Where Hipsters Go to College

Find out where hipsters go to school and what makes these schools ideal for hipsters.

By Sydney Nikols | October 11, 2017

College is a time when young people get to really discover who they are. For some, that means pursuing new passions and interests. For others, it means wearing the tightest pants possible while listening to rare records on vinyl. If you’re a self-proclaimed hipster (or a self-proclaimed anti-hipster who likes to have a good laugh), put down your David Foster Wallace novel and read on.

1. Emerson College

Hipster Rating: 3 Flannels

If you’re a self-proclaimed hipster (or a self-proclaimed anti-hipster who likes to have a good laugh), put down your David Foster Wallace novel and read on.

The Details: With its urban location, liberal politics, disregard of athletics and focus on subjects like theatre, film, and writing, it’s no wonder that Emerson is the quintessential hipster college. This is the kind of place where PBR runs rampant and sweatpants don’t exist (gold lamé leggings, on the other hand, are as common as coconut water.) The school’s indie rock-centric radio station adds to the too-cool vibe – in fact, uber-hip band Passion Pit played shows in Emerson’s basement when they were students. How much do you want to bet they were wearing flannel?

2. Reed College

Hipster Rating: 2 Flannels

The Details: Located in Portland, OR, Reed College is home to that specific brand of Northwestern hipster (read: recycles religiously, eats at farm-to-table restaurants and owns a bike instead of a car.) Popular on-campus activities include brewing beer, building bicycles and holding massive electronic dance parties. Hey, no one said hipsters don’t know how to have fun.

3. New York University


Hipster Rating: 3 Flannels

The Details: New York City is the east coast epicenter of hipster culture, so it comes as no surprise that one of its most prestigious and well-known universities churns out walking Urban Outfitters ads. After all, the New York lifestyle allows NYU kids to chain smoke on fire escapes and dance in dimly lit bars while others their age are still confined to on-campus dorms. If you want to find the hippest of the hip, visit the Gallatin School of Individualized Study where students can major in anything from Grand Romantic Gestures to Keepin’ it Real.

4. Rhode Island School of Design

Hipster Rating: 3 Flannels

The Details: It’s hard not to attract hip students when you’re one of the most prestigious design schools in the country. At Rhode Island School of Design, students gain expertise in inherently trendy areas like jewelry and metalsmithing, film and furniture design. Oh, and vegetarianism and veganism are so popular that there’s even such thing as a vegan radio station. Sounds like it might be a little dry…

5. Oberlin College

Hipster Rating: 2 Flannels

The Details: Don’t let Oberlin College’s rural Ohio location fool you – these students are on a new level of hip that Brooklyners haven’t even seen. Oberlin College, famous for its odd clubs, annual Burlesque show and Student Cooperative Association (like a fraternity or sorority whose main focus is environmental sustainability rather than beer pong), has a population with brand of hipsterism more hippie-ish than anything else. Oh, and the school gets added points for the amount of popular indie band alums, including musicians from The Mars Volta, Deerhoof, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,

6. The New School

Hipster Rating: 3 Flannels

The Details: The New School’s Manhattan location and sub-schools for drama, design and contemporary music give it an unfair advantage in churning out hipsters. The school seems to be pretty aware of its own hipness, too – a few years ago they held a symposium about hipster culture called “What Was the Hipster?” Then again, we’re only half-sure they weren’t being ironic…

7. Bard College

Hipster Rating: 2 Flannels

‘’’The Details:’’’ Bard College’s upstate New York location attracts a particular kind of hipster: one who’s earth-loving enough to want to live outside the city, but who wants to be close enough to NYC to visit the MOMA and see a favorite band play at Terminal 5. Bard students are known for their highly philosophical natures and their involvement in on-campus clubs with names like “Surrealist Training Circus” and “Unconventional Public Games.” I mean, they totally knew about this stuff before you did.

Now that you know where to apply in order to up your personal hip-factor, we suggest you make a pit stop at American Apparel – you’ll need some new garb for those admissions interviews.

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