Advertiser Disclosure

Top 8 Reasons to Attend College in Nashville

Oct. 14, 2014
Loans, Student Loans
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

From “Athens of the South” to “Music City,” Nashville has collected some flattering nicknames over the years, and for good reason. Tennessee’s state capital is brimming with excitement and offers excellent internship and job opportunities for current students and recent graduates alike. If you’re applying to college this fall, here are eight reasons why at least one Nashville-based school should be on your list.

» MORE: How to know if your college choice is affordable?

School and Work

1. Have your pick of schools

As its Athens-inspired moniker suggests, Nashville places a lot of value on higher education. In fact, there are 21 accredited colleges and universities, 11 vocational and tech schools and 6 community colleges that call the Nashville area their home.

“The presence of so many institutions of higher education means that students in Nashville have many choices of activities when they are not in class,” says Janice Greathouse, director of public relations at Trevecca Nazarene University. “That ‘college atmosphere’ is really part of what makes Nashville so attractive to college students.”

» MORE: How many colleges should I apply to?

2. First-rate internship opportunities

Having an internship or two on your résumé shows potential employers that you have some real-world work experience under your belt. What’s more, enjoyable internships can help solidify your career plans. Thanks to the variety and number of businesses and organizations located in Nashville, you’re bound to find an opportunity in your field of interest.

“While pursuing their degrees, students also have opportunities for numerous internships to get a jumpstart on their careers – from top record labels on Nashville’s Music Row to flight operations with Federal Express to the Nashville office of the Secret Service,” says Debra Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services at Middle Tennessee State University.


3. Stellar job prospects

After four years of feeling increasingly comfortable in your adopted home, the last thing you’d want to do after graduating is move away because of better job prospects elsewhere. Fortunately, students in Nashville don’t have to make that decision. NerdWallet recently found that the state capital is one of the 15 best cities in the country for recent graduates looking for work.

“This area offers a wide variety of good-paying, professional opportunities ranging from an exploding health care sector – more than 200,000 health care-related jobs, according to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce – to its blossoming music,” adds Sells.

» MORE: How to choose a college major with loan debt in mind

4. Great schools just outside of Nashville

If you want to spend your college years in a more rural setting while still being able to enjoy city life once in a while, the Nashville area offers several excellent options, like Cumberland University and Austin Peay State University.

“Our proximity to the metro area allows students to remain connected to one of the busiest hubs in the nation when it comes to health care and technology,” says Phillip Carter, director of communications at Cumberland University, located about 30 miles east of Nashville.

Bill Persinger, executive director of public relations and marketing at Austin Peay State University, is quick to underline that “our community is highly diverse due to our location and the industries in the area,” including Fort Campbell, one of the largest Army posts in the nation.


City Fun

5. Affordable cost of living

While most college students are notoriously frugal creatures, those attending school in Nashville don’t have to worry about sky-high rents and wallet-emptying nights out. Unlike students in New York or San Francisco, you won’t have to break the piggy bank to have a good time in the Music City.

“With no state income tax and a low overall tax burden in general, Tennessee has among the lowest costs of living in the nation, an attractive attribute for a college student on a tight budget,” says Sells. “The Nashville and Middle Tennessee region offer a variety of affordable housing options for prospective college students within driving distance of college campuses.”


6. Music for every taste

No matter where your musical preferences lie, you’ll be able to find a good live show in one of Nashville’s many venues. Just ask John Gaines, director of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt University.

“Whether you are a fan of Nashville’s signature country or Americana sounds, or contemporary pop, rock or even classical grooves, the music is in the ether in our city,” Gaines says. “With some estimated 20,000 live music performances a year, opportunities for study breaks abound, and the creative juices flow as easily as the Cumberland River does through downtown!”


7. Action on the ice and the field

Although college sports are known to serve up healthy doses of drama, some fans will want to see the pros in action. Nashville-bound sports junkies are in luck, as the city plays host to a couple of professional sports teams, including the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

“For sports lovers, Nashville has much to offer,” says Greathouse. “Additionally, the city has many parks, even more miles of greenway, and miles and miles in its two lakes for persons who want to create their own ‘sporting’ experiences.”

8. Good ol’ Southern hospitality

When you live in a city as vibrant as Nashville, you’ll be out and about, rubbing shoulders with the locals regularly. Fortunately, according to David Mee, associate provost and dean of enrollment at Belmont University, “the warm Southern hospitality to which those who call this area home can readily attest” is alive and well in Tennessee’s capital city, which was recently named one of America’s friendliest and happiest cities.

“People in Nashville are accustomed to welcoming visitors from all over the world, and do so with their hallmark blend of modern Southern hospitality,” says Gaines. “From saying ‘hello’ to you as you pass on the sidewalk, to holding the door open for you when your arms are full of textbooks and a coffee, the friendliness is real, and can make a huge difference in helping college students new to the area feel right at home quickly.”


Final Thoughts

While Mee calls Nashville the “perfect college town,” Johnathan Akin, director of admissions at Lipscomb University, calls the capital city “a mecca for education.” If you, on the other hand, decide to call Nashville “home” for the next four years, you’ll certainly be in for a good time.

Whether you hope to catch your favorite band, grab an inexpensive bite to eat, or just want to bump into Taylor Swift, Nashville has something for everyone.

“Music City” photo via Visions of America /