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Finding the best urban colleges for a global education

In the city, you’re a student of more than just books. At the best urban colleges, you’ll learn through almost every encounter and in almost everything you do.

Lists of the best urban colleges include many the most renowned schools in the world, like Columbia, Harvard, and Georgetown. They attract students not only because of their prestige, but because of what their urban environments offer: easy access to thriving business communities, cultural opportunities, and the energy of daily life in the city.

Maybe that appeals to you. But maybe you’re also drawn to the peaceful quads of a small school in a college town. Maybe you want a place that might feel a bit more like a family, where your professors and fellow students share your Christian faith.

What if you could find a school in the heart of the city that still felt like home?

It’s possible. Take the time to explore what the best urban Christian colleges have to offer.

An urban college: an intro to diversity

For most students, college is the first time they’ll live away from home. No matter where you go, it’ll be a new world for you.

An urban college, though, is different. In the city, the world’s diversity–ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, religious, and occupational–gets bundled together. It’s not just a new world. It’s the world, in microcosm.

That’s why an urban college experience is unique. Whenever you step out your front door, you come across some new aspect of human diversity.

At an urban Christian college, you encounter and learn from the city alongside Christian friends and with the support and guidance of caring faculty. You can benefit from the city and its challenges as part of a genuine community.

5 ways a downtown university can offer a diverse experience

  1. Diversity of career opportunities: Whether you’re exploring business, the arts, non-profit work or other careers, you’ll in most cases find far more opportunities for jobs and internships in the city.

    From Fortune 500 companies to niche, independent booksellers, the city offers a breadth of employment opportunities that can’t be found elsewhere. And more and more often, these businesses operate or have customers in countries around the world. A global marketplace is their daily reality.

  1. Diversity of needs to serve: Wherever you go in a city, you find people in need. The diverse needs that people have teach you more about human experience and give you opportunities to grow in empathy and compassion.

    You may encounter people in need through urban churches, non-profits, or simply through getting to know your neighbors. As you find ways to serve, you may discover your calling. You may find that you’re gifted to meet particular needs.

  1. Diversity of arts and culture: From small music clubs to professional orchestras, from theaters to museums to nationally-recognized sports teams, there’s no place like the city to encounter the best arts and culture.

    Not only are cities the home of a wide range of artistic venues, they frequently host performances and exhibits from around the world.

  1. Diversity of cultural backgrounds: The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 dramatically changed the ethnic composition of American society. The change is summarized this way by history.com: “Whereas in the 1950s, more than half of all immigrants were Europeans and just 6 percent were Asians, by the 1990s only 16 percent were Europeans and 31 percent were of Asian descent, while the percentages of Latino and African immigrants had also jumped significantly.”

    In the past fifty years, the United States has become home to people from every part of the world, and this diversity is most obvious in American cities. If you’re eager to learn from, serve, and build friendships with people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, an urban college offers an extraordinary opportunity.

  1. Diversity of ideas: A good college education in any environment will teach you to read, engage, and respond to a range of ideas. You’ll learn different ways people have tried to answer the hardest questions life poses. You’ll refine your own understanding. You’ll learn to defend your ideas and beliefs with careful reasoning.

    In the city, though, you encounter this diversity of thought through books and the guy sitting next to you on the bus. You’ll meet people every day who think about life differently than you do. In diverse forums throughout the city, you can meet scholars, authors, and activists and hear them debate and discuss issues and ideas.

    The city offers the best opportunity to grow in your ability to listen to, learn from, and respond to diverse beliefs with both clear thinking and empathy.

Out in the world, and part of a family

College can be an exciting phase of life, but it’s not easy. College in the city offers a lot, and that includes challenges that will force you to mature and trust God in new ways.

At an urban Christian college, you won’t face the challenges of city life alone. The Bible calls the church the family of God. At an urban Christian college, your professors will be mentors who care about your faith. Your fellow students will be your brothers and sisters in Christ. You’ll learn from your urban environment with people who will help you respond wisely and come to know yourself better.

You’ll be in the heart of the city—with family.

We’d love to talk with you about city life at North Central University. NCU is in downtown Minneapolis, in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the United States. The museums, theater, music, and food in our city are some of the best in the country. The business community is robust and career opportunities are abundant.

Can’t decide where to go to college?

Download this helpful college location comparison guide to evaluate the pros and cons of different types of universities.