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Most Beautiful Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Applying to colleges and universities in the U.S. can be a challenge. Finding the right school is important, and matching a school's academic rigor with the campus's aesthetic appeal can be rather difficult. Below are some schools that offer both a great education and beautiful architecture and scenery.

University of Colorado Boulder - Boulder, Colorado (84.2% acceptance rate)
The University of Colorado Boulder is located in a college town right by the Rocky Mountain Foothills. The city of Boulder has many different activities and you'll never run out of places to eat. Local restaurants like Pasta Jay’s, The Buff, and Zolo Grill are popular. And if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to check out Sweet Cow Ice Cream. If you're into mobile eateries, check out Rayback Collective which is a nearby food truck park. There is a wide variety of entertainment around campus. You can go hiking at Chautauqua Park, visit the Museum of Natural History, or shop at the Pearl Street Mall.

Stanford University - Stanford, California (4.8% acceptance rate)
Stanford University is located in upstate California, sandwiched between the cities of San Francisco and San Jose. Stanford students are involved in 36 varsity sports and 32 different club sports. Aside from Division I college football, Stanford boasts activities like squash, water polo, fencing, and sailing. For Instagram worthy pictures check out the large stained glass windows of the Memorial Church or the Arizona Cactus Garden, and hike along the Stanford Dish trail. Enjoy local food at CoHo Cafe or The Counter. If you’re looking for more upscale dining, Evvia may be your spot.

Elon University - Elon, North Carolina (60% acceptance rate)
Elon University is ranked in the top 40 for the best value for private universities by Kiplinger. It is also close to Durham, NC, where Duke University is located. Elon’s campus is known for having beautiful plants, trees, and flowers. The Fonville Fountain, a campus staple, sits in front of the Alamance Building (seen above). Elon has a diverse assortment of campus organizations and activities, many students are involved in Greek Life, club or intramural sports, and even acapella groups. If you are looking nearby for some tasty milkshakes and burgers, Cook Out is a great place to go.

Brigham Young University - Provo, Utah (53.5% acceptance rate)
Brigham Young University is a private university in Utah with a beautiful campus. Some things to do in Provo include visiting the Museum of Art or the Monte L. Bean Science Museum. Hiking along The Y Trail or checking out Bridal Veil Falls just a few miles from campus are also popular. The Deseret News of Salt Lake City even named the campus “the Disneyland of American colleges and universities.” With a name like that, the campus must be worthy of a visit. Go to Waffle Love for a good breakfast, Pizzeria 712 for lunch or dinner, Provo Bakery for donuts or cookies, and BYU Creamery for more dessert!

Boston College - Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (29% acceptance rate)
Boston College is a private research university located just 6 miles outside the city of Boston. The Collegiate Gothic architecture prominent throughout campus was  designed largely by Charles Donagh Maginnis, and his firm Maginnis and Walsh, in 1908. Gasson Hall is one of the most notable buildings in this style at the Jesuit College. Enjoy a walk around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, kayak on the Charles River, go to the Shops at Chestnut Hill, or head into Boston to check out all the local historic sites. As for food, there’s a wide variety of places, including El Pelon Taqueria, Crazy Dough’s Pizza, or even White Mountain Creamery to satisfy an indulgent craving. The possibilities are endless being located so close to a bustling city like Boston.

Emory University - Druid Hills, Georgia (25.2% acceptance rate)
Emory University is a private university located in the Druid Hills of Atlanta, Georgia. One of the most notable buildings on campus is the Lullwater House, located along the Lullwater Preserve. This area is known for its hiking trails and the famous Candler Lake. Hungry Emory students love to get pizza from Antico, lunch at Cox, and tasteful Mexican food from Taqueria Del Sol. You can also get your sushi fix at Thaicoon, or eat a bit healthier at Kale Me Crazy.

