8 Reasons to Study in Texas

Colleges in Texas are among the best places to study in the nation. Check out our guide to find out why.
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Updated on May 8, 2023
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Amelia Buckley has worked as an editor for BestColleges, focusing on degree resources for prospective students. She holds a BA in global studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara....
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  • Texas is home to many private and public colleges that appeal to students.
  • A relatively low cost of living makes Texas a cheaper place to study and live.
  • Texas is famous for its college athletics, food scene, and cultural diversity.
  • A mild year-round climate makes Texas a great state for students who love the outdoors.

Choosing the right college is an important decision for any student pursuing higher education. For certain learners, the location of a school is just as important as an institution's cost, academic offerings, and size. Certain places just feel right for certain people.

For many incoming college students, that place is Texas. Texas' vast size means that the state houses a variety of colleges, including large public university systems, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), prestigious private institutions, and community colleges.

According to the Education Data Initiative, more than 1.6 million students were enrolled in Texas colleges as of January 2021. Read on to find out why the state of Texas is such a popular place to live, work, and study.

Why Should I Study in Texas?

Climate and Geography

Many college students prefer to attend a school in a location with a mild climate. Colleges with year-round temperate weather allow students to explore the outdoors, participate in sports, and attend parties and concerts during every season. Students that attend schools that offer nice weather and shorter, milder winters may also be able to avoid seasonal affective disorder.

Across the state, Texas features a mild-to-warm climate, allowing students year-round access to outdoor activities. Texas has many geographical features, including mountains, prairies, beaches, deserts, and lakes. The diversity of Texas's natural beauty appeals to many students.

Academic Opportunities

Texas features a variety of academic opportunities for students, including several large public university systems (the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas State), prestigious private schools (Rice University), and HBCUs (Prairie View A&M University).

The state also houses several prominent community colleges that offer excellent academics and athletics. For example, Navarro College in Corsicana and Trinity Valley Community College in Athens were recently featured on Netflix's hit docuseries "Cheer."

No matter what type of school they seek, students are likely to find a good academic fit somewhere in Texas.

Affordable Living

Several cities in Texas offer a lower cost of living that students can take advantage of after they graduate. For example, Houston's cost of living is 3.5 points below the national average, while San Antonio ranks 10.3 points below the national average. It is rare to have the opportunity to live in major cities at such low costs of living. As such, many graduates from Texas schools remain in the Lone Star State after college.

Dallas ranks 1.6 points above the national average for cost of living, while Austin ranks 19.3 points above the national average. These cities compensate for higher costs with plenty of job opportunities and cultural offerings. Austin is among the nation's best college towns.

Cultural Diversity

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas ranks as the fifth-most diverse state in the nation. This diversity allows students who attend college in Texas to benefit from a variety of perspectives and opportunities to share their culture with their peers. Because of this diversity, large universities throughout Texas also typically offer a variety of unique majors.

Texas' proximity to Mexico means that many people in the state speak Spanish, and Mexican culture is a major influence throughout the state.

Outdoor Recreation Activities

Because of the breadth of Texas' natural beauty, students throughout the state have the opportunity to pursue various outdoor recreational activities. Texas is home to beaches, mountains, lakes, and state and national parks, all of which are conducive to spending time outside.

Students in Texas can hike through mountains and parks, climb natural rock faces, wake surf along the coast, or raft down rivers. These areas also offer numerous opportunities for camping and backpacking.

Arts and History

Texas maintains a deep, rich historical and artistic tradition. Major cities like Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio house public art museums, forts, and historic parks. Smaller towns also maintain unique traditions and historic landmarks for students to explore.

Perhaps the most well-known piece of Texas history is the story of the Alamo, a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. You can still visit the Alamo in San Antonio.

Food Culture

Texas's food culture is legendary across the nation. The state is famous for its barbecue, brought to the region by German and Czech immigrants during the 19th century. Today, different regions of Texas have their own distinct barbecue styles.

Mexican and Southwestern influences also lead to outstanding dishes like breakfast tacos, fajitas, and enchiladas. From Austin's food trucks to San Antonio's River Walk, Texas has a mouthwatering food destination for every student.


Texas has a reputation for being obsessed with football, and indeed, many students passionate about supporting college athletics choose Texas for their numerous highly-ranked football programs. The Dallas Cowboys, college teams, and major high school teams throughout the state receive fervent support from their fan bases.

The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University feature college football teams that draw tens of thousands of fans every fall Saturday. Many large universities within Texas also offer excellent intramural sports leagues, which allow students to have fun and exercise when they aren't studying.

Where Should I Study in Texas?

