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Best College Towns in America You’ll Be Interested in Moving To

Best College Towns in America You’ll Be Interested in Moving To

Deciding which college to attend is like ordering a latte from a coffee shop: there are many choices to pick from! After you receive your pile of acceptance and rejection letters, you’ll begin to weigh the pros and cons of each university to spend the next 4 or some-odd years to study at. When evaluating your options, you must think about the type of environment you envision yourself thriving in. Most college towns are either located in an urban jungle, suburbia, or no-mans lands (also known as the middle of nowhere). Most of America’s top universities are located in major cities like New York City, Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. Moving to a large city with lots of people exposes you to new cultures, activities, and events. Here are the best college towns you’ll be interested in moving to in America:

Manhattan – New York, New York

New York City is referred to as the big apple because of the dense population, sprawling city landscape, and the diversity of people, buildings, cultures, and events. Students choosing to move to New York City will have access to historic landmarks to deepen their education like the New York City Library and the Museum of Modern Art. The city also has one of the most active nightlifes in the world with Broadway shows playing nightly in Times Square and lively bars in the Meatpacking district. While cost of living is expensive in New York, you will be living amongst some of the most world-renowned artists, television stars, politicians, business influencers, and dreamers who can help leverage your career after college.

Population:

1,600,000+

Major universities and college in New York City include:

  • New York University
  • Columbia University
  • The Julliard School
  • The New School
  • Pace University
  • Fordham University

Major Landmarks:

  • Lincoln Center
  • Radio City Hall
  • Times Square
  • The Statue of Liberty
  • The Village
  • The Empire State Bulding
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Yankee Stadium
  • American Museum of Natural History

medium_4294299668

    Image credit: Time Square Caught Napping by Nana B Agyei on flickr 

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    San Francisco Bay Area, California

    Home of the Giants, the San Francisco Bay Area has many parks, museums, and cultural events that will keep you busy during your weekends when you need to take a break from studying. There are many opportunities to jumpstart your career while you’re still taking English 101 because you can intern at some of the most highly regarded technology companies in the world like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and hundreds of other small venture funded start-up companies.

    Population:

    837,000+

    Major universities and college in the San Francisco Bay Area include:

    • San Francisco State University
    • US San Francisco
    • Golden Gate University

    Berkeley, California

    • UC Berkley

    Stanford, California

    • Stanford

    Major Landmarks:

    • Golden Gate Bridge
    • Palace of Fine Arts
    • Academy of Sciences
    • AT&T Ball Park
    • Golden Gate Park

    medium_489862235

      Image credit: San Francisco Bay and The Golden Gate by Trey Ratcliff on flickr

      Austin, Texas

      Austin is one of the most lively cities for college students to engage with their professors and colleagues inside and outside of the classroom. Students can attend film festivals, try the latest gastronomy or down-home bbq joint, or attend a concert from talented local artists. Austin also has a growing start-up community for students to engage in entrepreneurship before they graduate college.

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      Population:

      885,000+

      Major universities and college in the Austin include:

      • University of Texas at Austin
      • Acton School of Business
      • Austin Graduate School of Theology
      • National American University

      Major Landmarks:

      • Beerland
      • The Victory Grill
      • Lady Bird Lake
      • Draft House Cinema
      • Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium

      medium_3189889363

        Image credit: The State Capitol of Texas at Dusk by Trey Ratcliff on flickr

        Boston, Massachusetts

        Boston is home to some of the most educated people and institutions in the world. Students can learn from world-renown researchers and network with high profile CEOs and artists. Boston has an active nightlife for students to watch Red Sox and New England Patriot games. When your parents drop you off at the dorm, make sure they don’t confuse their car keys with your khakis.

        Population:

        645,000+

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        Major universities and college in the Boston include:

        • Harvard University
        • Tufts University
        • Berklee College of Music
        • Boston College
        • Boston Conservatory
        • Boston Unversity
        • Brandeis University
        • Emerson College

        medium_4091328042

          Image credit: Boston (Photogra)phy Party by Nathan Lanier on flickr

          Chicago, Illinois

          Midwesterners are welcoming to newcomers and Chicago offers the pleasures of a great metropolitan city with excellent food, shopping, concerts, and sporting events. Students can enjoy the low cost of living in a large city and have access to live theatre, deep-dish pizza joints, and talented thought-leaders from universities like Northwestern and the University of Chicago.

          Population:

          2.7+ million

          Major universities and college in the Chicago include:

          • University of Chicago
          • Northwestern University
          • Purdue University
          • DePaul University
          • Roosevelt University
          • Columbia College Chicago

          medium_13934859360

            Image credit: Chicago Skyline by memories_by_mike on flickr

            Ann Arbor, Michigan

            Ann Arbor is the 5th happiest city in the United States according to the Daily Beast. The citizens of Ann Arbor are reputable for their hospitality and value for education. Students will enjoy local craft fairs and festivals in addition to coffee shops to study at when its below zero degrees during the winter.

