Philadelphia is not only a major metropolitan area, but also a bustling college town. Regarded as the birthplace of the American republic, Philadelphia, or Philly as it is affectionally called, is home to over 57 public and private institutions of higher learning, including the Temple University, University of the Sciences (USciences), Thomas Jefferson University, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM).
While attending school at any of these esteemed institutions, graduate students will undoubtedly find themselves immersed in an environment swimming with excitement, history, and scholastic intrigue.
All of which can make the decision on the best place to live during your studies even more important.
Temple University is a public research university considered one of the largest providers of education in the professional fields of medicine, podiatry, dentistry, architecture, engineering, and pharmacy.
The school is rated 3rd on the list of Top 25 Graduate Sports Psychology Degree Programs; 14th among the Best Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in the world; and 10th best Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program in the U.S..
Notable Temple University alumni include U.S. Congressmen, celebrities of the likes as Bob Saget and international DJ Diplo, as well as the vast majority of professional practitioners in the local Philadelphia region.
Additionally, historic visits from the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the university’s sizeable African-American student population have earned The Owls (Temple University’s mascot creature) unofficial title among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country.
Temple University’s main campus is located in North Philadelphia, 2 miles above the main downtown area, referred to as Center City. During the daytime North Philly is generally considered safe making it a suitable environment for work and study. However, at night, the surrounding areas are known to experience elevated rates of crime and other disturbances, which leads many Temple graduate students to live either in Center City or in University City, an area adjacent to the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) campus.
University of the Sciences
Resting just south of UPenn and close to Drexel University is the University of the Sciences (USciences), a four-year private research college specializing in biomedical research and pharmacy.
For more than 200 years, USciences has been at the forefront of healthcare, acting as the first pharmacy school in all of North America.
The University of the Sciences has achieved numerous accolades and has been ranked the leading Division II school for academic excellence by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
It is also recognized as one of the best occupational therapy schools in Pennsylvania; one of the best pharmacy schools in the state; and among the top 10 best MBA programs in Philadelphia.
Since the 1800’s, USciences alumni have gone on to create pharmaceutical companies that are now a part of the biggest brands in healthcare and medicine: Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson. To this day the school has raised millions in research and development funding and has even attracted the development of tech incubators in the local area.
With such an exciting history and a plethora of opportunities at hand just steps from campus, pharmacy and other graduate students at the University of the Sciences tend to gravitate to in the surrounding area, University City, when seeking the best place to live.
Thomas Jefferson University
Blocks from Independence Hall and Washington Square, you will find Thomas Jefferson University. Founded in 1876, Thomas Jefferson University is a smaller private university located in the heart of Center City.
With a smaller student body of over 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Thomas Jefferson University offers 160 programs in the fields of business, design, engineering, fashion, family health, and nursing. Most recently, in the pursuit of continued excellence and expansion, Thomas Jefferson University joined forces with Philadelphia University to become one.
Among its most notable achievements, The Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University is rated as one of the best medical schools (top 60) in the country, and the schools affiliated teaching hospital, Jefferson Hospital, has consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the U.S. in multiple specialties including lung cancer surgery, colon cancer surgery, and pulmonary disease.
As a geographically confined campus, housing for both undergraduate students and close graduate students is limited, therefore, Thomas Jefferson University students, depending on their preference will choose either University City or Center City as ideal places to live.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is a private medical school headquartered in the Northwestern region of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Dating back to 1899, PCOM is one of the oldest medical schools in the country, where today roughly 2,800 medical students and more receive doctoral training in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, psychology, and physical therapy.
Accredited by the American Osteopathic Association, PCOM operates primary care health centers throughout the region and is known for being at the forefront of creating community-driven health care initiatives,
Distinguished alumni have included the likes of President Richard M. Nixon’s very own physician, and the school even received recognition as one of the top producers of the best doctors in the nation. A title that greatly spurred its expansion into two additional locations found in Georgia.
As a graduate student only program, those studying at PCOM commonly attending the college may decide to settle in the immediate surrounding area, Wynnefield Heights, a cookie cutter, suburban neighborhood far removed from any semblance of university living.
