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With thousands of post-secondary institutions to choose from spread all over the country, one may often wonder if they made the right choice. I sometimes think about how my life would’ve been different if instead of a Pac-10 school I’d gone to one in the Big 10 or SEC, or maybe even an Ivy Leaguer (though it was never an option in the first place). They say that when you make a decision as important as figuring out which college you’ll attend, it’s not so much about the choice you make as much as it’s about whether you make the most of that choice or not.
Now that’s all well and good, but are there objectively bad places to go to college? For this analysis, I’m honing in not on the colleges themselves, but the states in which they’re located. I’ve scoured the internet and compiled the results of countless surveys and rankings of education, quality of life, alcohol laws, population density, mental health, and other statistics to come up with my own comprehensive ranking of the very worst states in which to attend college. Let me preface this by saying that I have nothing personal against any of these states or the people in them; they are just what my analytics came up with. And remember, I’m not basing this on the specific colleges within these states, but rather the states themselves.
5 (Tie). Kentucky
Notable Universities: UK, WKU, Louisville, EKU
Okay, so none of us are strangers to the stereotypes about Kentucky. However, I believe it’s got at least some potential. I’ve met some very nice people who told me that attending WKU is a good time, and I was also able to get in contact with a friend who currently goes to UK and is in one of their sororities. This is what she had to say about her school:
Advantages: The ability to say you banged a lot of future NBA players, being on the border of being a northern or southern college.
Disadvantages: Hotter than hell and colder than a well-digger’s ass crack in the same month, our fraternities get kicked off or put on probation constantly, the homeless crackhead who used to moonwalk near campus (affectionately known as Michael Crackson) has not been spotted in a while.
Better Alternative: Tennessee. Not very different, but I’ve heard the bars in Nashville are legendary.
5 (Tie). Montana
Notable Universities: University of Montana, Montana State
As you can see, I really had to stretch it when coming up with Montana’s “Notable Universities.” Montana is an absolutely beautiful place, but any state that consists mostly of uninhabited terrain is going to be a tough sell when it comes to choosing where you’ll go to college. If you love the outdoors and not much else, it might just be the place for you.
Better Alternative: Colorado has very similar terrain and outdoor activities, but also features big cities and recreational marijuana.
4 (Tie). Oklahoma
Notable Universities: OU, Oklahoma State, Tulsa
It’s hard for me to be fair to Oklahoma. I’ve only personally been through the panhandle of the state, which I believe is one of the worst places in the entire universe. However, I’ll bet that most people who actually live in Oklahoma would be inclined to agree. Nobody lives in the panhandle. There are probably a lot of great times to be had in Norman and Stillwater, but you won’t find me there for any longer than a weekend.
Better Alternative: Texas. If you really want to be surrounded by flat land, oil fields, and washed-up dreams, there’s a little place called Lubbock that you should know about.
4 (Tie). Louisiana
Notable Universities: LSU, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, McNeese State
It was pretty shocking to me that Louisiana ended up on this list, but their state’s shitty education ratings dragged them here. LSU and Tulane are both fine universities, but there’s a serious drop off after that. I’ve lived in Louisiana myself, and can confirm that much of the state is comprised of large tracts of open, marshy wilderness and not much else. However, you should be fine if you stay close to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as those can be some of the most fun places in the country.
Better Alternative: I really can’t suggest one. Say what you will about Louisiana, but there isn’t another state like it.
Notable Universities: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Alcorn State
God, where do I even start with Mississippi? These guys can be counted on to make an appearance on any “worst” list in the USA, and they don’t exactly have the most lauded educational institutions. I have friends who say they had the time of their lives while going to school in Oxford, but nobody will be impressed with your degree from there. Mississippi has no major professional sports teams, no real hub cities, and not much to keep you there after college.
Better Alternative: If you really wanna stay right there on the Gulf Coast, Louisiana has a couple better schools, much better food, and the French Quarter.
Notable Universities: University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Belmont
It has to be tough to live in a place that regularly churns out pop-country nightmares. I know a lot of people from Tennessee who have said some very good things about it, but none of them actually live there at the moment, which I think says a lot. There’s definitely some great food in Tennessee, but nothing you won’t be able to find in the states that border it.
Better Alternative: Who knows, maybe Butch Jones leaving will bring Tennessee out of the top five? We’ll have to wait and see.
1. West Virginia
Notable Universities: WVU, Marshall
The only good things I’ve heard about West Virginia have come from the great John Denver. It has some breathtaking scenery, but not a whole lot else. It’s hard to find very many good things to say about one of the poorest, least educated, and least economically developed states in the nation, and some fun Saturday afternoons in Morgantown aren’t enough of a redeeming factor to pull West Virginia out of the gutter.
Better Alternative: Pennsylvania has much better schools than West Virginia and also features the same broken dreams of industries that went bust long ago..
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