Would You Rather?

Is New York City the best college campus in the world?



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Summer is a transition period. Scores of students are switching from high school to college, college to grad school, or the Ivory Tower to the workplace. But is New York the place to be for young academics?

We asked six New Yorkers: Would you rather be in the city for college or go elsewhere and come back after?

  • Opportunity upswing vs. upstate I chose to come to the city for college. I didn’t come just for school, but for more opportunities for work and stuff as well, so I also want to stay in the city for sure. I’m from upstate New York, close to Syracuse (a really good school), but I was like, nope, I’m coming here. —Nick, Hamilton Heights (pictured below)

  • Stay a while  I came from Thailand, and I came to New York City for college. There wasn’t a particular reason for choosing New York—I wanted to study film, and City College has a good program, but I would have gone to another place as well. It didn’t have to be strictly New York. But I’m happy I ended up here, you can say that! I finished, but I’d like to stay here for a while. —Warut, Woodside, Queens (pictured below)

  • Undisputed truth I was in the city for two years of undergrad in acting. It was too expensive and I left the program to get my undergrad elsewhere. I came back for grad school. For an actor, there’s no better place to be, obviously and truthfully. That’s, like, undisputed. But it’s not affordable, I’ll be in debt for sure. My parents help with my rent. But this is all I want to do, so I’ll make the most of it! —Eve, East Harlem
  • Independence over networking I'd rather go to school outside of New York. I think the experience is vastly different than it would be going to a smaller school, a liberal arts campus or something like that, which is what I did. The upside of going to school here is that you have more of a network than you would going to school in a small town. But ideally I think I'd like to go to school in a smaller town. It allows you to make more connections, it allows you to bond more with your professors. Overall, in weird ways, it makes you more independent. —Stephanie, Central Harlem
  • New York or bust As an actor, you need to come to a place that challenges you and inspires you and doesn’t let you feel comfortable. There’s not a lot of places like that other than New York. I have friends in L.A. and there, it’s all competition. The community aspect is not as a strong. Theater is not as strong. It’s very commercially driven. So for studies, training, and networking in the arts, New York is the only place to be. —Kristin, Bushwick
  • Country ways  I liked being in my smaller “country” school and then coming here after. It was peaceful and somewhat isolated, so you really bonded with your fellow students and were so into college life. Mainly because there was nothing else around us to get into! —Maria, Astoria Queens

Verdict: 4-2 in favor of the school of hard knocks, a.k.a New York City.