Duke University - Durham, North Carolina (9% acceptance rate)
Duke University is a private university in Durham founded in the twentieth century. It exhibits exquisite Collegiate Gothic architecture with over 250 buildings covering 2000 acres. The Duke Chapel established the new campus in 1932 and stands at 210 feet tall. Check out the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, or have some fun with friends at the Bull City Escape. Take a pit stop at Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours or Parlez-Vous Crepes. You can also go to The Parlour for local ice cream, or Dame's Chicken and Waffles for a taste of quality Southern food.

Vassar College - Poughkeepsie, New York (25.6% acceptance rate)
Vassar College is a liberal arts college located in a small town of upstate New York founded in 1861 as a women’s college, and became co-ed in 1969. The campus has a plentiful amount of trees and greenery all around campus. The Thompson Memorial Library has a Perpendicular Gothic style. Explore the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, hike along the Appalachian Trail, or check out the Trevor Zoo. Essie’s Restaurant, Twisted Soul, Lola’s Cafe, or Beech Tree Grill are just a few of the local eateries to enjoy.

Pepperdine University - Malibu, California (38% acceptance rate)
Pepperdine University is a private university located along the beautiful coast of Malibu, California, founded in 1937. Take a stroll down Malibu Bluffs Park, tan or paddle board at Malibu Lagoon State Beach, surf at Surfrider Beach, and site see at either Malibu State Creek Park or the Malibu Pier. D’Amore’s, Ollo, Tramonto, Malibu Farms, and Cafe Habana all offer delicious, local foods that could also make the Instagram feed.

Indiana University Bloomington - Bloomington, Indiana (78% acceptance rate)
Indiana University, located in Bloomington, Indiana has a beautiful campus with many limestone buildings. The gorgeous Sample Gates make up the entryway of campus. Fun things to do around Bloomington include taking a walk or hike around Griffy Lake, or attending the local Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market. Buffalouies, The Big Cheeze, The Runcible Spoon, Mothers Bear’s, The Owlery, and Nick’s English Hut all are great eateries in the area.

Amherst College - Amherst, Massachusetts (14% acceptance rate)
Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located right in Amherst Center. The campus was founded in 1821, and has over 100 buildings including the President’s House. When it’s warm, swim and hangout by Puffer’s Pond just a few miles away from campus. Amherst is less than a 2 hour drive from Boston, but you can also stay local in Northampton or Amherst to shop. Check out Bueno y Sano for local Mexican food, Arigato Sushi for delicious sushi in the area, and Antonio’s for pizza of every kind, from tortellini on the slice, to avocados and tortilla chips. Bart’s Ice Cream and Flayvors are both places you must try in the area for dessert. Also make sure to swing by Glazed for warm, flavorful donuts!

The University of Chicago - Chicago, Illinois (7.9% acceptance rate)
The University of Chicago is a private university located right by the city of Chicago. The campus features architecture from noted architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Ives Cobb. There are buildings in styles ranging from Gothic to Contemporary. You can explore The Smart Museum, use the Chicago Greeter for a free tour of the city, or go to the famous bean at Millenium Park. Zaleski & Horvath is a healthy place to go for lunch, Fabiana’s Bakery has fresh baked goods, Hampton Social is a great spot for an enjoyable brunch, and Dusek’s is the spot for a more upscale dinner. Magnolia Bakery is a well-known joint, with sweets including cupcakes, banana chocolate pudding, and even lemon bars.

The University of Utah (76.4% acceptance rate)
The University of Utah is a public university in Salt Lake City, located in the Wasatch Mountain range. The university is right in the middle of the city, so there is plenty to do around campus. Activities include bouncing around at Snogression Trampoline Park, skiing on Canyons Resort, resting at Dimple Dell Park, or hiking to Lake Blanche. Check out delicious restaurants like R & R BBQ, Spitz, or if you’re craving Mexican food, Red Iguana.

University of Michigan (28.6% acceptance rate)
The University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, a lively college town with lots to offer. There’s The Ann Arbor’s Farmers Market, The Hands-On Museum, and even the Matthei Botanical Gardens. Around campus there are tons of restaurants to enjoy, including Sava’s, the world famous Zingerman’s Deli, Angelo’s, Sushi Town, and more.

If you have any questions about choosing your study destination, please visit:


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