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MAR 16, 2020 • 23 min read
Throw traditions out the window and get ready to partayyy!
Gone are the days of picking where you should go to university based on your academic scores.
Say goodbye to choosing a university based on your IB, NCEA, ATAR, GPA or CIE results and hello to the ultimate millennial way of choosing where to study.
Drum roll please...... based on your favourite food!
Yeah, you heard me right.
Whether you're in the US already or considering the move abroad for your education, look no further.
I’m going to help you decide where you should spend the next four (or three) years of your life based on what tickles your tummy!
We’ve got a lot to digest.
Do you go crazy for ooey, gooey cheese? Do you wish every night could be a late night so you could order pizza? Well, you’re in luck because these three unis got you covered!
Keep in mind that pizza is different in pretty much every state in the US, so make sure you pick your university based on your favourite pizza style!
Ever heard of deep dish pizza? If not, get ready to have your mind blown!
Deep dish pizza is the ultimate indulgence. It literally looks like a pie.
A cheesy pie!
Think deep cast iron skillet filled with pizza dough packed around all sides creating a “pie” crust effect layered with cheese, meat, cheese, meat and finally sauce. ON. THE. TOP.
And, no one does deep dish pizza near the University of Chicago better than Medici on 57th.
Distance from UChicago: Never more than a ten minute walk away
Stand Out Menu Items: Garbage pizza, Hans’ Smoked German Ham Pizza, Spinach Goat Cheese Pizza
Google Rating: 4.3 stars based on 564 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 8.7%
Average SAT Score: 1505
Average ACT Score: 33
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $63,768-$74,526 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: A love for deep dish pizza and a lot of creativity. UChicago is known for its weird essay prompts
Are you still recovering from deep dish pizza shock?
Well, the good new is, New Haven-style pizza a.k.a apizza is totally and completely different (aside from the fact that it has a crust, cheese, sauce, etc…)!
New Haven pizza is less intense than its deep dish cousin, which means you can eat a lot more of it in one sitting!
So what makes apizza, apizza?
A few things!
Hungry yet? I sure am!
Time to run over to Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana for a slice! Or two. Or three.
Forget it, just get a box!
What makes Pepe’s so great?
I’m glad you asked. Pepe’s invented the white clam pizza.
Yes. Clams on pizza.
Don’t knock it till you try it because trust me, the Romano cheese, fresh garlic, parsley, olive oil and clams will knock you off your feet every single time.
Luckily, Yale’s got the original Pepe’s right next door. Otherwise, Yale wouldn’t have any other claim to fame!
Distance from Yale: About a 28 minute walk. It’s worth it. Trust me.
Stand Out Menu Items: White clam pizza, white clam pizza with bacon, white clam pizza, original tomato pie
Google Rating: 4.5 stars based on 1,318 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 6.9%
Average SAT Score: 1540
Average ACT Score: 33
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $70,570 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: A love for clams on pizza and a thick skin. New Haven can be kinda scary.
Ah, the pinnacle of US pizza…
New York-style pizza.
Remember when I said New Haven pizza was easy to eat?
New York-style pizza may be the easiest pizza to consume.
Because the slices are HUGE, the crust is thin, the toppings are light (i.e. not a lot of tomato sauce or cheese) and it’s unbelievably delicious!
By far, the best place to grab a slice (or 50) by NYU is at Joe’s Pizza.
Even though Joe’s is a chain that can be found around NYC, the original one on Carmine St. is right by NYU and by far the best.
And, it’s open ‘till 4AM!
Did I mention that each slice is only about $3.50 USD?!
Obviously, the right thing to do is to go for lunch, dinner and late night (or early morning) feed.
P.S. Don’t be afraid to up your pizza game by using the parmesan, chilli flakes and oregano shakers.
Distance from NYU: 3 minutes!!!!
Stand Out Menu Items: Pizza.
