The US is a pretty big country, and each region has some characteristics that are unique. Of course, there are top schools in every region, and some students simply wish to enter the top program for their specialization. But for others, the location is an issue, and for them it is useful to consider the regional distinctions.
New England is the oldest region of the US, although the entire Atlantic seaboard was colonized around the same time. New England is largely rolling hills and townships here and there, with smaller cities spaced out somewhat. This area has significant winter with heavy snows, and also has a deep base of excellent schools, mostly based in Boston. Boston also is the tech center of the east of the US (far behind Silicon Valley but still second) and to some extent a center for venture capital.
There are great schools all over this area, it is highly developed in this regard, but students should not forget the significant winters and the distance it is from China. For instance, from Los Angles to Shanghai is just 9 hours, whereas from Boston to Beijing is about 17 hours flight time.
From New York and Philadelphia right down following the coast is a huge region of major cities and rural rural areas. Next is Maryland and Virginia, then North & South Carolina. This region is also a highly developed one with many excellent schools and research institutions, has much lighter winter, but is relatively expensive in the cities. Add about 8 hours for a flight from DC to LA. South.
In the US, the unique southern drawl is frowned upon as the language of the farm, and the South region remains poor and somewhat backwards, plus it is much more divided by race than much of the rest of the country. However, there are many fine schools in these regions, the cost of living is the lowest low, and oftentimes these are the schools that give scholarships. Plus, people from this area can just be the nicest in the whole world. The South of Florida and Louisiana are both quite unique areas that can be considered part of the South. South Florida, of course, has a strong Latin influence, and is much more cosmopolitan and international than most of the the US. Spanish is spoken freely and the dancers are everywhere. Cuban culture sits beside Puerto Rican and there are so many other influences. Louisiana, by contrast, has a strong French influence from hundreds of years ago, and they have their own special kind of language that is hard for others to understand.
The Rust Belt
This area, part of the Midwest culturally, is all the cities along the coasts of the Great Lakes. Once this area was an engine of growth in America, when the workers made the steel and sent it to Detroit to be made into cars, and the Great Lakes were an effective route for transportation of commodities. But today the steel plants and factories are silent and the area is hard-hit by recent economic trends. The area has a heavy, long winter, but there are a lot of good schools and the costs in this area are very low at present. Indeed, this area has already been targeted by Chinese investors for its industrial infrastructure and low prices.
The Midwest is, in many ways, a better place to study in America than the coastal regions. In the Midwest you can relax and focus on your studies, and make strong friendships with the people you study with. In the Eastern regions, everyone is rushing around, and people can be quite rude. Also, we must always remember that the larger US cities have more violence and crime, whereas the Midwest is a safer, more peaceful area. People are honest and direct, its easier to make friends and develop relationships with others, and the cost of living here is pretty low.
The mountain population is low, of course, so there aren't that many schools to choose from. But the mountain culture is open and honest, the weather is wonderful, with a shorter winter that isn't too harsh, and is stunningly beautiful. The people are very diverse, with many people moving there from other areas to join the active, outdoors culture. Nearby sites to ski or participate in other sports abound. Add just two hours Denver to LA.
There are not many schools in this area, but it is a beautiful part of the United States. The population in this region has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, and there are a few good schools, but overall the land is all but untouched by human hands. This area has been inhabited for thousands of years, and is known as an area of spirituality and mysticism. Tucson is a notable example of a good location, just in the hills by the desert.
Long Pacific Coast
The Pacific Coast of the US is pretty long, but we can separate it into perhaps three parts. From Mexico in the South, we have San Diego and then Los Angeles, and then a longer distance up to San Francisco and Oakland. San Diego is known to have a small town feel to it, and of course LA is what it is. Then the Northern California cities, which have a different character, San Francisco has long been a very left-wing city, whereas Oakland is a blue color, working class town. Nearby and somewhat in between the two areas lies Silicon Valley.
Finally, we have the Pacific Northwest, the very North part of California, up through Oregon and into Washington State. This area is culturally very interesting to Americans, and many people move to Seattle, Portland or the other nearby cities for the lifestyle. Active, artistic, and musical, these regions are a patchwork of isolated rural areas and cosmopolitan, hip cities. Western Washington and Oregon are only for those who really want to delve into common American society, these area are remote and extremely traditional.