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Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs.

Home to:  Henderson State University
Population: 10,716

Nestled in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkadelphia has many opportunities for outdoor recreation. There is also no shortage of cultural activities, performances and athletic competitions. Arkadelphia is just eight miles from DeGray Lake, a 13,800-acre lake that offers swimming, fishing, water sports, golfing, camping facilities, wildlife and spectacular views. Arkadelphia is only 30 minutes from Hot Springs. The town has many dining options that welcome college students. Arkadelphia is also an Amtrak stop. 


Home to:  Lyon College
Population:  10,248

Located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains on the beautiful White River, the community provides a safe and welcoming setting for Lyon College and its students. The oldest surviving city in the state, Batesville boasts three National Register Historic Districts and is home to an award-winning, regionally focused history museum. Other amenities include two art galleries in the downtown area, several antique stores, an active symphony league and a community theater group. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy abundant opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, camping, caving, rock climbing, water skiing, scenic photography, fishing and hunting. 


Home to: Arkansas State University-Beebe 
Population:  7,898

A small hometown with easy access to Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway, Beebe has been the fastest growing city in White County for 12 years in a row. Community spirit is on ready display here, as evidenced by the many community events on the calendar. The college itself provides a great deal of community attractions including the Centennial Bank Concert-Lecture Series, theater productions, music performances and an art gallery. The school’s active Student Life Organization plans many on-campus activities and social clubs especially for students staying on campus in the residence halls.

The university’s satellite campuses also feature their own brand of charm and activities. In Searcy, the county seat, numerous opportunities for shopping, dining and recreational fun can be found. The Heber Springs campus is located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain near beautiful Greers Ferry Lake and the Little Red River allowing for fishing, swimming, camping, hiking and other outdoor activities. And the Little Rock Air Force Base campus is located in Jacksonville, a stone’s throw from North Little Rock attractions. 


Home to:  Northwest Arkansas Community College
Population: 40,167 (Nearly 500,000 in northwest Arkansas corridor)

Located in the fastest-growing region of the state, Bentonville and the nearby communities of Rogers, Fayetteville and Springdale have produced a unique environment. The influx of people from other parts of the country has created a diverse cultural population, thanks to the presence of several major corporate headquarters including Walmart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt.  

The natural beauty of the region is outstanding and miles of trails connecting the various communities helps the hiker or mountain biker get out and enjoy them up close. Off the trail, visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, take in a concert at Walmart AMP pavilion, cheer the Razorback football team during home games or catch an Arkansas Naturals baseball game.

In addition to the main campus in Bentonville, NWACC offers courses at the Washington County Center and The Jones Center for Families in Springdale, the Regional Technology Center in Fayetteville, The Center for Nonprofits in Rogers, Farmington High School and online.  More than 1,000 high school students took concurrent classes for college credit last fall semester.


Home to:  University of Central Arkansas
Population:  58,908

Conway is home to a beautiful and historic downtown community as well as a vibrant arts community that provides a plethora of free and ticketed events throughout the year. With walking trails, art galleries, a multitude of dining and shopping venues and local theaters, Conway offers activities for every unique individual. 

Among the many attractions are Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, the state’s only professional Shakespeare Company; Blackbird Academy of Arts, a not-for-profit arts education center offering programs and performances for children and adults and Reynolds Performance Hall, a 1,200-seat, state-of-the-art theatre on the UCA campus presenting performing arts programming to the entire central Arkansas community. 

As for community events, don’t miss the one-and-only Toad Suck Daze, home of the “The World Championship Toad Races” part of the largest free-admission family festival in the state. The festival attracts 160,000 over three days for food, music, a fun run and various other events. 


Home  to:  The University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
Population:  74,000

Apple Blossom Brewing in Fayetteville.

You’re never at a loss of something to do in Fayetteville. For a taste of the outdoors, check out one of the city’s 40 parks, including the newest, a regional sports park at Mount Kessler. The city’s trail system includes about 30 miles of paved trail and 20 miles of single-track mountain bike and hiking trails. Within an hour’s drive are Devil’s Den State Park, Lake Wedington Recreational Area, Beaver Lake, the Buffalo National River and the Ozark Highlands Trail. Closer to campus, check out George’s Majestic Lounge for live music or Fayetteville Farmers Market open on the town square three days per week. And of, course campus activities abound with Razorback athletics, arts and culture, music and recreation.