Google Rating: 4.4 stars based on 1,383 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 27%
Average SAT Score: 1410
Average ACT Score: 30
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $60,098-$77,672 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: The ability to eat an insane amount of pizza.
Like pizza, American BBQ differs from region to region.
But don’t worry, all American BBQ involves tender meat with burnt bits but the finger lickin’ sauce changes depending on where you are.
If BBQ is your favourite food, you’re bound to fall in love with any of these regional delicacies!
Aside from the fact that Vanderbilt is an excellent uni, it’s also near some of the best BBQ in Tennessee.
Say hello to Martin’s Bar-b-que Joint.
Your new best friend.
Martin’s will be there for you throughout all four years in uni. Through the good times and the bad, Martin’s will hold your hand.
Don’t worry, Martin’s will never leave you. Promise.
So, what makes Martin’s so special?
It encapsulates everything that makes Tennessee BBQ so great!
From whole hogs, to wet and dry ribs, Tennessee BBQ is the only ten I see! Jokes.
Whole hog BBQ is a staple in Tennessee. Basically, the pit master takes a whole hog and barbeques it for 12-24 hours lowww and slowwww.
The end product is super juicy, smoky and delicious! It’s so good, some people don’t even put sauce on it!
Strange, but true.
Either way, a meal at Martin’s is bound to leave you smiling from ear to ear, all semester long!
Distance from Vanderbilt: 5-8 min Uber ride
Stand Out Menu Items: Whole hog, wet or dry ribs, Redneck taco. Look it up.
Google Rating: 4.4 stars based on 1,058 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 8.6%
Average SAT Score: 1500
Average ACT Score: 34
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $67,392 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Must love country music.
Make your way down to Austin if you want some of the best brisket.
In. The. World.
If you haven’t heard of brisket, it’s a cut of meat from the lower breast or chest of a cow.
A typical cut of barbequed meat that, when cooked correctly, is absolutely delicious.
That being said, the brisket at Franklin’s BBQ is no joke.
People line up for hours just to get a taste! Luckily, you’ll have a proximity advantage if you go to UT! Just roll out of bed and drive down the street to grab a place in line.
You’ll still need to wait a while but trust me, after your first bite you’ll keep comin’ back.
I’m guessing you’ll be at Franklin’s at least once a week and hey, that’s okay!
If you love brisket, UT is the way to go!
Distance from UT: 3 min Uber ride
Stand Out Menu Items: BRISSSSKEEETTT. But really, get everything on the menu. You won’t regret it.
Google Rating: 4.7 stars based on 1,345 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 31% for out-of-state (and international) applicants, 48% for in-state applicants
Average SAT Score: 1275
Average ACT Score: 29
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-state: $17,020-$26,434 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $50,332-$55,490 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Not afraid of waiting in line for hours.
South Carolina’s known for its special mustard-based BBQ sauce, lovingly referred to as “Carolina Gold”.
It’s that good.
However, you’re likely to find many different sauces throughout South Carolina thanks to its large immigrant population and proximity to North Carolina (which has its own type of BBQ as well!).
One of the best places to get a taste of Carolina Gold and a multitude of other BBQ sauces is at Southern Belly BBQ, conveniently located right by the University of South Carolina!
Southern Belly BBQ set out to create the best BBQ sandwiches and they are doing a damn good job. Each sandwich is made with slow roasted pork smoked with oak and piled high with toppings like grilled onions, bacon and cheese!
They also offer seven different sauces to complete your BBQ experience.
Finish off your order with some sweet ice tea and you’ll be a real southerner in no time!
Distance from UT: 13 min walk
Stand Out Menu Items: Traditional sandwich, D’Jango sandwich, Grilled cheese made with pulled pork and bacon... unreal.
Google Rating: 4.5 stars based on 244 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Average SAT Score: 1270
Average ACT Score: 27
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-state: $24,398 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $44,408 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: A love of mustard.
Scoops on scoops on scoops!
Do you dream about fresh made waffle cones, creamy ice cream with cherries on top?
