East Coast vs. West Coast colleges

Which one to pick amongst the East Coast versus West Coast colleges is indeed a million-dollar question? Do you think location really matters when it comes to taking admission in a college? It may be a ‘No’ for some, but the reality is a big ‘Yes’! When you talk about relocating to a different country, then you need to ensure that you get used to their culture and environment as quickly as possible so that you do not end up home sick. Geographical location of your college decides your quality of life and the exposure you would have for the next two years. From people to weather to food and much more, a college’s locality directly has an impact on your life.

Now when we talk about the East Coast and the West Coast of USA, there are some stark differences seen in the food, culture, social norms, fashion sense, weather, technological exposure, business environment, opportunities, etc. If you are planning to take admission in any of these regions, check out the major differences mentioned below as reading this would definitely help you to make a wise decision!

Study Disciplines

East Coast colleges are known for their excellence in business domains and the visual or performing arts whereas the west coast colleges are more known for disciplines of biology and Social Sciences. There are a higher number of ‘prep schools’ on the Eastern seaboard; these prep schools help the candidates to prepare themselves for higher education in colleges and are usually found only on the Eastern Coast.

University Rankings

University ranking must be one of the primary criteria for shortlisting colleges. This also impacts your recruitment by the industries later. You should look at a better ranking university at any time rather than preferring one geographical location over other unless you have some serious health concerns that may flair up in adverse weather.

On the North East region, you will find the prestigious Ivy League compromising of Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, Princeton University, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University. Besides these, there are some other well-known colleges and universities like the Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University to name a few. Please note, that most of these colleges are well-known for offering business degrees. Moreover, choosing an East Coast college would be a wise decision when it comes to a degree in finance as the financial capital is situated on this side. This, in turn, will give you plenty of job opportunities and the proper exposure once you graduate.

Coming to the West Coast, some of the popular names you would find here are California Institute of Technology, Stanford, and the Soka University of America. The California Institute of Technology ranks fifth in engineering and technology faculty ranking, as well as seventh in natural sciences. Talking about Stanford, it holds the number one position for college ranking, third in social sciences & management, fourth in life sciences & medicine and sixth in humanities and natural sciences. And, of course, California is the world’s leading places concerning STEM subjects as well. Hence, you can select the university based on its ranking and the subject you are interested in.

The Campuses

Western Coast colleges are relatively newly built than Eastern coasts and hence have an excellent architectural touch and are equipped with all modern amenities. East Coast colleges have campuses that are smaller and older than their West Coast counterparts. The history of Eastern Coast college’s dates back to hundreds of years ago. Moreover, East Coast campuses are aesthetically pleasing and picturesque with compact buildings. These campuses have everything within walking distance, like Civil War sites, majestic plantations, religious meeting houses are common in east coast regions.

On the other hand, most West Coast Colleges have large campuses. Having modern facilities, these schools spread over miles together and have their own internal transportation systems which are usually buses. Many west coast colleges have their proximity to beaches.

The Weather

Weather is one of the major differentiating factors when it comes to preference of staying for long. Weather can affect your health and can cause you slight discomforts like allergies and all. Most Indian can relate well with the Western coast colleges as the temperatures and weather are much like the tropical country of India. On the other hand, the East coast is marked by high fluctuations in the temperature such as -10 F in winters to 90 F in summers.

Most East Coast regions enjoy four different seasons – spring, summer, fall, and winter. In general, summers are hot and humid while winters are snowy. Moreover, both springs and autumns are damp.

The weather on the West Coast can be generalized to say that most of it are milder than the Eastern Coast. You would never experience dropped temperatures to the extent that it’s snowing all over, neither would you see any hurricane. Summers are very hot and dry, and the winters are very rainy. Moreover, this pattern of the seasons varies from region to region. For example – Los Angeles has a short wet season and a long dry season, while Seattle has a short dry season and a long wet season. Note that the temperatures of the west coast regions do not fluctuate much due to which there are no springs and autumns there.

The People

One cannot honestly predict the nature of people living in any place because of diversity in culture and background. But in general, you could say that the people located on the East coast are cosmopolitan and urbane. On the other hand, residents in the west coast regions have a laid-back reputation and the same in reflected in the campus life as well.

