The 20 Ugliest Colleges in the USA

So…I, the writer of the 20 Most Beautiful Colleges in the USA, am back with the 20 ugliest ones! I know all of you have been waiting for this. And I have to warn you that I am not going to be very nice about these ones. I’m sorry if you go to any of these schools; I’m sure you have lovely academic programs but they’re just not very pretty. Which isn’t your fault, so try not to get too upset with me here, okay? Now, I based this post on message boards from students and anyone, actually, who wanted to voice their opinion on what they thought the ugliest/prettiest schools were. If you disagree, you should’ve taken the time to write what you think about the schools.


©University of Maryland

20. University of Maryland-College Park- Much controversy over this one. The surrounding neighboorhood isn’t great, and overall the buildings are on the downswing. It does have a nice quad and trees, but seriously. Who cares about trees? If all the stuff surrounding the trees is disgusting, doesn’t that say something about the college? You decide for yourself.


19. Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey- All about the neighboorhoods; this one leaves much left to be desired. The lack of a centralized campus is the problem here, because the buildings are just scattered around New Brunswick with no set design, really, so it just seems like a bunch of ugly buildings. The Don Imus stuff didn’t help it’s reputation at all, so I kind of have pity on Rutgers. Which is why they’re 19 and not higher on this list.


18. Texas A&M- There’s not much wrong this campus except for the lack of color. One poster said it’s essentially “BEIGE BEIGE everywhere…” I couldn’t agree more. And, um, “Aggieland”??? Not exactly an appealing phrase, is it? And on their website, they have an extremely strange lack of pictures of their buildings. Just keep adding fuel to my fire, Texas A&M. Knock yourselves out.

Ithaca College

©Ithaca College

17. Ithaca College- Ithaca pales horribly next to Cornell. Their proximity just emphasizes the beauty of the architecture at Cornell and the absolute lack of any kind at Ithaca. Sure, Ithaca is “gorges” but the campus is a bunch of gray buildings that just blend into the ground. I was extremely unimpressed by Ithaca College, but Cornell looked amazing. It got just left off my list of beautiful colleges, which I apologize for. Sorry, Cornell.


16. Rochester Institute of Technology- Ugh, this place is drab city. Sure, it’s full of smart people, but it’s just a brick campus. Gross brick that has no such spoke of “character” that brick usually has. These buildings that make up the RIT campus are all factory-esque. Not something you want to be looking at all day, especially if you’re going to be spending thousands of dollars to be established in your field.


©Northeastern University

15. Northeastern University- Why do all these schools have to be so boring? For once, I’d just like to see a building that was intentionally designed trying to be beautiful, but just failed badly. We’ll see as we get further down on the list. Back to Northeastern. I don’t want to use the word drab again but in this case there really is lack of a better word. It’s gray and dull, and looks very utilitarian. As I look out the window and see the overcast sky as it starts to thunder and the General Mills factory pouring out smoke, that reminds me of Northeastern. You must not be able to find it when it rains in Boston. But I heard that they’re doing construction there, so hopefully it getting better. But its “ugly” rep will live in infamy. At least in my book.


©Harvey Mudd College

14. Harvey Mudd College- You’d think that because of it’s California location, it would actually be pretty. Well you couldn’t be more wrong. Being a Claremont College, that’s surprising. The buildings are old and faded, and the architecture isn’t relative to the California lifestyle. That’s too bad, considering how well some of the other colleges in the area are designed. Harvey Mudd got just slabs of concrete. It’s a pretty good school, too. What a shame.


13. University of California, San Diego- Oh my, not another California school. That’s depressing. The architechture here is nothing but obscene. They tried way too hard to be modern and it was just a miserable failure. (Hey, finally! Someone who tried!) Some of the buildings really just look like a futuristic trailer park. It’s flat out brutal. It’s too high tech for my taste; too much glass, not enough personality. You may differ, but I’m the one making the list.

