Quintessential College Town-where?

Looking for suggestions of schools with that “college town” feel. D22 wants to major in nursing and will consider non direct admit programs with the right vibe. Larger school with big athletic programs, club sports, a “work hard, play harder” philosophy with a hometown/main street.

Basically UDel.

I want to make sure we are aware of all of options I may not have considered. Likely mid atlantic area, may consider CT, VA and NC.

Our current list. She is only “excited” about JMU. I am interjecting her sentiment in parentheses. Hoping to find something else she is drawn too.
Udel (its fine)
JMU (love but not DA)
Temple (too urban)
Villanova (I’ll never get in)
Pitt (maybe)
Duquesne (too small)
West Chester (everyone goes there)
Clemson (might be too far)
UMiami (only if we relocate)

Trying to get on the list:
Fairfield (only if I can swim there)
UConn (too cold)
George Mason (no football)

Stats might help make a better list. Finances too.

Wake Forest has work hard, play hard rep.

I’d keep Miami in the list. A friends daughter graduates this year. She’s going to PA school. She’s a work hard, play hard type.

Maybe Penn State or South Carolina.

Thanks, good call.

3.97 UW/ 4.15 W
Will have 4 APs and 12 honors
Decent ECs mostly athletics and school club leadership, NHS, volunteering and healthcare job shadowing.
Poor SAT but taking ACT and retaking SAT
Able to full pay anywhere

Penn State we removed because clinicals require moving to the Hershey area for a year.

Will look at SC thanks!

With an interest in nursing, college town feel should be the least of her considerations. The most important factor should be whether there are high quality teaching & research hospitals in the area where she can be placed for clinicals because that’s where she’ll learn best practices. Typically these hospitals are in big cities.

She should also not assume that she “can’t get in” based on the entry requirements of the college or university as a whole. The admissions requirements for the nursing school will normally not be the same as for the college of engineering. You can get more information by contacting the college’s nursing school directly. I would definitely keep Villanova on the list.

In addition to Villanova, I’d look at University of Maryland and Georgetown.

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Case Western? Syracuse?

If she can get in the nursing program and you are willing to pay, Wisconsin would be on the top of that list. Basically you described almost every Big Ten school.

What state do you live in?

I would reconsider Penn State…this coming from a Pitt grad. My wife’s first job out of nursing school was Hershey Medical Center. Great experience. It’s a teaching hospital and they do just about everything. She’ll be exposed to so many areas. Hershey is a nice area and it wouldn’t be tough to get an apartment. Maybe share with other students.

The most important thing to look for are clinical opportunities and being on or close to campus. That’s why Pitt’s nursing school is top-notch and very competitive. I bet the average SAT/ACT for nursing is 1400 or close to it…which isn’t far off from engineering. Top nursing programs are very competitive.

Direct entry nursing programs typically have a 10% or less acceptance rate as studeht numbers are typically capped.

Maryland does not have nursing on its traditional College Park campus. One would have to leave for UM School of Nursing in Baltimore or Shady Grove.

“Q: I’m confused; I start at University of Maryland College Park but will not finish there?

That is correct. Once you progress to University of Maryland School of Nursing, you are no longer a student at University of Maryland College Park. University of Maryland School of Nursing will confer your BSN degree.

Q: I understand that the School of Nursing has two campuses, one in Baltimore and one at the Universities at Shady Grove. Which one will I attend?

This is an individual choice. Before you matriculate to the School of Nursing, you may select which campus you prefer.“


Likely not a match but given you said quintessential college town -

UNC - impossible OOS and #s aren’t there.

Ohio U - likely get in.





Alabama (great aid) and UAH (not a great college town but smaller and great aid)


Belmont - in Nashville


What Bill Marsh says - and I love reading his stuff - is well researched and you should see his thoughts. I’m just going through Niche - not the top tier because you won’t get in - but pulling schools that seem to have a college town.

Your #s are solid - but not top school level, etc. so you want to consider 2nd tier schools. And many have great merit.

What’s the problem?

Let me quote from further down in the Q&A:

“Can I still live at University of Maryland College Park even after I go to Nursing School?

Because you will no longer be a student at University of Maryland College Park, you will not be allowed to live in on-campus housing. Of course you could remain in the city of a college Park and live in any of the off-campus housing options.”

