The Rocky Mountains are home to some amazing schools, including the United States Airforce Academy, Colorado School of Mines (aka the Mines), the University of Denver, University of Utah, and the University of Wyoming. There are several specialty schools in the region as well, such as Brigham Young University, which was founded by the Mormon Church, New Saint Andrews College, which offers only one Liberal Arts degree path, and Neumont College of Computer Sciences. 


The Mountain region is a unique environment. Many of the cities are located at a higher elevation, which can require some getting used to and for those who want an active, outdoors lifestyle, this area simply cannot be beat. Home to some of the USA’s most famous and rugged National Parks, such as Yellowstone and Glacier, there are endless opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, and exploring.Winter sports enthusiasts will find some of the best skiing in the world and the region’s fast-growing cities - like Boulder and Denver - are increasingly popular with young people looking for social and economic stability - and a great craft beer scene. 



Last but not least is the Pacific region, which is about as diverse as you can imagine. This region includes 


  • California

  • Oregon

  • Washington

  • Alaska

  • Hawai’i


Starting in California, students will find some of the most prestigious universities in the country including Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology.  The state offers nearly as much geographic variety as the entire region and students can choose from temperate ocean areas, deserts, and lush, forested mountains. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco offer endless opportunities for adventure before and after after graduation. California can be an expensive place to live, so take that into consideration when making your selection. 


Moving to the Pacfic northwest, Oregon and Washington have beautiful coasts with amazing beaches and cornerstone cities such as Portland and Seattle where you will find high-quality schools like Washington State University and the University of Oregon. Seattle is perfect for coffee-lovers and the city continues to lead the way in the technology industry. Portland features extensive green spaces, gorgeous views of the mountains, and an easy escape to hiking and wilderness adventures. 


Alaska is the largest state in the United States, but the least populated. Students planning to attend one of the state’s seven colleges or universities can expect small, diverse class cohorts. According to U.S. News Anchorage has one of the most diverse populations in terms of ethnicity and culture in all the U.S.,” in part due to the number of  Alaskan natives that reside in the state. 


Hawaii is located about 2,500 miles from California, and has 16 colleges, including the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The lifestyle in Hawai’i can’t be beat, with its tropical environment, pristine beaches, surfing, and fresh food. It can be expensive to live there, so make sure to plan ahead.


There’s no doubt that there are a lot of amazing schools in the United States, and that each region is unique, interesting, and has tons to offer prospective students. Interested in finding out which school is right for you? Take our US Regions Quiz to figure out where you should go to school!