University of Texas at Dallas


12. University of Texas at Dallas - This campus may not be all bad, but if all the new buildings are going to be ’state of the art’ like this one, UTD is in trouble. According to the UTD website, “The NSERL is a state-of-the-art, 192,000 square foot research facility set for completion in spring 2007. UTD will draw scientists from all over the world and from all disciplines to its first-class laboratories.” Or they’ll just laugh at the “fish scale” building. Give me a break, you can’t get away with this building, even if it is The Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory.


©Drew University

11. Drew University- I went on Drew’s website and took the tour of the campus to see if I could prove people wrong who said that Drew was ugly. Uh, no. The buildings are old: very, very old. Like old in a bad way. Old as in they look dirty. Of course, they took the pictures in beautiful fall when all the trees have orange leaves…um, so what? Trees, like I said before, do not make a beautiful campus. It’s pretty gross altoghter and trees cannot make up for that.


©Pitzer College

10. Pitzer College- Uh-oh. A Claremont College. I almost didn’t believe it until I looked at the slide show on their site. Nasty plain, white buildings that are so rounded, they remind me of silos out in the middle of nowhere. They have absolutely no personality. A couple of buildings look like they were made out of scrap sheet metal. That’s not what a college campus is supposed to look like. You get enough of that in the working world.


9. Illinois Institute of Technology- This is the third “institute of technology” on the list. They need to get better architects at these schools. The low-rise buildings are so nasty and dull that they feel like a blast from the past. Some serious renovation is in dire need at this school. Only the Main building is okay, but the rest just falls short with its flat, square-ish design that feels like an office complex. Of course all of their pictures focus on the Main building, because the rest is just not camera-worthy.


8. SUNY campuses- Buffalo, Binghamton, and Albany- (pictures from top to bottom) I’m sandwiching these all together because I don’t think they deserve separate spots on the list. They may have some green space, but that doesn’t make up for the ugly buildings. Buffalo’s campus (I’ve driven through it multiple times, considering it is about ten minutes from my house) has some nice upperclassmen apartments on a lakeish-thing, but its buildings look like Lego land. It’s so bizzare. They are just squares that protrude from a main structure. Binghamton’s just awful in the middle of rural nowhere with random squares, again. Like that’s supposed to be a cool design. And Albany’s buildings are just drab and rundown pieces of concrete. SUNY needs some serious face lifts, the whole system and its buildings.


©North Carolina State University

7. North Carolina State University- Brick, brick, brick, brick…it should be their fight song. The whole entire campus, I’m not even joking, is red brick. Is that supposed to be some kind of a character statement? it looks like a low income housing project. To throw in an accent of some kind, the designers must’ve thought, “Hey! Why not some metal?” and just put some random steel porticos around the campus and called it a day. And maybe some steel bars around the windows to make them feel smaller and more like a jail. That’s the spirit!

Rowan University

©Rowan University

6. Rowan University- Ugh. Uggggggh. One word-nasty. The school colors are brown and yellow. Brown and yellow!!! I don’t think I need to spell it out for you. You know what those colors look like. Moving on, what’s up with these buildings looking like prisons? Is that some kind of a trend? One looks like a prison, then the other looks like a born-again Christian church from the 1970’s. And what is it made out of? and grey brick! How original of them. These colleges need to mix it up a bit.


5. Carnegie Mellon University- A poster said “I don’t think it’s buildings or classrooms would meet the local building codes in my town.” That’s deplorable. Carnegie Mellon makes itself look great on is website but how unfortunate that it really isn’t. They tried to fandangle it so that people perusing the site wouldn’t see how ugly its buildings really are. But alas! They slipped. I haven’t actually been to Carnegie Mellon, just heard horrible things about it and Pittsburgh. So I decided to take a virtual tour of its residence hall. But what they didn’t realize is outside the window of a room you can see the god-awful brick red building that looks like something you’d see at Rikers. What else is new?