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            Population:

            117,000+

            Major universities and college in the Ann Arbor include:

            • University of Michigan
            • Concordia University–Ann Arbor

            medium_64398051

              Image credit: Muffler Shop by Ross on flickr

              Consider Your Values and Interests

              When you consider which town to move to for college, consider your values and interests. If you like to be around a lot of people and events a large city will be the best choice for you. Otherwise, a smaller town with less distractions might be more up your alley. In either scenario, consider your social and long term career goals since both of those factors have a major impact on your college experience. Photo credits:

              Main Image credit: Twinkle Eyes… JH Images.co.uk on flickr

              Featured photo credit: Twinkle Eyes, jhimages.co.uk via flickr.com

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              Last Updated on June 2, 2020

              How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

              How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples)

              Think of your cover letter for a job application as an in-person introduction. Your resume outlines the facts—where you worked and for how long, along with your major accomplishments. But your cover letter also shows off your personality.

              Your cover letter should outline the case for why you deserve the job without being “salesy.” How do you do that? Follow these 12 important guidelines.

              1. There Is No Cookie-Cutter Cover Letter for a Job

              Targeting your resume to a particular job may mean changing up your “Objective” section a bit or adding to your “Executive Summary” section. Cover letters, though, really need to focus on the particular person you’re writing to, the particular job, and the particular company. It needs to prove, with an economy of words, that your job experience fits the requirements of the position for which you’re applying.

              Your letter should show that you have amassed the skills you need to succeed in that workplace. And, your cover letter should clinch your prospects by making the case that you are very excited about working at that particular company.

              2. Always Opt-in to the Optional Cover Letter

              Some job postings will give applicants the option of opting out of providing a cover letter for a job[1]. Don’t take the bait! Use the opportunity to further sell yourself in a personalized, well-crafted cover letter that creatively shares who you are and why your skills and personality align with the position and the company. Think of your cover letter for a job as an opportunity to describe your value proposition.

              3. A Reference Goes a Long Way

              Did someone recommend you for the job? Put that in the subject line of your cover letter if possible. If an online listing dictates what your subject line must be, cite the personal recommendation in the first sentence of your letter:

              Dear Ms. Sanders,

              Steve Smith recommended me for your Assistant Planner position. I worked with Steve at the XYZ company for four years as his assistant until he moved on, and I feel as though I learned from the best.  His high praise for you is the primary reason I am applying for this position, as I consider him an excellent judge of character. 

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              You may want to bolster Steve’s recommendation with a short anecdote about working with Steve. Don’t be shy. Steve’s high opinion of you will likely mean that your resume gets a serious look.

              4. Outline the Key Points You Want to Make

              Company by company, your cover letter for a job application needs to be specific and bulletproof. Unless you have a great deal of practice in writing cover letters, it’s hard to just bang them out. So don’t even try. Instead, start with a list of points you intend to make. Generally, these would be a “grabby” introduction, a story or two about a particular accomplishment that is relevant to the job to which you are applying, a reason why you are the ideal candidate for the position, and a conclusion with a suggested next step.

              1. Intro – Have been familiar with the company since my father worked there in the 1980s.
              2. College Major – Majored in industrial engineering so I could get a job at CYY Building, Inc.
              3. Captain of Soccer Team – Prepared me to solve problems, promote morale, and coach a team.
              4. Ask for Informational Interview – 15 minutes to meet in person and learn more about opportunities.
              5. Compelling Close – Ask Hiring Manager to call me. Say I will call her in a week if I don’t hear from her first.

              5. Moderating the Tone of Your Cover Letter

              Some companies are buttoned-up. The workers wear three-piece suits to the office each day plus loafers. Other companies are more casual. The employees wear shorts in the summertime and skateboard through the hallways. In an in-person interview, you would never wear shorts to a company whose employees are sporting three-piece suits.

              Similarly, your cover letter needs to strike the right note. The letter you write to a start-up should sound markedly different than the letter you would write to a white-shoe law firm.

              For example, even using something as informal as “Greetings” for the salutation may not be appropriate at a more formal firm. And definitely don’t use the default “To Whom It May Concern.” Instead, try to find the name of the hiring manager with an online search. If that’s not possible, you will want to begin with “Dear XYZ Hiring Manager.” The tone of your cover letter for a job starts at the very beginning.

              6. Create an Attention-Grabbing Opening Line

              Think of going to hear a presentation by a motivational speaker, only to have her open with, “I’m here today to present (fill in with title of the presentation).” What a let down! What if instead, she started with, “I just ran a half marathon. Now doesn’t that sound better than if I told you, ‘I tried to run a marathon but quit half-way through?’” See the difference? You want to hear more.

              Craft the first line of your cover letter with the utmost care. It doesn’t need to be clever, but it needs to show your personality and your fit for the position.

