East Coast Best Coast


The Rotunda at the University of Virginia

Calvin Mueller, Headline News Editor

Dorms at William & Mary

College. The illustrious chapter of your life looming after high school. High schoolers will cry, scream, and stress over it. It’s part of the American Dream. Before my college admission process, and for years on end, I expected to go out of the country for years. During the summer before my senior year, I decided to make a quick decision. I wasn’t going to go out of the country. I applied to 19 schools across the United States. Then the tours started happening. I visited 12 college campuses. So, what’s the difference between colleges on the east coast and the west coast?

If you are a junior and considering an east coast school, and wondering what campuses are like, especially compared to the U of A, or ASU, you’re in luck.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Old Well at Chapel Hill

“UNC” or “Chapel Hill” is recognizable by their prestigious basketball program, having won seven national championships, but there is a more historic past behind that. Chapel Hill claims to be the oldest public university in the United States, and it shows on their campus–in a good way. The campus is the largest on this list and located in the research triangle. Where is that? The research triangle encompasses three cities; Raleigh, Durham, and finally Chapel Hill, all in North Carolina. Chapel Hill is a mere eight miles from Durham, and Raleigh is just a 30-minute drive away. Chapel Hill has some beautiful architecture showing off their lustrous history, it almost feels like a college from the movies. Hooked? Me too. Getting into Chapel Hill isn’t a walk in the park either, due to a North Carolina law, UNC must admit 82% of their class from in-state North Carolina, leaving just 18% of their incoming freshman class to be from out of state. UNC requires you to be a good student, but don’t exactly worry if your test scores or grades aren’t the best, UNC reads all applications no matter your “stats,” if they think you’re a good fit, they’ll admit you. If you happen to get in, UNC has been known for its good financial aid, it requires FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Chapel Hill is the perfect mix between a traditional university (without all the prep) and a larger school with extraordinary athletics.

Special housing on the lawn on UVA grounds

University of Virginia (UVA)

Located in Charlottesville, a two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., is known for its draw-dropping campus, athletics, and Greek life. Designed by Thomas Jefferson, UVA offers other traditional grounds (never refer to the grounds as a campus) feel. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site (imagine going to class on one). UVA has a much more prominent Greek life than UNC, and lots of tradition as well. The Cavaliers have top tier sports as well, most notably winning 2019 Men’s Basketball National Championship. UVA, like UNC, is tough to get into from out of state, but they review applications similarly. Both are very prestigious public schools on the east coast though, and if you feel like you have a chance, go for it. UVA, unfortunately, isn’t as generous as UNC with financial aid, but still will match your need-based aid. 

North Carolina State University (NCSU) 

NC State

Most known, due to Jimmy Valvano, and his 1983 run in March Madness that led to a National Championship, NC State is often overlooked. Although not as prestigious as UVA or UNC, NC State has some of the best engineering, computer science, and tech programs in the country. Located right next to downtown Raleigh, NC, the campus gives you a more urban feel. It still has a campus feel, with older buildings implemented. It’s a big campus, but a majority of the buildings are very close to one another, giving the large campus a small campus feel. NC State doesn’t have the reputation of entitlement either, unlike many older more traditional schools. NCSU is less competitive, but still, you want your grades and test scores to be good. If you’re looking from a break from tradition, and want something different, NC State is the place for you.

College of William and Mary (W&M)

The oldest academic building still in use at William & Mary.

Again claiming the title of the oldest public university in the United States, you’d be able to tell when you first take a look at the campus. William and Mary have the oldest academic building still in use. W&M has the most traditional college feel out of the campuses I’ve ever been on. It reeked of tradition, that isn’t always bad, but when your dorms don’t even have A/C, it might be too far. The campus is located right near Colonial Williamsburg, but other than that, the beautiful campus isn’t really surrounded by much to do. William and Mary is well known on the east coast, but not known on the west. Admissions are tough, as the school is less prestigious than UVA.