There's a lot more to finding the best place to go to college than just whether a school is considered the best at something. College is a time to find yourself, to enjoy your youth, to make mistakes and learn outside of the classroom, so you might as well go somewhere interesting.
With that in mind, The Huffington Post set out to name the most interesting places to go to college. This list includes small and large colleges, public and private, Ivy League and liberal arts schools.
The list is not ranked in any order and is entirely subjective. What might be interesting to one person could be boring to the next, so each school included brings its own unique qualities that make it interesting.
Sometimes you just want to know where you're going to have a good time and this list should help.
Check out the most interesting colleges and universities in the list below, and head to the comments section to chime in on what school you find the most interesting.
Cal is a state school that is often considered
as good or better
than many elite private and Ivy League schools. It has big football and basketball programs. It's in the beautiful Bay Area. Plus, there's all the protests. That whole Occupy movement in 2011? Cal students used the "Occupy" tag two years earlier in 2009
when they staged sit ins on campus like it was the 1960's. When Cal isn't consumed by protest, faculty are winning awards in nearly every field
Iowa may be best known currently as the top party school
in the nation, which was only further boldened thanks to "Vodka Samm." Business Insider called it the No. 2 school
on their "Most Fun" list.
But it's also a campus that will have the rare privilege throughout 2015 to have virtually every presidential candidate on campus. In 2007, it was totally normal to walk to English class while spotting then-Senator Barack Obama giving a speech. Add in a med school, a law school, Ashton Kutcher stopping by wrestling matches
, some wild football
tailgating and a sweet outdoor pedestrian mall
, and you have a surprisingly fun time in flyover country.
The Huffington Post/Tyler Kingkade
Cooper Union is a historic, yet small, arts and engineering college in lower Manhattan. Abe Lincoln gave one of his most important
speeches at the school in 1860
, and around the corner from the campus is a bar
that has a chair Lincoln once sat in. Cooper Union has less than 1,000 students, and currently no one pays a tuition bill. That could change soon, however, with a recent decision to begin
charging tuition in fall 2014. Which leads to what makes this school so interesting: a large amount of students have been protesting
, continuously for two months
in some cases and incorporating art in their activism
. Being creative types, they devised unique ways to keep their protests moving, like creating a pizza pulley system
To start, it's in Los Angeles. Maybe not in the best neighborhood
, but still. It's one of the larger private schools, so it offers an atmosphere usually reserved for flagship universities -- like a big football culture and enrollment topping 30,000. Dr. Dre is starting his own
school there. It has one of the most diverse student bodies
. A ton of movies and TV shows were filmed on campus
: "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," "D2: Mighty Ducks II," "Forrest Gump," "The Graduate," "Legally Blonde (1 & 2)," "Matilda," "Young Frankenstein," "The Office," "The OC" and "Saved by the Bell," to name a few. And sometimes Will Ferrell randomly shows up
Another school in Iowa, which will be sure to play host to a number of candidates in 2015 trying to be the next president of the United States. Yes, there are other early primary states, but none get as much attention as Iowa. And since this school is in the state capital -- Des Moines -- and has a law school, so you're going to have a lot more happening around politics here. But if politics isn't your thing, and you dream of working for Better Homes & Gardens, then lucky for you this school has connections with its publisher, Meredith
, headquartered only a few miles from campus.
One of the other biggest benefits is that Des Moines is a small pond where one can quickly become a big fish. The region is right in the middle of a burgeoning Silicon Prairie
for anyone with a great idea for an app. For entertainment, it's a lot cheaper getting a drink or nice dinner compared to big cities like Chicago or New York. (Don't be surprised when you find bars offering two whiskey-sodas for $3.) There's plenty of delicious Jimmy John's spots nearby, and the university hosts an annual event called the Drake Relays that turns into a massive party
A lot of private colleges have a history of first being all-male, then going co-ed in the 20th century. Vassar was all-female and coeducated in 1969, and today is one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country. FDR was once a Vassar trustee. Today, it's full of weirdness as one of the most hipster schools in the nation. As Unigo put it
, "Beyond your usual a capella groups and dance teams, though, Vassar's clubs include juggling troupes, all-female theater collectives, erotic journals, and punk music enthusiasts -- these are the kind of niche activities that should appeal to any student who felt alienated in high school because of an interest no one else shared." There's even a quidditch team
! Which fits with the Roman Gothic architecture.