The Northwest Arkansas region is home to many Fortune 500 companies, such as Walmart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which provide strong collaboration in research for U of A professors and wide opportunities for students who want to pursue internships. U of A’s service-learning program is integrated with coursework and sends students out into the global community to put their coursework into action while the campus Volunteer Action Center involves students in dozens of projects that help local residents.


Home to:  University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
Population: 87,000

Despite a population of almost 90,000, Fort Smith retains its small-town charm and atmosphere with abundant natural scenery and plenty of attractions. Parks, trails, festivals, free events, shopping, dining and entertainment options are all within reach, as are abundant opportunities for student internships and employment after graduation. The city of Fort Smith, local organizations and UAFS work together in numerous ways that enhance quality of place and further economic development. 

Through its Center for Business and Professional Development and a number of ad hoc programs, UAFS provides technical and professional training to targeted groups in the workforce to close the skills gap in high-demand disciplines such as medical billing, commercial driving and industrial maintenance. The Babb Center for Student Professional Development acts as a conduit for students to network and find employment with local companies. The center helps students develop professional skills and provides networking opportunities with partner companies, including Walmart, ArcBest, Tyson and J.B. Hunt. 


Home to:  National Park College
Population: 35,680

Hot Springs is a vibrant arts and tourism community with something to do every weekend. The city’s event calendar is always full of fun things such as music festivals, poetry slams, concerts, art galleries and award-winning restaurants throughout the year. Hot Springs is large enough to have great shopping and restaurants, but small enough to feel like a cozy community.

NPC has a great relationship with the community and maintains a unique agreement with the city’s sports leagues that allows student intramural teams to play in the city leagues. Local industry partners are extremely supportive of the college’s events and programs, often donating time and resources to help with events, like the Young Manufacturers Camp, Kid’s College, candidate forums and dozens of scholarships. 

Garland County has many employment opportunities in health care, education, tourism and hospitality. NPC Career Services hosts many employers on campus throughout the year as well as at the annual Job Fair in the spring.  Employers network with students and alumni to connect them to employment opportunities. Many employers also speak to classes and serve on campus advisory boards.


Home to:  Arkansas State University
Population:  71,551

Jonesboro’s Parks and Recreation Department manages 20 parks that total just over 900 acres. With dozens of athletic fields, water features, community centers, recreation programs and events, the Parks Department offers something for nearly everyone. Downtown Jonesboro is a beautiful district with an amazing culture and a historic past. The music lover and patron of the visual and performing arts will want to check out The Forum community theater or The Foundation of Arts for lessons in dance, art, and theater.  The city’s state-of-the-art performance facility, The Fowler Center, is hosts more than a dozen professional performances each year and is home to the Arkansas State University Theater Department.  


Home to:  University of Arkansas Little Rock, Baptist Health College, Philander Smith College
Population: 731,612 (greater Little Rock/North Little Rock metro)

Historic Arkansas Museum in downtown Little Rock.

Kiplinger’s magazine put Little Rock atop the list of Top 10 places to live in the U.S., and as the state’s capital city, Little Rock offers all the expected benefits of a metropolitan center including access to cultural, business, government and historically significant resources and attractions.  

The famed River Market District, one of the top spots for live music venues, dining, and community events, headlines entertainment options. Free options abound such as outdoor movies, jazz concerts and the nearby Arkansas Arts Center. Near the River Market runs the Arkansas River Trail System where walkers, cyclists and joggers take advantage of the scenic, 15.6-mile loop from the Clinton Presidential Bridge via North Little Rock to the Big Dam Bridge and back. Pinnacle Mountain or a relaxing float down the Maumelle River await nearby.

The professional possibilities are nearly endless thanks to the presence of Acxiom, Caterpiller Inc., Windstream, Arkansas governmental offices, Southwest Power Pool, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Heifer International, just to name a few. 


