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Which US Universities Have the Best Climate?

NOV 10, 2020

Do you find the Ivy League Universities too cold for comfort? Check out these 9 top-ranked US universities that deliver both in their academics and their climates.

In deciding where they would like to study, a lot of students looking at US universities often consider the many top universities in the North-East of the country, such as the Ivy League. In many ways, this is understandable, given their performance in university rankings and prestige.

However, a big factor that is often overlooked by students in their decision can be the cold winters experienced at many of these universities. For example, a lot of people don’t realise that in the Boston area (the location of Harvard and MIT), the average winter temperature is a brisk -2˚C (28˚F). At Dartmouth College in New Hampshire it is even colder, with an average January temperature of −7.2˚C (19˚F)!

The good news for students who consider winter temperatures an important factor in deciding their best-fit university is that there are plenty of universities around the US where you won't freeze all winter long. Check out these 9 top-ranked universities where you will experience beautifully mild (and even rather warm) winter climates:

Stanford University

Average Jan Daily High: 16˚C (60˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 8˚C (46˚F)

Stanford University Medview

Stanford University is located in Stanford, California. Part of the San Francisco Bay Area, the region has a Mediterranean-type climate created by the effect of the topography and the nearby ocean currents. The result is some of the most consistent year-round temperatures in the United States, with moist, mild winters.

In addition to the nice weather, the location of Stanford benefits from its proximity to “Silicon Valley,” home to the world’s leading technology companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook. Thus, students have unique access to some of the world’s best internship and job opportunities.

Stanford is often dubbed the “Ivy of the West” and is ranked the number 2 university in the world by Times Higher Education (THE). It has a reputation for producing entrepreneurial students who go on to produce, invent, develop and champion globally significant initiatives. Learn more about Stanford University here.

Did you know- Crimson Students are 3x more likely to gain admission to Stanford and MIT? Find out more about our admissions support service to see how we can help you!

The University of California - Berkeley

Average Jan Daily High: 16˚C (58˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 8˚C (45˚F)

University Of California Berkeley Min

Nearby Stanford is the University of California-Berkeley, on the Eastern Shore of San Francisco Bay. As such, it too has a similar Mediterranean climate, and experiences mild winters.

Academically, UC-Berkeley is a public research university, is regarded as one of the most academic and prestigious public universities in the US. They are ranked the 7th best university in the world by THE. Learn more about UC-Berkeley here.

The University of California - Los Angeles

Average Jan Daily High: 21˚C (70˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 10˚C (49˚F)

Ucla Medview

Located further south in California is The University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA). The “City of Angels” is even warmer than the San Francisco Bay Area by virtue of being further south and warm desert winds from the East. Occasionally, the warm “Santa Ana Winds” result in LA temperatures reaching over 30˚C (68˚C) in the middle of winter!

UCLA is located in the LA suburb of Westwood, meaning that it is also in close proximity to landmarks such as Sunset Boulevard, the Getty Museum and Hollywood.

UCLA is home to world-renowned faculty who teach in 230 undergraduate and graduate majors, with more than two dozen academic programmes ranked among the top 20 in their disciplines. USNews and World Report rank UCLA as the top public university in the US.

Did you know- Crimson Students are 3x more likely to gain admission to UC-Berkeley and UCLA? Find out more about our admissions support service to see how we can help you!

The University of Southern California

Average Jan Daily High: 21˚C (70˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 10˚C (49˚F)

Usc

The University of Southern California (USC) is also located in the vast city of Los Angeles, thus benefiting from the same mild winters. More specifically, USC is close to the downtown area of LA, and is a short walk or metro-ride away from LA landmarks such as the Staples Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

USC is one of California’s oldest and top private research universities. They are perhaps best known for their film, communications and journalism programs, as well as their sporting programs. The USC School of Cinematic Arts is ranked the top film school in the USA.

The California Institute of Technology

Average Jan Daily High: 20˚C (68˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 8˚C (46˚F)

Cal Tech

Caltech in Pasadena, California is a third great university in the city of Los Angeles area. Compared with the coastal areas of Los Angeles, the climate in Pasadena is more Mediterranean, with typically hotter summers and slightly cooler winters. Situated at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, it is known to occasionally snow on the coldest nights of the year.

Caltech is notorious for having some of the most prestigious science and technology programs in the world. They are ranked the 4th best university in the world by THE.

University of Arizona

Average Jan Daily High: 19˚C (66˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 6˚C (42°F)

The University of Arizona is located in Tuscon, Arizona, beside the sunny Sonoran Desert. As expected, the climate is dry and hot in summer, as well as mild in winter. However, it should be noted that Tucson is not as dry as the rest of Arizona, and benefits from orographic rainfall from the nearby mountains. On the coldest nights of the year, it has on-occasion snowed in the city, but this is extremely rare. For those willing to go on a sightseeing trip, a few hours drive North is the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, some of America’s greatest natural landmarks.

Arizona is known for their architecture programs and their athletics programs.

Rice University

Average Jan Daily High: 16˚C (60˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 7˚C (45˚F)

In Houston, Texas, Rice University experiences pleasant Southern winter temperatures due to its consistent winds from the humid Gulf of Mexico. There are some cold spells each year, where temperatures dip below 0˚C (32˚F) for around 13 nights per year. However, the humidity in the city often makes the temperature seem hotter than it actually is.

Rice University, a private research university, is academically known for being one of the top STEM universities in the US. They are ranked the 16th best university in the US by USNews.

The University of Florida

Average Jan Daily High: 20˚C (68˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 6˚C (43˚F)

Also in the South is the University of Florida. Located in Gainesville, Florida, the university has a humid and subtropical climate. It is known as “Tree City,” due to the fact that a dense tree canopy covers 47% of the city’s area. Like in Houston, there is some variation in temperature and some cold evenings each year, but generally the weather often seems hotter than it is due to the humidity.

The University of Florida are known for being one of the best public universities in the US. They are known for their biology and engineering programs.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Average Jan Daily High: 27˚C (81˚F)

Average Jan Daily Low: 18˚C (65˚F)

We saved the US university with the most glorious winter climate until last...

Located in the island state of Hawai’i, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa boasts the most glorious climate all year round. With a sizzling average January daily high of 27˚C (81˚F), Hawaiian winters are as warm as some mainland universities' summers! Whats more, ocean temperatures rarely drop below 24 °C (75 °F), meaning you can comfortably swim or surf at the beach in the winter months.

The University of Hawai’i system is the largest public college and university system in Hawai’i, operating on all 6 Hawaiian islands. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is the flagship university of this system with 12,968 undergraduate students and 17 schools and colleges.

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