If you're a Longhorn, you've got a major football team, your president is constantly in a major political fight
, your school is the center of a major Supreme Court case
and sometimes conservative students try to hold
demonstrations around that issue with bake sales that the administration considers "deplorable." Besides all that, you're in Austin, and have a front-row seat to the SXSW
festival and constant block parties. Keep Austin Weird, UT.
The Huffington Post/Tyler Kingkade
When celebs get bored, sometimes they go to NYU
, like the Olsen twins
or James Franco
. Or at least you can catch celebrities walking around the campus
. It's hard to get much more interesting than going to school in Greenwich Village. Instead of hitting up a frat rager or a kegger at some kid's decrepit party house, students here go to hip loft and warehouse parties. It's a school where your part time job might be an internship at a major magazine or TV network, maybe working for a late-night TV show. After class you can take a stroll down Broadway and go shopping at stores that aren't located anywhere else in the country. On the weekend, head to the middle of campus and join the massive pillow fight
in the same spot where people spend their nights playing acoustic guitars and bongos for change.
In most classes at Sarah Lawrence, there will never be more than 15 students. There are no required courses
, traditional exams are mostly tossed out the window, and their faculty advisors are referred to as "dons." The school bucked the trend of kowtowing to college rankings
, but still gets considered one of the best
. It has international programs in four countries, including Cuba
When you go to a powerhouse football school
, it's usually way more exciting as a fan than say, being a fan of the Redskins while living in Washington, D.C. If you're dressed in boat shoes and Vineyard Vines, you're in good company with a school that's very supportive of its Greek system
. Although that system was still desegregating in 2013
. Not exactly the best thing to be known for, but it was definitely an interesting time on campus for people fighting for equality, like those in the Mallet Assembly
Every time we hear about things happening at Arizona State, we wish we would've gone there for school. Just look at the fun Daniel Tosh had visiting there
! It's a party school
, with big basketball, football and other sports programs, but it's not far from taking a quick vacay to Los Angeles, or Las Vegas if you ever want to leave the campus. It's one of the largest public universities by enrollment. And if you go here, you can count David Spade and Temple Grandin as fellow alumni.
MIT is a world-renowned university at the cutting edge in a number of fields and its students are always inventing unique things. Fraternity brothers have one of the fanciest beer pong tables
we've ever seen, the university is creating affordable 3D printers
, grad students figured out how to turn Play-Doh and bananas into controllers
, they figured out how to get all the ketchup out of a bottle
and Fran Drescher dates
faculty members who claim to have invented email.
That's only the start of what the minds of MIT come up with. If we tried to list them all, we'd never finish. And if there's some way to ever get bored with all of that, the university is down the street from Harvard (which co-invented edX with MIT
) and across the river from the wonderful city of Boston.
There's something about UC-Santa Barbara that seems to make everyone there so chill. If they weren't, we doubt the YouTube channel whatever
would be doing so well. It's a party school
, but still considered a Public Ivy. Champions of men's soccer and water polo. It's got an athletic student body
, a very stinky flower
, and all of this next to the Pacific Ocean. What could be better than a top ranked university
on a campus with its own beach?
CORRECTION: This list previously counted filmmaker John Hughes as an Arizona State University alum, based on Biography's article. According to the New York Times and PBS, he actually attended the University of Arizona. It also stated Brown "used to" hold a "Sex Power God" party, which still occurs annually.