The 10 Most Hipster Campuses

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Check out the latest hipster ranking for 2014.

Now that “hipsters” are close behind the Kardashians in the race for world domination, we were curious as to where these art-loving, flannel-wearing, vegan-eating youths are going to college. By researching dozens of schools and assessing a few criteria – location, how many awards their college radio stations have earned, what their fashion programs are like, how their liberal arts and fine arts programs stack up, whether or not they offer sustainable and vegan-friendly eating, and the number of boutiques and thrift stores nearby – we put together our list of the Top 10 Most Hipster Campuses. There may be a few no-brainers (hello, New York City!), but we think you’ll be surprised to find there’s a place for hipster students all across the country:

1) New York University — New York, NY

Located in the heart of Manhattan, New York University (NYU) offers their students…the world. This global city provides a variety of cultures, endless shopping destinations, world-class entertainment, renowned artwork, unique neighborhoods and rich history for the bright-eyed youths of NYU. "NYU is like a hipster factory,” says NYU senior Mario Bianchini. “You may not start a hipster but you'll probably finish as one.” He’s probably right; in fact, New York City is considered one of the most “hipster” cities in the entire country. But it goes beyond location – NYU offers strong liberal and fine arts programs, fashion degrees and an award winning college radio station. Not to mention it’s the seventh best school for vegetarians. What more could a hipster want?

2) Fashion Institute of Technology — New York, NY

Also located in the bustling urban mecca that is New York City, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) comes in close-behind NYU as one of the most hipster schools around. A world-renowned fashion program gives FIT plenty of style cred., plus notable programs in liberal and fine arts, a rich vegetarian menu and the obvious shopping access puts it above the rest. FIT graduates include Nina Garcia, Marie Claire editor-at-large and “Project Runway” judge; Francisco Costa, designer at Calvin Klein; Reem Acra, couture designer; and Joe Zee, creative director of ELLE and host of the television show “All on the Line.” Talk about creative inspirations.

3) Emerson — Boston, MA

One pre-requisite to being a hipster is following the latest indie bands. College radio lets students share their passion for grunge, lo-fi, Euro pop and dubstep—music that flies under the radar of mainstream radio. And Emerson happens to hold a top ranking among the best college radio stations. It also offers strong liberal arts programs, vegetarian menus and nearby boutiques. According to Emerson student Jesus Schvahhnt, Emerson is, without a doubt, a hipster campus and says he’s a leader in the flannel revolution. For those who haven’t caught onto the trend, Emerson’s top rated college fashion blog, The Emerson College Fashion Society, featuring the messiest to the sexiest hipster ensembles is sure to act as their guide. Other standout student organizations that basically call to hipsters include Wax on Felt, the campus record label, Frames Per Second, a film production group, and Emerson Independent Video, a television production group.

4) RISD — Providence, RI

The Rhode Island School of Design is the place to go if you’re artistically inclined. A positively huge selection of artsy majors are offered, including architecture, digital media, ceramics, textiles, printmaking, interior design, graphic design, landscape architecture… the list goes on. You can even major in fashion design if you aren’t feeling the urge to go the traditional fashion school route (see FIT and Parsons). A delightful bonus: vegetarian and vegan students can appreciate RISD’s “Vegan Radio” which explores different types of diets and often brings in experts for interviews.

5) Parsons The New School for Design — New York, NY

New York City strikes again! Located in Manhattan, Parsons takes in the creative, fashion-inclined and, oh yeah, hipster loving students – besides enrolling in top-notch design and merchandising courses, students can attend Fashion Week and Fashions Night Out, shop at nearly every store imaginable, and be inspired by fabulous New York street styles. Parsons students can lock in their future fashion careers easier than non-New-Yorkers, too; every major designer and fashion magazine is located in New York, so an internship (or job) is just a few streets away.


Oh the hipsters you'll meet in college.


6) University of California, Los Angeles — Los Angeles, CA

Some may consider Los Angeles even more influential than New York City, and UCLA students can probably understand why. As a major shopping destination, even someone who just likes to shop will enjoy the endless options and blissful lack of bad weather. (Have you ever tried to shop with an umbrella, five layers and heavy snow boots in the middle of a city? Suddenly year-round warm-weather shopping sounds heavenly.) In addition to their fashion sense, hipsters are known for their appreciation of art, intelligence and witty banter. An impressive liberal arts program and the number nine fine arts program also give UCLA a competitive academic and creative edge. [Photo by Cary Wun]

7) University of California, Berkeley — Berkeley, CA

Fashion rules once again: UC Berkeley is a top-rated college for shopping, and while it fills plenty of other hipster-approved criteria, this one may be the most impressive. Fourth St. boasts a huge variety of unique shops that sell art, jewelry, clothing, stationery, lingerie and specialty items (plus tons of restaurants), making Fourth St. the ultimate weekend destination for students. Berkeley is also top-rated for vegetarian food options, offers fine arts degrees and has a strong student radio station – what’s not to love?

8) Yale — New Haven, CT

Yale may be a traditional Ivy League school, but it certainly has a strong creative side, too – its fine arts program is ranked among the highest in the country, and a boatload of stellar degrees (including a strong liberal arts program) means hipsters at Yale can study whatever their hearts desire. Yale is also extremely vegetarian-friendly and is located in the heart of New Haven, Connecticut – not exactly a “hipster city,” but the quiet, colonial atmosphere may just inspire you to pull out those oversize glasses and grandpa cardigans – if that’s your thing, anyway.

9) Carnegie Mellon — Pittsburgh, PA

Artsy hipsters can also feel comfortable at Carnegie Mellon, which is one of the best fine arts schools in the country. Architecture, design, studio art and drama are top majors at Carnegie Mellon, but their unique College of Humanities & Social Sciences (H&SS) lets students explore several different fields. Instructors in H&SS focus on helping students solve “real world” problems rather than just memorizing lecture notes and encourage them to collaborate with students of different majors for projects and assignments. Think of it as a non-conformist liberal arts program… and isn’t anti-conformity what hipsters are all about?

10) Georgetown University — Washington, DC

In addition to politically focused, Washington, D.C. ranks as one of the top hipster cities around. And this year it seems like more students are adding “hipster” to their resumes, especially at Georgetown. As a top U.S. shopping destination, Georgetown kids build their hipster style at the vintage shops, thrift stores and cute boutiques just minutes from campus.  But they aren’t your typical hipsters; many Georgetown students claim they’re hipster because their style is “ironic” and errs on the side of preppiness. Georgetown student Christina Nelson couldn’t define the typical Georgetown hipster: “I wouldn't be a hipster if I answered your question.” Georgetown’s strong liberal arts program, top-rated student radio station and the unmistakably cool D.C. atmosphere are just icing on the (dairy-free) cake.


For more university rankings, check out:

CM's Top 10 Health Obsessed Universities

Top 10 LGBT Friendly Universities

Top 10 Daily College Newspapers

Top 10 Colleges with the Hottest Girls

Top 10 Colleges with the Hottest Guys

Sophomore > Journalism and Art History > Indiana University

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