*Also by Rachel Ravina.
Red Sox versus Yankees, mustard versus ketchup, Edward versus Jacob. These are the debates that define our generation. Still, left unresolved is one of the most contentious battles of all time: East versus West Coast. Because the United States is definitely an Oreo cookie–meaning, we’re going to ignore the entire center of the country and only focus on the
cookies coasts. When it comes to college living, East is obviously beast–I mean best.
1. The “Look”
Think of the instas! When you imagine “college,” do you really picture the sprawling pseudo-cities of massive West Coast schools? I doubt it. East Coast schools are the stuff of collegiate dreams: yellow, red and orange leaves in the fall, picturesque snow in the winter, a glorious re-emergence of green in the spring. Not to mention that nine out of ten of the oldest college buildings in America are in the East. West Coast schools have sand and surf, but who would dare choose sunscreen over snow? When your grandma imagines you running around the quad like a big man on campus, she’s picturing you strutting around in rain, shine or approximately eight feet of snow. You’ll really look like you’re going to college when you’re at an East Coast school, and after all looks are everything. Right?
2. The Road Trips
Let’s be honest, after a semester and a half of living on your own eating solely Ramen you won’t be able to afford that flight to Tijuana for spring break. When poverty is your reality, it’s a whole lot easier to travel cheap if you’re on the East Coast. “You’re close to a lot of cool stuff. You’re close to all the big cities like Philly and New York, and you can take 95 all the way up and down the east coast and see everything,” Clemson Senior Alison Rehfus said.On the West Coast you can fly or drive for a really, really, really long time and still not even be out of California. New England folk have states like Rhode Island–106 of which can fit in California, BTW–that you can span with one strong toss of a sturdy pebble. Drive for two hours and pretend you’re someplace exotic. You actually just ended up in South Carolina, but, eh. At least it’s a new state. “In just a couple hours in the car and you can be in a completely new city with new roots and history and stuff,” Binghamton University junior Jessica Wolff said.
3. The Prestige
Just take a quick count: how many Ivies are located on the East Coast? That’s right, eight out of eight. Even beyond the hallowed halls of big names like Harvard or Yale, schools in the surrounding areas seem to feed off the success and prestige of the Ivy leagues. Sure, the West Coast may have some big names-Stanford, UC Berkeley, USC (who needs ‘em?), but East Coast schools will always reign supreme. Those West Coast Ivies are just passing fads, like the Internet, without nearly the same foundations of snobbery, wealth and WASPy-ness as those on the Atlantic. “The east coast definitely has a lot to offer. In terms of schools, there’s a huge variety of them, ranging between different activities you want [and] academic level,” Wolff said.
4. The History
You won’t beat the East Coast when it comes to venues for History field trips and assignments, or really any subject. What does the West Coast have? Alcatraz? Cool, I guess. But we have it all: Revolutionary and Civil War sites, religious meeting houses, majestic plantations, massive gilded age mansions. Basically, whatever you’re learning about, it probably happened on the East Coast. The 13 original colonies were on the East Coast, after all. We have the really old guns, church bells and houses to prove it.
5. The Variety
The West Coast has one mode: beachin’. (Okay, maybe not quite). But when it comes down to real, both-ends-of-the-spectrum variety, the East Coast is king. You have the big city vibe of places like New York and Washington D.C., the woodsy, “am I supposed to smoke this?” feel of states like Vermont, and the sickly-sweet southern hospitality of the deep south. “[The] biggest perk is wider range of seasons,” recent West Chester University grad Stephanie Ashman said.What are you doing in college other than trying to see what else is out there? No matter what that “else” is, you’ll be sure to find it on the East Coast.
6. Festival Central
Sure there’s Coachella, but don’t let the national Snapchat story overshadow the rad music scene on lies the east coast. The only states with music festivals on the west coast are California and Oregon. On the East Coast, there are a whopping nine states with music festivals, so take your pick, ladies and gents. There’s simply more variety back east. You’ve got surefire amazing lineups at great festivals at Firefly in Delaware and Bonnaroo in Tennessee coming up this summer. Break out your fave flower crown, DIY’d high-waisted shorts and make plans with all your musichead friends. Going to school on the East Coast allows easy access to these great acts.
*Updated June 14, 2016 with new student quotes and an additional section.