The Festivals

This factor is crucial to consider for students who are music fans – the ones who love clubs, concerts and music shows. On the East coast, nine states celebrate music festivals. On the West Coast, there are only two states with music festivals: Oregon and California.


Well! You would be surprised to know that the road trips on the Eastern Coast are a lot cheaper than on the Western coast. With the major cities in proximity, The East Coast will let you see a lot of cool stuff without the need to wander very far away. The cities are concentrated geographically so much so that you can cover three to four cities in just three hours. Eastern coast is very diverse in nature with Museum of Modern Art which is based in New York, New Hampshire Village in the Forest or Southern cities rich with diverse culture and warm hospitality. There are plenty of beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans that are situated within the few hours of traveling distance.

The West Coast road trips are quite expensive as you have to travel really long to be out of California. For instance, you need to drive for seven long hours to drive from San Francisco to LA. However, if you like to be acquainted with a new city, its history, culture, and other stuff, then west coast road trips can be exciting for then you with new culture and other stuff.

The Sightseeing

If you are time bound due to study pressure and a nature lover, then you would love living on the East coast. The East Coast is the most diverse and much more convenient when it comes to sightseeing off-campus. From historical landmarks to natural sceneries like the Appalachians Mountains, there’s something for everybody with diverse interests. You can visit the New Hampshire village, the Museum of Modern Art or cities of diverse culture, food and music as per your taste. You can even go to a Southern city and learn about their culture. No matter whether you like mountains, lakes, landmarks or rivers, everything is relatively close to each other.

The West Coast’s sightseeing includes its natural landscapes, pristine beaches, Washington’s Pacific Northwestern forests and Oregon’s majestic mountains. It is for you to note that there aren’t many big cities on this coast and moreover, the cities present are far away from each other. This ensures that you must travel a lot to check out nature and beautiful sights around. But what the west coast offers are national parks like the Redwood National Park, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, etc. If you are even slightly interested in camping or hiking, these are a must visit.

The Fashion

Well! Fashion always invites a lot of debate. But, it is critical to consider this parameter before relocating as your fashion sense has a profound impact on your personalities. In foreign countries, you also need to feel at home and would want to mingle with the local crowd. Stark differences in your fashion sense and the local fashion culture can make you feel uncomfortable and out of place.

To keep you informed here are few differences that have been seen and reported by various people. On the Eastern Coast, people want to look chic and stylish all the time. You could see boys dressed mostly in whale pants, Docksides with no socks, bow ties, monogrammed shirts, tassel loafers, khakis and navy blazers and Nantucket reds with their hair swept sideways and perfectly combed. Girls on this coast are the primary attention seekers who prefer chic clothing over casual ones. But, once you enter a campus most students dress on the casual side.

On the other hand, people in the West region prefer simplicity over sophistication. Boys like to put on simple T-shirts with blazers and some nice shoes. Girls love wearing simple jeans with plain tops and tees. The main emphasis of the people on the west coast is to look stylish and effortless without caring about the world.

The Bars

Being a college student your party life will be very active no matter which coast you are on. House parties or Dorm parties are very common. But if you’re looking to go out a lot you will be happier on the East Coast. The accessibility to Bars is much better there.


So, who’s the winner – The east coast or the west coast? From the above facts, it is clear that both the regions are unique in their way. Be it people, fashion, weather, temperatures, food, distances, technological exposure, or study disciplines – each coast has its benefits over the other. So, this information should be kept in mind while narrowing down your choices of school. However, it is advisable to check the ranking of the University for the chosen discipline rather than preferring a geographic location.

But, if you end up getting shortlisted by two different universities on the Eastern Coast or the Western Coast then this information will be come in handy. But, don’t get driven by these contrasting natures of Eastern coast and western coast, these are just the observed differences and a lot depend on your personal outlook and likings too. So, it’s up to you which coast and institution to go for.

We recommend you to do a little more research regarding the colleges present on both the coasts. Ask for referrals from family and friends and gather as much information as possible before opting for any college or university.

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