By Alisha, IvyWise Principal College Admissions Counselor
Fit and academics are top priority when building your balanced college list, but it’s important for students to consider other factors that matter to them including activities, location, campus culture and, yes, even the food!
At IvyWise we work with students to help them find the best-fit colleges where they will be successful, happy, and graduate in four years. But fit isn’t just about finding the right place academically and socially. It’s also about finding a place that has opportunities that fit with your interests and the things that are most important to you. For one student it might be accessibility to hiking or surfing. For another it might be the opportunity to participate in the on-campus newspaper or TV station. And for others, it fit might also include some delectable and varying food options. After all, you will be eating a lot of meals there!
As a counselor, I love helping students find those “gem schools” that they might not have otherwise considered, even if it comes down to something as simple as a good dining hall.
If you want some delicious on-campus delicacies, or just a variety of options around town that can accommodate any dietary restrictions, here are my top colleges for foodies!
Bowdoin College (Brunswick, Maine)
Bowdoin College purchases local ingredients as often as possible, an on-campus meat shop uses locally raised beef, seafood is from certified local fishmongers, and the campus houses a large organic garden. Dining services at Bowdoin celebrates the rich cultural diversity of their students through food, serving a regional and international menu. Brunswick’s vibrant Maine Street, is home to a wide variety of restaurants, food trucks, and a popular gelato shop.
New York University (New York City, New York)
Located in food haven known as Manhattan, NYU students can purchase food from over 20 locations, including 5 Napkin Burger and Whole Foods, as well as on-campus vendors like Starbucks and Argo Tea. Student-wide events include a weekly all you can eat brunch, and the spring Strawberry Festival, which features New York’s longest strawberry shortcake. The addition of a new community garden even allows students to learn how to grow, tend, and harvest fresh foods.
UCLA (Los Angeles, California)
Located in one of the top-ranked food cities in America, UCLA has been named the most vegan-friendly campus by PETA. The on-campus boutique restaurant Rendezvous is a Certified Green Restaurant, and an in-house bakery provides almost all breads and baked goods on campus. With some dining options on the hill open from 7am to 2am every day of the school year, students can always find something to indulge in.
University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, Massachusetts)
With the new Permaculture Initiative, UMass now has five on-campus gardens, and purchases at least 20 percent of their food locally and fair-traded. The university also participates in a composting program and supports a student-run farmers market on campus. With one dining hall open as late as 4 a.m., and Baby Berk, the on-campus burger and taco truck, open until midnight, there is always somewhere to eat.
Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)
Duke is home to a total of 59 dining options for students on the meal plan, including 35 on-campus locations ranging from coffee shops to outposts of local favorites, 17 local restaurants that deliver to anywhere on campus, and seven food trucks. Whatever you want, wherever you want it, you can get it at Duke. Duke Dining also holds more than 60 events every year, with each month featuring a large-scale event like the popular Cruise-Themed Dinner.
Boston University (Boston, Massachusetts)
Located in the heart of one of America’s best food cities, Boston University is home to the student favorite on-campus bar/restaurant known as the BU Pub. BU’s main dining facility is two massive levels and has the capacity to hold 900 people. Special events include Oktoberfest and Lobster Night. BU is also transitioning to more sustainable practices through initiatives like tray-less dining, following Seafood Watch guidelines, and composting.
Columbia University (New York, New York)
With both the dining halls and JJ’s Place open seven days a week, student’s never run out of options at Columbia. Columbia’s dining plans even let students use Flex Dollars at a variety of local restaurants and grocery stores, including Chipotle, Dinosaur BBQ, Five Guys Burgers, and Whole Foods. They are also open during breaks, giving students 17 more days of dining at no extra cost.
Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)
Located in the city known for the Cheesy Western, a burger stacked with cheese and topped with an egg sunny side up, Liberty University allows students to dine in either the resident dining room or any of the 23 retail locations on campus. Liberty purchases locally grown produce, particularly from the Liberty University Campus Farm, sources humanely raised animals and uses cage-free eggs. Students even get to judge the Manager Cook-Off, where management teams are given a theme and a budget for decorations.
Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois)
Tour of Pork, Noodlepalooza, Global Chef, Windy City Chefs, Battle of the Chefs, Street Week, and the WildCat Beach Club are just a few of the truly spectacular events that Northwestern University’s dining services host. The campus even houses the current test kitchen for celebrity chef Jimmy Banos. Off-campus you can find Lou Malnati’s, a pizza joint that is known for serving the quintessential Chicago deep-dish pizza.
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland)
Dining options at John Hopkins range from Nolan’s on 33rd, an all-you-care-to-eat buffet with made-to-order stations, to late-night options at the LaB. Johns Hopkins also has a hotel-quality brunch, food and wine pairings for students of legal drinking age, themed monotony-breakers each month, and cooking classes in on-campus residences that focus on healthy eating. With everything in the dining halls being made in small batches and from scratch, students always have access to the freshest options available.
Building a balanced college list isn’t just about trying out all the food available, but it does make campus visits more fun! When deciding where to apply, take into consideration all the factors that matter to you – including what you’ll be eating!
Need help building your college list? At IvyWise we work with students to help them find the best-fit schools for them, and help them put together the best applications possible in order to gain admission to those schools on their list. For more information on our college counseling services, contact us today!
Want to learn more about Alisha? Read her bio and watch her video here.