              Dear Mr. Stevens,

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              I am committed to making the customer service experience better for people like my grandmother. At 87 years old, my Gram is lost in the digital world and reliant on customer service representatives she can reach by telephone to answer her questions and solve her problems. She regularly shares stories of frustrating dead-ends she experiences with people wanting her to “go online and make your selection.”  Yet, whenever she reaches someone willing to take the extra time to resolve her issue, she sings the company’s praises to everyone she knows. Based on Gram’s frustrations, I want to be that person who won’t give up or pass the buck with bewildered customers.  

              With a strong, anecdotal opening such as this, you show purpose and passion behind your application to be a customer service representative.

              7. Recognize the Value of Cover Letter Real Estate

              Spare writing is key in the cover letter for a job. It is always best if your letter doesn’t exceed a page. Those reviewing applications appreciate a letter that is terse, yet provides useful information to evaluate an applicant. This means you have five to six paragraphs in which to work.

              Repeating anything from your resume is a waste of real estate. Think in terms of describing why you are applying for the position and why you are the best candidate.

              To best show your personality, avoid stale phrases such as, “I believe my experience would be a good fit in your organization.” Add punch to your statements that show off your accomplishments and your attitude.

              I thrive in start-up environments where I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and to make changes on the fly. In one such instance, I uncovered better results from a pilot project and in under 30 minutes had updated the CEO’s presentation in time for his meeting with a venture capitalist.

              8. Getting Creative

              On the surface, a requirement is a requirement. Many online ads specify the number of years, and you might think they are ironclad. But if you count the number of years you amassed a particular skill at the job and add any volunteer work where you also used that skill, you might surpass the requirement.

              Say that you are applying for a position in fund development. If your career experience in putting on charity fundraisers falls a little short, it’s certainly appropriate to add in time spent organizing fundraising events as a volunteer—as long as you indicate it as such in your cover letter for the job.

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              I recently passed my two and a half year mark of employment as a fund development associate with Notable Events. Concurrently, I oversaw all aspects of two annual fundraising galas as a volunteer board member of Reach for the Stars Foundation, offering scholarships to first-generation college-bound students. These involved finding sponsors for more than 70 silent auction items, renting event space, working with caterers, recruiting volunteers and MC-ing both events, which each drew more than 200 attendees and, together, raised more than $250,000. I believe this intensive hands-on experience helps supplement my years of employment.

              Showcasing your community ethos through volunteering could make up for the deficit in actual on-the-job experience.

              9. Making the Case that You Fit

              How will you fit in at the company? With some research, you can easily figure out the corporate culture of an organization. Many companies share their core values in job recruitment ads. But even if you can’t discern a company’s mission or beliefs from its advertising, you can learn it from articles you read about the company.

              Is it employer-centric or employee-centric? Is the culture more traditional or more fun? And what are you looking for? When you find a company where your needs align with theirs, that’s an indication that you would fit in well. Take care to make sure that your cover letter reflects how you fit.

              If you are a recent military veteran[2], consider which civilian positions lend themselves to the regimented culture of which you’ve become accustomed. For example, your occupational specialty while in the military could dovetail well with a company’s job requirements—and you have the added benefit of discipline, following instructions, and teamwork that you can apply to any future position.

              10. Always Ask for What You’re Worth

              If the employer asks applicants to share their salary requirements in the cover letter for a job, disregard what you made in your former position and look into the salary ranges[3] of the advertised position. You will want to adjust up or down within the salary range depending on your prior experience in the industry or in a similar role.

              The key is to not undercut yourself by asking below the minimum amount, or to overinflate your worth by asking for an amount higher than the maximum pay in the salary range.

              11. Show Your Cover Letter to Three People Whose Opinion You Trust

              Once your letter is out in the world, it’s too late to tweak it for that particular job. You will dramatically improve your chances of having your cover letter “land” correctly if you’re proactive. Find a few people in the field, and ask them if you can show them your cover letter before you send it out.

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              If you are starting out and don’t know anyone in the field, you may want to consider paying for a professional career consultant or coach to review your cover letter and resume. Remember that the care you demonstrate in your cover letter is that employer’s first impression of you.

              12. End With Enthusiasm

              You want to stay upbeat all the way to the end of the letter. Let the reviewer know that you appreciate the opportunity to apply and that you look forward to hearing from (or having a chance to meet with) them in person.

              It would be an honor to be part of your team, and I hope to have an opportunity to discuss this role and how I could contribute to it in person.

              This acknowledges that the organization gets to make the next move, but that you anticipate it will be in your favor.

              Sign off formally (“Sincerely” or “Best regards”) or informally (“Best” or “Thank you”) depending on the tone of the letter. Also, be sure to include your email address and phone number under your name. This ensures that, should the reviewer wish to contact you, the contact information is easily accessible.

              Final Thoughts

              The best cover letters for a job are lively, authentic, and provide a memorable result, anecdote or example of your approach to work. By tying your approach to the requirements of the job description and revealing your personality as a fit for the organization, you will give yourself a winning chance for making the cut and landing that coveted job interview.

              More Tips on Writing a Great Cover Letter

              Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

              Reference

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