However, being a wealthier community finding affordable housing can be competitive, which leads most PCOM graduate students to seek apartments in University City.
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Center City vs. University City: Which to Choose
In general, the graduate students at Temple University, the University of the Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, UPenn and Drexel University to prioritize Center City and University City as the best potential places to live while going to school in the local area.
Both of which have their own unique personality that deserve an honest comparison.
For graduate students looking to reside in a more urban setting, Center City can be the most exciting choice. A gleaming metropolis packed with nightlife and entertainment venues, best-in-class retail, dazzling skyscrapers, and endless dining and food options, living in Center City is as close to New York City living achievable as a grad student in Philadelphia.
The added benefit of living in one of America’s first cities, is the overflow of art and cultural events that can be attended at the many private art galleries, museums, and other centers sprinkled throughout the area.
However, due to its close proximity to everything, living in Center City will be more expensive for often less than stellar accommodations, especially on a limited graduate student budget.
It is common to find older building with newly renovated urban lofts (outfitted with modern kitchens, stainless steel appliances, and rooftop decks) ranging in price from $1,799 a month for a studio all the way up to $4,500 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment.
Furthermore, parking is not always guaranteed and may come at an additional price, in addition to utilities; encountering fellow graduate students is less common as housing here is specifically targeted to local working professionals in the area; and most notably, unlike University City Core, Center City is not patrolled by campus security requiring extra vigilance when travelling home at night.
In seeking an environment that is still urban in feel, yet still maintains an environment friendly to even to studious individuals, most graduate students at these schools will more often than not settle in University City.
University City is a unique neighborhood in West Philadelphia and West of the Schuylkill River that is home to the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the University of the Sciences. Due to its diversity, it is considered a vibrant melting pot of intellect, people, and culture, and an ideal place to study, work, and live for graduates and professional students.
A smaller enclave compared to Center City, University City manages to offer residents all the thrills a city can offer, with suburban pockets settings that offer ideal housing accommodations.
University City is regarded as Philadelphia’s “best food neighborhood” by PhillyMag.com, is a paradise for walkers and bicyclists, and is a mere 20 minutes to even the furthest regions of Philadelphia including the major college campuses.
Above all else, University City provide a greater number of housing options available. Housing can vary from red brick row houses, converted Victorian single-family homes, standard apartments found in older traditional buildings and even the high rise luxury buildings you might find in Center City.
All of which manage to offer modern living spaces at much more affordable prices. In many cases, graduate students and other working professionals can find for as low as $1,400 a month spacious and luxuriously decorated 1-bedroom apartments.
Source: UPenn Free Photo Library
The Best Place to Live in University City
Graduate students seeking the best place to live in University City will rest easy when finding the University City Lofts. As newly renovated apartments, the University City Lofts offer the best of many worlds for students looking to balance work, a social life and time for deep study and concentration.
Situated in the charming area of West Powelton in University City, apartments at the University City Lofts are equipped with the best that graduate student housing can offer: stainless steel appliances, in unit washer and dryers, luxury finishes, a co-working space, yoga and meditation spaces on the rooftop deck, breakfast bars in every apartment, and Wi-Fi capabilities.
The eclectic collection of fair-trade coffee shops, traditional corner stores, high end boutiques, sidewalk murals and wide selection of international foods that can be found in West Powelton act as a huge draw to graduate students and working professionals alike.
The University City Lofts are also steps from a subway-surface trolley station (the SEPTA Route 10 line) which within minutes transports students to Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), the University of the Sciences, and all that Philadelphia has to offer.
More importantly, unique to living at the University City Lofts is the sense of a true communal life. Residents like, Haratio, remarking on how, “we have gotten to know a lot of people in the community here […] Everyone comes out and has barbeques and we hang out it’s been a good time. It’s also a quiet neighborhood so those of you who need to study or young professionals [who] want a place to kind of unwind after the day, it’s really good for that.”
Overall, the University City Lofts seamlessly enable its residents, graduate students, fellows, medical residents, and PhD candidates, the opportunity to live affordably in a tranquil environment incredibly close to all of the urban bustle Philadelphia has to offer.
If you’re a graduate student ready to secure housing, book a private tour of the building today at www.universitycityapartments.com.