Ask any of the locals: getting a college education in Grand Rapids today is much different than it was ten or fifteen years ago. Over the past two decades this sleepy town has morphed into a city of cool vibes with a multitude of school and recreation options.

Jaclyn Kuyers, a Calvin College junior and Iowa native, agrees. "Grand Rapids is a city that is growing and flourishing. It is a beautiful city that has many amazing places to discover and explore. It is a city that values its community, living local, and the arts."

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine - Secchia Center


Deciding which Grand Rapids school to attend is no easy feat. That's because there are so many to choose from. While Grand Rapids Community College has been a downtown mainstay for years, newer options like Grand Valley State University's (GVSU) downtown campus have joined the mix. Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University calls downtown home. Davenport University recently expanded its campus to an area south of Grand Rapids and continues to serve the community. Moreover, religiously affiliated institutions like Calvin College, Aquinas College, Kuyper College and Cornerstone University are anchored in the area.

Many universities offer extensions in Grand Rapids as well. Of note - the new Michigan State University College of Human Medicine headquarters - the Secchia Center medical education building, is found right here in Grand Rapids at 15 Michigan Street NE. Western Michigan University also offers classes at their East Beltline facility.

Swing Dancing in Downtown Grand Rapids


Studying in Grand Rapids doesn't have to be all work and no play. The Grand Rapids of today is vibrant and alive. Molly Denny, in her fourth year at Aquinas College, relays, "You can always count on hanging out with all your friends at Billy's on Thursday nights for 90's night. On the weekend's you can never go wrong hanging out at the Grand Woods Lounge or going to the Intersection. The best part is that it is always just a quick drive from Aquinas."

Jacyln Kuyer chimes in, "It has so many opportunities for students to go out in the community to do work or just to explore. Grand Rapids has so many affordable ways for students to have fun. They also always have fun festivals, concerts, and other programming going on in the area."

Other perks of spending your college days in Grand Rapids include its' close proximity to Lake Michigan for beach fun, discounted or free rides on the Rapid (public transportation), and, of course, beer.

Yes, Beer City USA is a great place to turn 21! There are so many great beer options on tap across the city to try. Bethany Hanks, a recent GVSU grad says, "I like Founders the best to meet up with friends, but Hopcat definitely has the best menu. Most college kids adore Stella's; that was the place my friends always wanted to go."



Sending a child off to college can be a hard on parents, especially if safety is a concern. Happily, many parents are thrilled when their kids decide to enroll in a Grand Rapids college. As Bethany Hanks says, "Honestly, I feel safer walking around in Grand Rapids than I do in my hometown (Detroit area.)"

Jaclyn Kuyer's parents were on board with her decision to go to college in Grand Rapids; "My parents were excited for me to go to Grand Rapids. It is a bit bigger than home and I think they were excited for all the opportunities that this bigger city had to offer for me. It gave me the chance to go and explore a new place that they knew was safe and had a lot to offer."