Best for Climate and Geography: Houston

Out of all the major cities in Texas — Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth — Houston features some of the best weather. Year-round, the average temperature in Houston hovers around 78 degrees. While summers can get hot in Houston, that is true for the entire state.

Best for Academic Opportunities: Houston

Houston houses several community colleges, a robust public university system, and the most prestigious private university in Texas. The University of Houston system includes four distinct campuses, including a downtown campus and a campus in the Third Ward. Rice University is generally considered the best private college in Texas, on par with Ivy League schools.

Best for Affordable Living: San Antonio

San Antonio ranks 10.3 points below the national average in terms of cost of living. Dallas and Austin both exceed the national average. The cost of housing in San Antonio is approximately 75% of the national average, and the Alamo City also ranks below the national average in costs for groceries, health, and utilities.

Best for Cultural Diversity: Houston

Out of the major cities in Texas, Houston ranks as the most diverse. In addition to a highly diverse population, Houston is also home to a 17-block theater district and over 150 museums.Many cultural events take place in Houston, including a Latin Fest, a Nigerian culture parade, and a Holi festival.

Best for Outdoor Recreation Activities: Austin

The Barton Creek Greenbelt is a seven-mile park and greenway that stretches throughout the city of Austin. The greenbelt provides opportunities for hiking, walking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and trail running. Locals can also go swimming, caving, and kayaking along the creek.

Best for Arts and History: San Antonio

San Antonio is home to the Alamo, one of Texas' most important historical sites. The city also houses a robust artistic community. Many local artists enjoy the privacy of San Antonio, feeling as though they can work in peace in a city that is more off the radar. The San Antonio River Walk and downtown areas of the city also feature several art museums.

Best for the Food Culture: Austin

While Houston's diversity means the city has a top-notch food scene, Austin is generally considered the best city for foodies in Texas. The home of the University of Texas at Austin is known in some circles as "Hippie Haven," featuring many vegan-friendly dining options. Iconic food spots in Austin include Austin Rotisserie, Birdie's, and Nixta Taquería.

Best for Sports: Austin

Many Texans support the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Texans. However, the Texas Longhorns at the University of Texas at Austin are hugely popular among college students. Longhorns football is universally loved throughout the Lone Star State, and a fall Saturday in Austin is a unique sporting experience.

Is Studying in Texas Right For Me?

Texas is home to many public and private universities, so studying in Texas is a reasonable option for many students; however, you should consider the cost of in-state vs. out-of-state tuition if you do not live in the Lone Star State. Since so many college students enroll at schools in Texas, there are a variety of academic programs, extracurricular activities, and other related opportunities that you can pursue.

Historically, the Texas economy has relied on oil. Now, the state also houses lucrative healthcare and technology sectors, along with several other growing fields. The state's breadth and diversity can lead to many different career opportunities for graduates of Texas colleges.

Studying in Texas is worth it for many learners; however, beyond cost, you should also consider program and school fit, delivery method, and location before enrolling.

Frequently Asked Questions About Reasons to Study in Texas

Is Texas a good place to go to college?

Yes, Texas is a good place to go to college. The state is home to vast community college systems, robust public university systems, and prestigious schools like Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin. According to the Education Data Initiative, as of January 2021, more than 1.6 million college students were enrolled at Texas schools. That volume leads to additional funding, academic opportunities, and extracurricular activities.

Many Texas schools are situated in cities that offer outdoor recreational opportunities, sporting events, culture, art, history, and thriving food scenes. Many of these cities also offer lucrative job opportunities after you graduate.

How many University of Texas campuses are there?

There are 13 University of Texas campuses:

  • The University of Texas at Arlington
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
  • The University of Texas Permian Basin
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • The University of Texas at Tyler
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
  • The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
true Why do out-of-state students go to school in Texas?

Out-of-state students go to school in Texas for some of the same reasons as in-state learners: excellent academic opportunities, relatively lower tuition, cities with noteworthy culture, and top-notch outdoor activities and sporting events. Many college students picture themselves in a college town like College Station or a major cosmopolitan city like Houston or Dallas.

Texas is also home to Rice University, which is among the most prestigious private universities in the nation. While many Texans choose to attend Rice, students from all around the country and world enroll in the school.

What are three things Texas is known for?

Texas is known for many things, but the top three are likely football, food, and size. You've surely heard the cliché "everything is bigger in Texas." That size and scale lead to a variety of excellent academic opportunities throughout the state's diverse cities and towns.

Football is generally considered the most popular sport in Texas. Many Texans support the Texas Longhorns, the Texas A&M Aggies, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Houston Texans.

The state also features a unique food culture, including vegan restaurants in Austin, classic Texas barbecue, and famous breakfast tacos.

Feature Image: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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