High school graduates pursuing higher education have a range of colleges and universities to choose from. Prospective students consider the cost of tuition, courses offered, school reputation, the scholarship of professors, success of alumni, the school’s location, and many other considerations.
Though what students learn in school is what eventually leads to their degree, a college experience is much more than what happens in the classroom. What the college town or city has to offer is arguably one of the most important aspects of this all-important life choice.
To identify the best college towns in America, 24/7 Wall St. relied on a previous analysis that identified the 250 best U.S. cities to live, based on a range of social, economic, and health factors. Of those areas, we identified the 25 cities with the highest postsecondary enrollment as a percentage of the population. At least 20% of residents in all 25 of these cities are currently enrolled in a postsecondary institution.
What makes a college town appealing is largely subjective. However, the best areas for college students should not be so different from the best areas for anyone else. These cities should be relatively prosperous and offer a range of amenities. And while the cities on this list with massive student populations are certainly not necessarily the best college towns, a large body of college-enrolled residents likely brings certain benefits for university students.
For example, from the perspective of a college student, a high percentage of residents enrolled in higher education institutions likely means more opportunity for diverse experiences with peers. Further, the cities with relatively large student populations are more likely to have economies — services, amenities, and infrastructure — that directly serve students.