If so, check out these sweet universities!
If you’re a true ice cream aficionado, you need to go to the University of Vermont because Ben & Jerry’s was invented in Vermont!!!
Yep, the Ben & Jerry’s factory is in Vermont!
You’ll get to see where the magic happens and eat all of the ice cream you want!
Distance from the University of Vermont: 28 min Uber ride (it’s not thattt close, but it’s worth it!)
Stand Out Menu Items: Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, New York Super Fudge Chunk
Tripadvisor Rating: 4 stars based on 2,840 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 69%
Average SAT Score: 1206
Average ACT Score: 27
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-state: $32,874 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $56,920 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: A love of eating ice cream in the cold!
Before Ben & Jerry’s was Ben & Jerry’s they were just two regular ‘ol guys from New York named Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.
When Jerry was unable to get into med school (if only he had our help!), Ben dropped out of college and together they journeyed to Penn State, home of the Ice Cream Short Course... the greatest seven-day college course in the history of seven-day college courses!
It’s here where Ben and Jerry learned how to make ice cream and the rest is history!
Now, you don’t need to go to Penn State to take this course but if you do attend Penn State you may be able to score a job or internship or daily tour at the Penn State Creamery aka Berkey Creamery, which is the largest uni creamery in the US!
The Berkey Creamery is also the lab for your Ice Cream Course where you’ll go to over 20 workshops about the science and business of ice cream!
Most well known ice cream makers have come through the program at one point or another including people from Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Good Humor, Haagen-Dazs, Nestle and so many more!!
If you’re serious about taking your passion for ice cream and churning it into a career, Penn State is the place for you!
Distance from Penn State: On campus babay!
Stand Out Workshops: Hardening techniques, flavoring, froyo manufacturing
Cost: $2,050-$2,270 USD
Acceptance Rate: 51%
Average SAT Score: 1302
Average ACT Score: 29
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-state: $30,130-$33,130 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $44,612-$47,612 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: You must love ice cream more than anything else!
You’ve probably heard a lot about Harvard and MIT.
They are both excellent academic universities.
Together, they have produced over 125 Nobel laureates and house some of the most intelligent professors in the world.
Many students would give their kidney to attend one of these prestigious unis and have either name on their resume.
But, not very many people know that the area between Harvard and MIT is an ice cream MECCA!
Forget Nobel laureates, there are over FIVE delicious ice cream destinations in Cambridge, including a Ben & Jerry’s, of course.
Aside from Ben & Jerry’s, Cambridge is home to J.P. Licks, Lizzy’s Ice Cream, Honeycomb Creamery Creamery, Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream, and last but not least Toscanini’s.
Each ice cream haven has its own personality and each is worth visiting... at least twice a week.
Plus, Christina’s and Toscanini’s aka Tosci’s have won more awards than Harvard and MIT combined!
And so many more!
Clearly, you need add ice cream to your long list of reasons to attend Harvard and MIT!
Distance from MIT/Harvard: 3-25 minute walk
Stand Out Flavours: Tosci’s: b3- brown butter, brown sugar, fudge brownie
Christina’s: Banana Cinnamon
Lizzy’s: Peppermint Stick
Honeycomb: Apple Cider Donut & Caramel
J.P. Licks: Wild Turkey Bourbon
Ben & Jerry’s: Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz
Google Ratings: Tosci’s: 4.7 based on 1,185 reviews
Christina’s: 4.5 based on 234 reviews
Lizzy’s: 4.2 based on 41 reviews
Honeycomb: 4.6 based on 117 reviews
J.P. Licks: 4.4 based on 169 reviews
Ben & Jerry’s: 4.2 based on 41 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 5.2%
Average SAT Score: 1530
Average ACT Score: 34
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $69,600-$73,600 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Be willing to walk to MIT to get an ice cream fix when you get sick of your options on campus. Oh, and have outstanding grades, extracurricular activities and essays... just the basic requirements you need to get into any Ivy League uni.
