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College can consume four years of a student's life and tens of thousands of dollars of the family's hard-earned money, so finding the right fit for your child is key. Prospective college students and their parents spend countless hours flipping through brochures and pondering their social and academic wants and needs. But if the gown is important, so is the town. The only way to really get a sense of a school is by visiting it in person.

These college visits need not be dry affairs. They offer the whole family an opportunity to visit and explore wonderful cities. After all, some of the most popular large college towns—Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta—are also full of attractions for everyone from parents to the littlest brothers and sisters. And there are plenty of smaller college towns with a lot to offer as well. State College, Pennsylvania (Penn State), Bloomington, Indiana (Indiana University), Champaign-Urbana, Illinois (University of Illinois), Iowa City, Iowa (University of Iowa) and College Station, Texas (Texas A&M) are all vibrant towns worth a visit in their own right.


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