Philly Adjacent
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Philly Adjacent

Philadelphia Skyline | Photo Credit: Jack Ramsdale 

Everyone knows that when it comes to prime real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.” And just like the overzealous couples on House Hunters want to find the perfect colonial style home near the best shopping and schools (all while staying in their budget), choosing a graduate school is no different. After determining which program has the academic and clinical program that you’re looking for, the next step is determining which school is located in an area that suits all your needs.

Is it close to shopping, grocery stores, and restaurants? Are there fun things to do nearby on the weekends? When you need to get away from civilization for a day and become one with nature, can you get that escape? If you’re used to the bustling streets of New York City or Los Angeles, can it even compare? Well look no further, because no matter what you’re looking for, Elkins Park has it all.

Salus University is located in the quaint town of Elkins Park, Pa. With a population of around 20,000 it provides the small town community feel while only being about 8 miles from the heart of Philadelphia. It’s the perfect transition between the busy city with five-star restaurants, pop-up boutiques, and museums full of rich history and culture and the vast green space of the Pocono Mountains and state forests to the north.

King of Prussia Mall | Photo Credit:

Surrounding the campus are all the conveniences in life you’d ever need. Whether you like to shop for bargain groceries at Aldi or get organic, free-range eggs from Whole Foods, it’s all within arm’s reach. If you just can’t bring yourself to do laundry because you have a huge midterm the next day and need to run to Walmart for more socks, it’s only a mile from school! And then when you ace that midterm and want to treat yourself to a new Burberry trench coat, King of Prussia Mall with eight department stores and 400 boutiques is only a quick 30-minute drive down the turnpike.

Guaranteed no matter what area of the United States—or beyond—you come from, the restaurants around Elkins Park will serve you well. From Italian, Indian, Chinese, to classic pub food, there’s bound to be a new favorite nestled in the neighborhoods of Elkins Park.

Hailing from Dover, Del. – a state that has more chickens than people – and having gone to school in what seems to be a deserted Gettysburg, Pa., I was worried about transitioning to the city life of Philadelphia for graduate school. However, after touring Salus and taking a leap of faith, I couldn’t be happier with life in the suburbs of such an awesome city. Montgomery County is full of young, working families that give the area a safe, close-knit feel that I wasn’t expecting. Old stone homes full of craftsmanship line the streets and neighborhoods around school, making it seem impossible that you’re living in a bustling city. And if I ever need a break from the traffic, crowds, or just want a space to think, there are tons of parks, trails and hiking all situated within miles of campus.

Old City, Philadelphia | Photo Credit: 

On the flip side, students who are used to big city life may at first be hesitant with the transition to suburbia, but there’s no need! The city life is only a short train or Uber ride away with train stations within walking distance of school. There are always student events, concerts, or attractions that are occurring in the various neighborhoods in Philadelphia for free weekends or nights away from the books. With tons of other colleges located in the area like Temple, Arcadia, and Drexel, you are never at a loss for meeting new people and gaining new friendships.

This town is one of the few places where you can go from being surrounded by tons of people walking the city streets to alone exploring trails along tranquil streams within minutes. So if you’ve narrowed it down to schools with great academic preparation and a clinic setting that offers a diverse patient base, no doubt Salus University is on your list. So just like on House Hunters, when you’re coming up with all of the “must haves” of the new area you’d be living in, I think you’ll find that Elkins Park has it all. It’s a safe, friendly and inviting town situated on the cusp of one of the biggest U.S. metropolitan cities and the tranquil life of small-town Pennsylvania.

- Chad is a second year optometry student at Salus University

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