Acceptance Rate: 4.7%
Average SAT Score: 1535
Average ACT Score: 34
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $67,430 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Be willing to walk to Harvard to get an ice cream fix when you get sick of your options on campus. Oh, and be really, really smaht.
If your favourite food is a carrot, ginger, apple smoothie and you’re also gluten free, vegan and paleo (but only on weekends), then these next unis are for you!
No surprise, they’re all in California! The most accommodating food state in the US.
Situated in the heart of Los Angeles, UCLA has a major advantage when it comes to health food thanks to their speciality dining hall,Bruin Plate (B-Plate).
Ever heard of quinoa, acai or farro?
They are all staples at this health conscious dining hall!
Instead of soda B-Plate serves house-made infusion waters made with different fruits and veggies!
Say goodbye to fries, pizza and ice cream and hello to roasted zucchini “chips”, grain bowls with poached cage-free eggs and frozen greek yogurt!
UCLA’s got all of your healthy food needs covered.
You won’t gain the infamous freshman-15 here! Nor will you have an allergic reaction to a grain you may or may not actually be allergic to... I’m looking at you celiac fakers!
Distance from UCLA: On campus!
Sample Dishes: Seitan with brown rice, kale, carrot and peanut bowl
Quinoa, cous cous & rocket salad
Caramelised onion, gouda & white bean flatbread
Pecan-sweet potato bread
Google Rating: 4.7 out of 41 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 18%
Average SAT Score: 1370
Average ACT Score: 32
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-Sstate $33,604 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $61,618 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Must love the sun!
Cal’s always been known for its super laid back, casual attitude and granola culture, and its food scene is no different.
There are multiple restaurants around campus that’ll fulfill your health needs.
Take Organic Greens, for example.
You want a turmeric, ginger, lemon cayenne shot?
Organic Greens’ got you.
You want a hummus and pita platter?
Lookin’ for a large salad selection?
Organic Greens has more than 10 options!
Plus, you get 10% off if you’re a member of one of the local yoga studios.
Talk about healthy!
Distance from Cal: 11 minute walk
Stand Out Dishes: Ocean salad with garlic tiger prawns, Paleo diet salad, zucchini noodle salad, banana ginger smoothie
Google Rating: 4.3 out of 42 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 19.7%
Average SAT Score: 1385
Average ACT Score: 32
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-state $24,090-$38,492 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $52,104-$66,506 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Not be afraid of tree-huggers.
The MIT of the West Coast combines top-notch STEM academics with healthy food galore!
There are multiple fast-casual health restaurants near campus so you’ll never get bored of eating the same paleo bowl over and over again.
One of the best (and closest) restaurants to campus is Real Food Daily, which serves healthy versions of classic comfort food such as burritos made with cashew cheese and tempeh bacon, lasagne made with cashew ricotta and burgers made with lentils and mushrooms!
Caltech is what your vegan, gluten free dreams are made of!
Distance from Cal: 2 minute walk
Stand Out Dishes: Gluten free nachos, nut-free/vegan BBQ, lasagne Napoletana
Google Rating: 4.5 out of 108 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 8%
Average SAT Score: 1560
Average ACT Score: 34
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $68,901 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Be really into STEM.
Tacos, burritos and queso, oh my!
Ever heard of a burrito?
You know, the delicious wrap made out of a tortilla stuffed with cheese, beans, meat and other goodies?
Well, San Francisco has its own style of burritos known simply as “Mission burritos.”
So what are Mission burritos exactly?
Just your typical giant steamed flour tortilla filled with Mexican rice, pico de gallo, grilled meat of your choice, beans (either black, pinto or refried) and if you’re feeling really hungry you can add cheese, sliced avo (California slang for avocado) or guac, lettuce and crema/sour cream.
If you’re looking for something extra, get it dorado-style and your burrito-maker will press your huge burrito on the griddle so the outside is nice and crisp.
