Campus Life

America's Coldest Colleges

As I write this, it’s the first week of February here in the Northeast. I just came back inside from making a death-defying trip over the frozen, icy tundra of my driveway in my wife’s Honda Civic. The snow and ice covering my concrete-paved driveway would require a CAT D-9 bulldozer to break it loose.

So, to facilitate her venture to the grocery store, I moved her car to the end of the driveway, which will probably be its new parking spot, instead of in the garage, until all this ice and snow loosens up, hopefully by June or July. The outside air temperature is just above zero.

“Just above zero” reminds me of late comedian George Carlin’s bit as the Hippy Dippy Weatherman. He reports, “The temperature is zero. No weather today.” Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, a morning like this got me to thinking about cold colleges. Naturally, I turned to the Web and searched for “America’s coldest colleges.” That took me immediately to The Weather Channel’s site and their excellent article, the 25 Coldest Colleges in North America.

Since many of you high school seniors will be making your enrollment decisions this spring, I thought it might be fun to consider some schools where the winters are memorable, perhaps for reasons other than good skiing. Although the article focuses on the entire North American continent, I’ll limit my highlights here to colleges that are in the United States. Let’s take a look.



– Champlain College – Burlington, Vt.


– Northern Illinois University – Dekalb, Ill.


– Beloit College – Beloit, Wis.


– Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vt.


– St. Lawrence University – Canton, N.Y.


– Macalester College – St. Paul, Minn.


– Carleton College – Northfield, Minn.


– University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire


– Concordia College – Moorhead, Minn.


– Minnesota State Univ. Moorhead – Moorhead, Minn.



Although I didn’t list all 25 of the coldest colleges, it appears that Moorhead, Minnesota has a corner on cold. Check the complete article for the entire Top 25. I’m getting cold just thinking about it.

Perhaps the point of my posting here is to make you aware of the impact of weather on your college choices. One of the better strategies for choosing a college in colder climes would be to visit in the depths of winter. If you can handle walking across campus in minus-degree windchills and deep, blowing snow, then you should have no problem spending at least four winters there.

Bottom line: Look before you leap (and freeze)!


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles on College Confidential.