What U.S. Campus is Most Like Waterloo?

In a recent post about rankings, I showed that Waterloo often appears in the rankings alongside colleges like Penn State, Texas A&M, Purdue, UCLA, Michigan, etc.  So perhaps the next question is, “how does Waterloo look and feel compared to these or other colleges?”.  Rankings are one thing, but if you don’t like the environment then the ranking probably doesn’t matter.  By “look and feel”, I mean the general campus environment (architecture, space, etc.) and situation (urban, suburban, rural, etc.).  Waterloo is a fairly young university (just 60 years old this year), located within a medium sized city (population about 380,000 if you combine the twin cities of Waterloo and Kitchener), so how does that compare with those places?

Unfortunately, I don’t know how Waterloo compares in “look and feel” to most of these places, since I haven’t been there.  If any readers have been to Waterloo and other U.S. colleges, feel free to offer your comments and suggestions for matches.  In the meantime, here is a list of US colleges I’ve been to (if only briefly) and how they “felt” to me in comparison to Waterloo.

  1. U. New Hampshire (Durham, NH):  very nice, open campus with lots of greenspace.  Some new  and some older buildings, feeling a bit like Waterloo although the architecture is quite different.  Waterloo’s campus is much more urban, with a medium-sized city (by Canadian standards) surrounding it.
  2. U. Houston (Houston, TX):  another nice, open campus.  Felt somewhat like Waterloo, although it seemed to be separated from the city.  Waterloo has a lot more housing and shops located right next to it.  We were also in the area around Rice University, which looked very nice although I didn’t see the campus at all.
  3. Northeastern U. (Boston): This felt somewhat more like Waterloo, with the city close by (although a much larger city!).  Northeastern is also a well-known co-op school, although somewhat older than Waterloo.
  4. Duke U. (Durham, NC):  Duke seemed to have a lot of classic college buildings made of stone, which is nothing like Waterloo.  Very nice campus though.
  5. MIT (Cambridge, MA): I only briefly drove through part of the campus, so didn’t get much of a chance to look around.  A few buildings reminded me of Waterloo, others not so much.
  6. Bucknell U. (Lewisburg, PA):  A small liberal arts college, but well known for their undergraduate teaching in engineering.  A beautiful, classic American college campus, but nothing like Waterloo’s look. It’s located in a small town, so that’s quite different too.
  7. Columbia U. (New York, NY):  I only saw a small piece of Columbia, but obviously it is located in a huge city, and so that is nothing like Waterloo.

I’ve probably walked or driven by other colleges in Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh but don’t recall any details about them.  Anyway, if anyone has any suggestion for a college that looks similar to Waterloo, please leave a comment.


2 thoughts on “What U.S. Campus is Most Like Waterloo?

  1. How about Canadian schools?

    I submit that one SFU building reminds me of E2 and one Lakehead building and another UOttawa building are similar in design to DC.

    • I thought that I would cast the net a bit wider than Canada, since there are less than 100 universities to compare to here. There likely are some similar buildings around, since the pool of architects in Canada is smaller too. I haven’t seen those ones though.


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