Many students regardless of major move off campus, especially at big state universities. So, if a nursing student wants to remain part of the greater university community, live with classmates/friends, attend athletic events, etc, she can do that by living off-campus and commuting over to the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Rockville (Shady Grove) after 2 or 3 years on campus. Let me note that 3 years on campus means that the student is pursuing a 5-year/dual major option.

Nursing students increasingly spend less time on campus as their 4 years progress and they begin to spend more time in their clinical placements. As they become upperclassmen, their coursework is focused in their major and they are not taking courses with students outside their major, With the College Park/School of Nursing Guaranteed Pathway, that’s what a student is doing. She takes regular classes and lives in dorms (or off-campus) for the first 2-3 years, but then focuses on her major for the last 2 years like any other student. In this case upper level classes are taken farther away at what is essentially a satellite campus. One of my daughters is a nurse and I understand how undergrad nursing students spend their time and where they spend it.

Welcome to the real world. College is not a destination. It is means to your ultimate goal, which means leaving the college cocoon at some point.

As I said in my initial comment on this thread, the best nursing training depends on excellent clinical experiences where best practices are employed. These are not normally found in “quintessential college towns”. That’s the note of unreality which has permeated this whole quest. Many of the options listed will get a student certified as an RN, but will either provide less than excellent training, or will involve major hassles getting back & forth to clinical placements, or both. It’s best that this reality be faced now rather than after a student is on a remote campus at a distance away from top clinical experiences but in the “quintessential college town”. At that point it’s too late to do anything about it.

The 3/2 option for a 5 year dual major program may seem like it’s adding a 5th year unnecessarily. Not really. Is this young woman telling us by seeking the “quintessential college town” experience, that she really is not 100% sure of her commitment to nursing and needs more time on campus to explore other options? I’m obviously just speculating, but if this is the case, the 5 year plan is more efficient by allowing for this and still getting a BSN/RN in just 5 years. Some nurses obtain their nursing degree after graduation when it takes 2-3 more years after 4 years of college. Yale, Columbia, and Georgetown are all examples of excellent nursing schools that have these postgraduate options for students who needed the undergraduate experience before being ready to make their commitment to the profession.


I guess we’ll have to disagree a bit on some of this but I appreciate your feedback.

She is certain on nursing and won’t consider schools without accessible clinicals or strong NCLEX pass rates. But correct, she isn’t looking for just the best nursing school she can go to. She’s looking for the best overall experience. And I’m ok with that.

Also add WVU. Ruby Hospital is on-campus next to the football stadium. They’re really growing their health system. I suspect WVU health will takeover the state.

Lots of spirit. Morgantown has changed a lot in the last 20 years.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville fits your bill. Direct admit nursing program and top hospital system. If she thinks UCONN is too cold she should understand Fairfield has the same weather…if she’s considering Fairfield she should also look at Sacred Heart University, also in Fairfield, CT which has great health studies programs.

Check out Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Miami U. is a Public Ivy with a reasonable shot of admission. As Robert Frost said it has “The most beautiful campus that ever there was.” Oxford is a classic college town. No one will confuse the Mid-American Conference with the Big10, but Miami’s division I football, mens/womens basketball and hockey have real tradition and are accessible. It is close enough to Cincinnati and Dayton to offer serious clinical experience. There is also serious merit aid available.



I think the thing that is hard is the list of wants that are seemingly at odds with one another. The best clinicals will probably be at larger hospitals which may be too urban for the campus, a great program (like Quinnipiac) doesn’t have football and is too cold and small. A big school with football may require doing clinicals somewhere a distance from campus.

What schools does she want on the list? Which of the criteria are more flexible than others? People have made great suggestions but I don’t see many that tick all of the boxes. If you can establish the 2-3 MUST haves, you may have more luck.

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Not a problem. I’m just trying to stress the importance of clinicals at top hospitals. That’s my mission here, so I appreciate that you’ve heard me. You know your daughter, I don’t. So take it from there.

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What is your budget?

Mommct, do I take it from your screen name that you’re from Connecticut (Momm CT)? I am too. UConn and Fairfield same weather? Not really.

When my cousin went to Fairfield Nursing, they had her schlepping down to Stamford for clinicals. Given the state of congestion on I-95 and the Merritt Parkway, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Besides, it’s not a teaching or research hospital.

I like your suggestion of Tennessee/Knoxville.


OP said full pay anywhere.