Studying in the US: East Coast or West Coast?

You’ve made up your mind that you want to study in the US – congrats! But if you want to figure out which side of the country is ideal, you’re definitely not alone. As home to 201 institutions in the QS World University Rankings 2023, it can be difficult to decide where to study in the US when options feel endless. Which one to pick amongst the East Coast or West Coast colleges of America is indeed popular.

Do you think location really matters when it comes to taking admission to 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, you should get used to their culture and environment as quickly as possible so that you do not end up homesick. The geographical location of your college decides your quality of life and the exposure you will have for the next two years.

Now when we talk about the East Coast or the West Coast of the USA, there are some stark differences between them. If you are planning to take admission, check out the significant differences mentioned below to make a wise decision!

1. University Rankings

University ranking must be one of the primary criteria for choosing the place to live and study. This also impacts your recruitment by the industries later. You should look at a better ranking university at any time rather than prefer one geographical location over another unless you have serious health concerns that may arise in adverse weather.the East Coast or the West Coast

In 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 Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and 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 regarding a finance degree 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 the 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 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 place concerning STEM subjects as well. Hence, you can select the university based on its ranking and the subject you are interested in.

2. The Weather

Weather is one of the important factors when it comes to the preference of staying for long. Weather can affect your health and can cause you slight discomforts like allergies and all. Most Indians 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 temperature, such as -10 F in winters to 90 F in summers.

the East Coast or the West Coast

Most East Coast regions enjoy four 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 on the Eastern Coast. You would never experience dropped temperatures to the extent that it’s snowing all over, and neither would you see any hurricane. Summers are very hot and dry, and the winters are stormy. 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 no springs and autumns.

3. The Sightseeing

the East Coast or the West Coast

If you are time-bound due to study and are a nature lover, then you would love living on the East coast. The East Coast is the most diverse and much more convenient for 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 per your taste. You can even go to a Southern town and learn about their culture. 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 the cities present are far away from each other. This ensures that you travel a lot to check out nature and beautiful sights. But what the west coast offers are national parks like the Redwood National Park, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, etc. These are a must-visit if you are even slightly interested in camping or hiking.

the East Coast or the West Coast

4. Lifestylethe East Coast or the West Coast

Many East coast cities (especially New York) are known for their fast-paced approaches to life. People are often hurrying from place to place, walking quickly to catch the subway or the bus, trying to accomplish everything on their to-do lists. While this lifestyle can sometimes be challenging to adjust to, it is exhilarating to be surrounded by the hustle and bustle of many people going places and doing things.

the East Coast or the West CoastIf the “go-go-go” pace of the East Coast sounds overwhelming, the West coast may be a perfect fit. On the West coast, people are a lot more laid-back. Nature and health are often a huge focus, so it should be no surprise that they try to stay very zen and get out to their favorite parks and locations. Whether you chalk it up to the sunshine and palm trees (or to the neverending traffic), West coast people are rarely in a rush.

Parting words…

From the above facts, it is clear that both regions are unique. Be it people, weather, temperatures, sightseeing, distances, technological exposure, or study disciplines – each coast has its benefits. So, this information should be kept in mind while narrowing down your school choices. 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 come in handy. But don’t get driven by these contrasting natures of the Eastern and the west coast; these are just the observed differences, and a lot depends on your outlook and liking. So, it’s up to you which coast and institution to go for. Suppose you need help finding the most suitable major and University to study in the USA. In that case, you can visit College Compass to listen to advice and feedback from teachers, experts and coaches.


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