4. Brandeis University- Way-out weird design all over campus. Each building tried to be modern and contemporary with a mix of glass and brick, but it just looks unfriendly and cold. Which is actually a good description of Boston in the winter. I’ve heard from multiple students that say Brandeis is a horrible campus and fairly ugly. And the sad part is they try to mix a contemporary smorgasbord in with a castle! That does not work. And…oh my, a cottage. A demolished cottage with another cottage in the background. So Brandeis is: A modern, contemporary, medival, country college campus. If you’re as confused as I am…

Southern Connecticut State

©Southern Connecticut State

3. Southern Connecticut State- Yeah, I don’t want to hear it. Sure, they’re doing construction, making it look nice, but it’s still as ugly as ever to me. It has a complete lack of visual interest and is currently dirty and filthy. More gross brick composes basically all of campus, and don’t even get me started on the dorms. And New Haven? Dull. I mean, how can Southern Connecticut State even compete with Yale in the same neighborhood? At least Yale tried to make their buildings architecturally interesting by pouring acid all over them. Southern Connecticut State’s campus = pathetic.


©University of Massachusetts

2. University of Massachusetts-Amherst-The UMass dorms look like the projects, says a student. Another poster says they’d vomit touring the UMass campus in March/April without the snow covering it up. The hideous buildings make up somewhat of an industrial park. The buildings are old and faded, lack originality, and are all around not worthy of a higher institution of learning.


1. Drexel University- Won Ugliest Campus in the Country in 2002 and guess what? No one made any changes. They still have prison-like dorms (shocker) and massive orange, yes orange, brick buildings from the ’70’s. It’s small, sporadic, and basically Philadelphia’s urban dumpster called a higher place of learning. That’s embarassing. The people of Drexel (the administrators, not the students) need to wake up and look around their filthy campus and shape it up.

That’s what this list is all about, really. The changes that need to be made in order for every college campus in the country to be a place that students can proudly call home. A refuge that students can have in their dorms and classrooms, and no one should feel judged based on the appearance of the school they go to. But still, we here at Campus Squeeze hope you enjoyed this list, and if you do go to any of these schools, try to make a difference on your own and maybe, just maybe, your school won’t be on this list again next year.

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February 27. 2008 08:32


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February 29. 2008 12:14


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April 8. 2008 07:58


#15 Northestern? Shows a building that's not on Northeastern's campus. You reference the "General Mills" factory, there's one in Evanston, wait, there's a NorthWestern University in Evanston.

TheManChild us

May 3. 2008 15:37


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November 24. 2008 04:13


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February 13. 2009 11:02


Hey retard, that's not a picture of the Northeastern campus. Get your facts straight. And by the way it's now considered one of the most beautiful city campuses there is. Nice list, idiot.

JohnJays us

October 21. 2009 09:59


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November 1. 2009 11:14


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November 10. 2009 07:14


ITT?! You said "They need to get better architects at these schools" which is amusing to people who know what they are talking about because Crown Hall aka The Main Building that you said was just "okay" is a VERY famous building designed by one of the best and most famous architects of all time (Mies van der Rohe). Maybe you should have the slightest background of architecture before you create a list of 'ugly' architecture and urban planning.

archstu us

November 16. 2009 15:11


ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, not ITTTTTECH dude. OMG WAS THE DUDE WHO WROTE THIS AN INCOMPETENT IDIOT who knows nothing about architecture. This is funny because it’s so stupid. The reason why some of IIT’S buildings feel like a blast from the past is because it was BUILT IN THE PAST!!! GO FIGURE, OLD BUILDINGS LOOK OLD OMG. WORST LIST EVER and FAIL!

yourstupid11 us

November 16. 2009 16:01


maybe you should calm down and and let go of your caps lock. i hit the wrong letter. reading my post would show that i was obviously talking about IIT and not ITT Tech.

archstu us

December 2. 2009 10:44


I go to University of Texas at Dallas and I will have to disagree with you saying our NSERL building makes our campus ugly. There are definitely other buildings on campus that are hideous, but I love the iridescent emerald/black color scheme of the building. The pictures don't do it justice, but it's a really beautiful building, inside and out.

Here's a better picture of it:

ouiwii us

December 9. 2009 00:11

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It is awful!

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