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Articles / Campus Life / America's Coldest Colleges

America's Coldest Colleges

Dave Berry
Written by Dave Berry | Feb. 3, 2015

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.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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