Home to:  Southern Arkansas University
Population: 12,000

“Hometown” and “community” are commonly used to describe Southern Arkansas University and Magnolia. Many incoming students and their families say they chose SAU because of the caring atmosphere and the close-knit community that makes both the school and the town safe, caring, and family-like. Centrally located to both outdoor activities and urban attractions in Texarkana, El Dorado, Shreveport, and Little Rock, much of what makes Magnolia special involves shared events with the university starting with the annual Blue and Gold Day at the Magnolia square that draws thousands to welcome the Mulerider students back to town. 

Magnolia has also embraced a growing community involvement organization started at SAU in 2014 called Making Magnolia Blossom (MMB). MMB brings together campus and community members to volunteer together at cleanup and economic improvement events each year. Another major annual event is Celebration of Lights where the entire community comes together for a Christmas meal, caroling, singing, games for children, pictures with Santa, snow globes for everyone and a train for children to ride.


Home to:  University of Arkansas-Monticello
Population:  9,467

Students looking for a slower pace and relaxed family atmosphere over the crowd of a large city will appreciate Monticello’s southern charm. The best example of “town and gown” cooperation is the SEARK Concert Association and its annual schedule of performances hosted by the university. SEARK officials work in close cooperation with the UAM Division of Music to bring the performing arts to the community in the form of concerts and theatrical productions. UAM also hosts other community events, including the annual Drew County Chamber of Commerce Dinner and Log-A-Load for Kids annual fundraiser for the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. UAM has also played host to the Arkansas Mission of Mercy, which provides free dental care to thousands of Arkansans.

Local points of interest include Drew County Historical Museum and Hollywood Plantation, an 1846 antebellum plantation home east of Monticello currently being restored under the direction of UAM faculty members. Lake Monticello provides water sports and trophy bass fishing as well.


Home to:  Pulaski Technical College, Shorter College
Population: 62,304

As a first-class, urban playground, North Little Rock draws people of all ages, interests and lifestyles with its small-town atmosphere and large-city offerings. With quality entertainment, great restaurants, attractions, shopping, beautiful scenery and hospitality-focused hotels, North Little Rock offers something unexpected around every corner. 

The historic Argenta District on the city’s original main street offers bars, restaurants and a growing brewpub scene, as well as Farmer’s Markets and arts and entertainment in a one-of-a-kind setting. Nearby, catch a show at Verizon Arena or spend an evening at Dickey Stephens Park to cheer on the hometown Arkansas Travelers. Other points of interest throughout the city’s neighborhoods include the unique shops in Park Hill, the gardens at the Old Mill, shopping at McCain Mall and  the largest park in the area, Burns Park, offering everything from walking and jogging to softball and soccer fields, tennis courts, horseback riding and even a skateboard park.


Home to:  University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Population:  49,094

Pine Bluff is known for being the industrial, entertainment and recreational leader for southeast Arkansas. Located in the mid-south region, it serves as a major trade center within the state. The city provides a warm atmosphere, performing arts, sports and outdoor activities. One of the most anticipated events of the year in Pine Bluff is UAPB Homecoming Week. Alumni, fans and friends of the institution plan a year in advance to attend activities. The estimated economic impact of the celebration totals more than $1 million dollars in revenue.

Campus and community entertainment options include Arts and Sciences Center for Southeast Arkansas, Harbor City Gumbo Festival, Enchanted Land of Lights and Legends, Boo on the Bayou Halloween Celebration, King Cotton Classic, water sports, bass fishing, baseball, golf, tennis and Golden Lion athletics. Area landmarks and attractions include James Hayes Art Glass, downtown murals depicting the history of Pine Bluff, Japanese Garden located in the Pine Bluff Civic Center, Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum, Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, Arkansas Railroad Museum and Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center.


Home to:  Arkansas Tech University
Population:  27,920

“Welcoming” is the first word that comes to many people’s minds when describing Russellville, a friendly place that is large enough to offer the amenities of modern life and small enough to maintain a sense of community. Outdoor recreation is king here, including Lake Dardanelle State Park, Mount Nebo State Park, Bona Dea Trails and numerous other venues within a short drive of campus, affording students the chance to connect with nature through biking, climbing, fishing and hiking. 

The university enjoys tremendous support from area communities. One of the most visible signs of this is “Paint the Town Green and Gold,” which is a shared venture between ATU and the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce, which has its own committee dedicated to promoting the school. The week-long event welcomes new and returning Arkansas Tech students to Russellville while encouraging members of the community to show their support for the institution.


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