Finally, your burrito (which by now seems to literally be bursting at the seams) is wrapped tightly in tin foil and handed to you.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Mine sure is!
What really sets the Mission burrito aside is its enormous size, which is why it makes a delicious drunk food or hangover food or Tuesday lunch food.
Luckily, SF State is just a short Uber ride away from the Mission district where you can get your burrito fix at any of the numerous burrito shops in the area!
But, the first place (and arguably the best place) you should go for a Mission burrito is La Taqueria!
Distance from SF State: 17 minute Uber ride
Stand Out Dishes: Mission burrito, Mission burrito “a super”, dorado-style mission burrito
Google Rating: 4.5 out of 1,632 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Average SAT Score: 1050
Average ACT Score: 21
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-state $17,742-$27,474 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $26,511-$36,347 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: A love of city life.
LA is known for more than just its health food, the city also has a robust street taco scene!
You can find taco trucks and stands on almost every corner of the city and although it may seem a bit shady to eat meat out of a truck or an open grill under a highway overpass, these tacos will be some of the best you’ll ever have.
One of the sketchier taco spots happens to be right by USC!
The shop is called Tire Shop Taqueria for no reason other than it’s located in the parking lot of a tire shop.
Well, the taco shop is actually a couple open grills, a few umbrellas and three plastic tables in a parking lot.
Not an actual store!
What the Tire Shop lacks in store front, it makes up for in flavour.
There are ladies literally pressing masa into fresh tortillas for EVERY order, men grilling meat right in front of you and loads of homemade sides and salsas.
What more could you ask for?
At $1.50 a piece, these tacos will be your go to dinner option throughout your four years at USC.
P.S. it’s also a great date place, if you want to scare your date into thinking you’re going to eat dinner at a parking lot and then surprise them with how phenomenal the food is!
Distance from USC: 5-9 minute Uber ride
Stand Out Dishes: Vampiros Mixtos (Carne Asada and Chorizo mix) taco with cheese, Pollo taco, Carne Asada taco
Yelp Rating: 5 out of 222 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 16%
Average SAT Score: 1450
Average ACT Score: 32
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): $72,273 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: An ability to try new things, like eating tacos out of a parking lot.
Down south, there’s a whole ‘nother type of Mexican food: Tex-Mex, the perfect fusion between American food and Mexican food.
Think Enchiladas, fajitas, crispy tacos and lotsss of cumin.
Also nachos smothered in hot, creamy yellow cheese.
These are the flavors that make up Tex-Mex cuisine.
Shall we say, delicioso?
Obviously there’s no better place to get Tex-Mex food than in the lone star state itself, Texas.
And in Texas, there’s one place you shouldn’t miss The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation.
Located a mere 12 minute Uber ride from the University of Houston (Go Longhorns!). Ninfa’s serves all of your favorite Tex-Mex dishes in giant portions that will give you enough for dinner and lunch the next day!
Distance from USC: 12 minute Uber ride
Stand Out Dishes: Fajitas, Enchiladas, Queso Flameado
Google Rating: 4.3 out of 1,045 reviews
Acceptance Rate: 59%
Average SAT Score: 1220
Average ACT Score: 25
Cost of Attendance (including room, board and other fees): In-state $24,605 USD a year (not including financial aid), out-of-state: $36,797 USD a year (not including financial aid)
Other Prerequisites: Cowboy boots
Although picking a university based on your favorite food may seem silly, it’s just as silly as picking one based on worldwide ranking systems.
The truth is, finding the right university should be a very personalised process based on research.
You might enjoy going to a much smaller uni more or a highly specialised uni like MIT where you can develop a very specific skillset.
Perhaps you hate city life and would rather go to a university in a small town.
Your wants and needs are the most important part of choosing a university so make sure you take yourself into account before picking a uni simply because it's ranked number one in the world.
Harvard isn’t the right fit for everyone and that’s okay.