By Nora Tooher
Tallmadge students looking for a great college experience need go no further than Pittsburgh, which was recently rated the third best mid-sized college metro in the nation.
The American Institute for Economic Research ranked destinations in four categories based on population size. Major metro areas were cities with more than 2.5 million residents, while mid-size metros had between 1 million and 2.5 million residents and small metros had between 250,000 and 1 million residents. “College towns” were defined as cities with fewer than 250,000 residents.
Steel City was the No. 3 mid-sized metro, based on its academic environment, quality of life and professional opportunities.
Pittsburgh’s highest points were for academic research and development, as well as accessibility via public transportation, walking or bicycling. It also fared well in areas of student diversity – 4.5 percent – and degree attainment, with 41.5 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds achieving a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Colleges and universities in the area include Carnegie Mellon University; Duquesne University; Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania University-Penn State Beaver and University of Pittsburgh.
San Jose, Calif., was ranked the No. 1 mid-sized college city, followed by Austin, Texas. Buffalo, N.Y., was fourth and Raleigh, N.C., was fifth. Nashville, Tenn. was sixth, followed by Hartford, Conn.; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City and Columbus.
The Big Apple was the top college destination among large metros. The New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y., metro area is home to almost 40 colleges and universities, including Fordham University, Columbia University, Pace University, Rutgers University and New York University.
Boston came in second among large metros, followed by Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Minneapolis; Seattle; Los Angeles; Baltimore; Denver and Chicago.
The top 10 college destinations among small metros were: Boulder, Colo.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Madison, Wis.; Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.; Gainesville, Fla.; Lincoln, Neb.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Trenton, N.J.; Lexington, Ky., home of the University of Kentucky and Fort Collins, Colo.
Ithaca, N.Y., took top honors among college towns, followed by Ames, Iowa; State College, Penn.; Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Fla.; Iowa City, Iowa; Corvalis, Ore.; Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, Va.; Charlottesville, Va., and Lawrence, Kan.