According to a recent poll by the American Institute for Economic Research, Bloomington (home of the Hoosiers) is considered the 16th best college town in the nation. Now don't get me wrong, that's a respectable ranking; but the college towns selected before Bloomington are what upset me. For example:
7. Lafayette, Indiana. Home of the--it hurts to even type it out--Purdue Boilermakers.
Upon seeing their higher placement, I let out one of those Dick Vitale "ARE YOU SERIOUS?!" screams.
Not only is Purdue boring (I know that's harsh, but as an IU student, I felt obligated to write it), but having their town placed higher than Bloomington as one of the nation's "Top College Towns" is about as bad as it gets. Like, worse than getting socks for your birthday, or wearing Crocs.
I visited Purdue back in 2008 (my brother was looking at the school, I wasn't that far ahead of my time) and I was not 100 percent sold on the campus. First of all, I don't really remember a college town around the campus; I remember fields, fields, some old and dirty dorm, and fields. To me, Purdue's campus was lacking something, and that something was a college culture.
Once I visited IU, I immediately saw a difference. Bloomington has a variety of hot spots that can attract all types of ages. And for those who think Bloomington is just a "bar town," I can assure that that is not true. I don't turn 21 for another two years, and I still can name several places where I can go with my friends to grab a burger or see a show. Here's an educational video, if my 50 words haven't yet convinced you:
Bloomington's atmosphere had a serious impact on my college decision last year. The scenery is incredible, especially around the Holidays, and no matter where I am on campus, I never feel far away from town. I live in one of the farthest dorms from downtown Bloomington, and I still consider everything in walking distance. And if you feel too far, there is always a bus that can take you to where you want to go.
Everything I need can be found in Bloomington. If I need a groceries or new clothes, I'm only five minutes away from college mall; if my Q'doba needs must be satisfied, I can find the nearest location just a couple minutes from my classes.
Not to mention, we get some big names to perform in Bloomington. In January, I saw Guster at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre, and it just became revealed that rappers Macklemore, Talib Kweli, and Wale will be performing at the annual Little 500 events.
When choosing a college, keep Indiana in mind. It has everything-and-more to offer, on and off campus. I come from out of state (New Jersey, if it's worth anything) and I did not feel out of place once I got to Bloomington. At such a diverse campus, you really can find everything you need. And it does not hurt that our athletics are further improving. With our Men's Soccer team winning the National Championship last fall and our basketball team returning to its glory days, the campus is only getting better.
Don't let AIER's rankings fool you. Sixteenth place may be better than no place at all, but IU certainly has more to offer than most (or at least one) of the schools ranked above it.