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The Top 10 College Cities to Live In

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    Finding the perfect college city

    With so many great colleges to choose from in America the hunt for the perfect fit continues to grow more complex. This list of the top 10 college cities covers an objective overview of the criteria which make a college city outstanding. Whether campus night life, or getting your geek on (nerdiest colleges in America) is your thing, you can use this list to hone your view onto the perfect college city for you.

    The criteria

    1. Safety index: The most frequent types and number of crimes committed in the past year.

    2. Cost of living: The median rent per month.

    3. Population demographics: General statistics of the city, including average age, and income of residents.

    4. City culture: This element illustrates the character of the city.

    5. School culture: This attribute is determined by the marriage of the school’s goals, its educational priorities and specialities, its history, its aims for the future, and in what the school excels in.

    6. Sport culture: Many schools have a strong sport culture which represents a mark of pride, entertainment, and opportunity for those who enjoy the school spirit of sports.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: The relationship between the college and the city marks the health of the culture of the city at large as synergy will enable the best of both cultures to mix and mingle.

    8. Weather: General type of weather to be expected.

    9. Reputation: The city's reputation for college excellence.

    10. Unique fact: Something unique about the city.

    Scorecard: At the end of each city a score of each attribute based on information from the source sites between 1 and 10 will be assigned. One being the lowest and ten the highest.

    Without further ado, here are the top 10 college cities to live in America!

    #1: Cambridge, Massachusetts - Harvard University & Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)

    Score: 6.5

    Why this city is ranked #1 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 2,100 Counts of Theft,
    • 415 Counts of Burglary
    • 321 Counts of Arrest.

    2. Cost of living: $3,100 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics: Cambridge has an average of 107,000 residents, and growing each year.

    • 61% of residents are single;
    • 36% are Homeowners; with 34 as the median age;
    • $74,194 is the median household income;
    • 80% are college educated.

    4. City culture: Cambridge is a city with a rich intellectual culture, as it is a hub of science and technology education, research, and application. The city offers many arts and history museums located on the venerated campus.

    5. School culture: Having not just one, but two of the country’s most prestigious schools, Cambridge’s school culture is world renowned for its excellence, alacrity, and relevance. This makes Cambridge the top college city to live for students seeking a prestigious education.

    Harvard Square at Harvard University
     
    Harvard University is closely associated with the city of Cambridge, MA. Below is a photograph of Harvard Square, a plaza surrounded by the university and the business district.

    Highly vetted, and accepting only the world’s brightest students this school culture is one of relentless perfection and cultivation of tomorrow’s leaders.

    6. Sport culture: Harvard and MIT have one of the smallest pools of student athletes to draw from due to the high academic standards at the schools. These schools traditionally focus on academic culture rather than a sports culture.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: The relationship between the colleges and Cambridge is as integrated and supportive as they come. The city sees low crime and high income potential due to the prestigious reputation of the schools.

    Kresge Auditorium at MITSource: MIT
     
    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is known for its technological advancements. The domed design of the Kresge Auditorium - pictured below - enables a voice as low as a whisper to be heard from either side of the lobby.

    8. Weather: Cambridge gets quite cold during the fall and winter, often averaging 20 degrees Fahrenheit with rain and clouds all throughout the year.

    9. Reputation: Cambridge has a rich reputation which will likely support graduates from these schools for their entire life, as it represents the upper echelon of study and achievement.

    10. Unique fact(s): MIT was the first to invent the computer in Cambridge in 1928. Harvard has an average starting salary of over $60,000 a year for recent grads.

    Overall score for Cambridge, Massachusetts
     
    How does Cambridge, Massachusetts score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:6
    Cost of living:4
    Population demographics:6
    City culture:8
    School culture:10
    College(s) and city relationship:10
    Weather:5
    Reputation:9
    Unique opportunity:7
    Overall mean score for Cambridge:6.5

    #2: Amherst, Massachusetts - Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst

    Score: 6.4

    Why this city is ranked #2 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 76 Counts of Traffic Violations
    • 19 Counts of Disorder
    • 14 Counts of Property Crime

    2. Cost of living: $1,700 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics:

    • Population averages 38,000, and the majority of these are students as education is the main feature of the city.
    • 49% of residents are single
    • 44% are Homeowner's
    • 23 is the Median Age
    • $49,358 is the Median Household Income
    • 73% are college Educated.

    4. City culture: Amherst is one of the best college towns. It calls itself a five colleges community. Along with Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, both Smith College and Mount Holyoke Colleges are close by. This is a relatively small town whose main focus is education, and as such it is strong in the supportive aspects of college life with very little crime. Amherst hosts many local museums, such as the Emily Dickinson Museum, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Beneski Museum of Natural History, and the University Museum of Contemporary Art to name a few.

    5. School culture: Amherst is a city devoted to education, and the five key schools draw strength from the support of the community. Each college has its own strengths and focuses, and all excel at preparing students for graduation. Amherst College features a 500-acre wildlife sanctuary which students of all kinds are allowed to roam and enjoy.

    Amherst CollegeSource: Wiki
     
    Amherst College has a focus on liberal arts. Notable alumni include novelist Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code) and former president Calvin Coolidge.

    6. Sport culture: Sports is a strong part of the city, and at Amherst College over a third of the student body participates in sports. This creates a general balance between heady work and physical play, allowing both to be all the more refined for it.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: The relationship between Amherst’s collegiate community and its general community is nearly one and the same as the city is small, and revolves around higher education. This cyclical relationship creates a strong sense of community between all ages, allowing for the mingling of both the like-minded and the diverse.

    Hampshire CollegeSource: HC
     
    Hampshire College is a relatively small private school with a focus on the liberal arts. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is an alumnus.

    8. Weather: The nature of the weather in Amherst is summed up well by Mark Twain, who said “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes” as it is eminently changeable, but expect cold winters.

    9. Reputation: Amherst has a respectable reputation for supporting well balanced student populations to exemplify the passionate pursuit of excellence.

    Du Bois Library and campus center at the University of Massachusetts AmherstSource: UMASS
     
    As the largest university in New England, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has more than 29,000 students in attendance at any given time.

    10. Unique fact: The city of Amherst has grown up around education, and has the oldest athletics program in America, which dates from a regime of physical fitness began in 1860. The pride and dedication of the city reflects these roots in education policy.

    Overall score for Amherst, Massachusetts
     
    How does Amherst, Massachusetts score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:10
    Cost of living:7
    Population demographics:7
    City culture:7
    School culture:7
    College(s) and city relationship:10
    Weather:4
    Reputation:6
    Unique opportunity:6
    Overall mean score for Amherst:6.4

    Are you a college freshman at one of the best college cities? Check out our top five freshman tips to be the coolest student on campus.

    #3: Athens, Georgia - University of Georgia

    Score: 6.3

    Why this city is ranked #3 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 3,072 Counts of Theft
    • 2,089 Counts of Assault
    • 544 Counts of Burglary

    2. Cost of living: $1,200 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics:

    • Population of nearly 121,000, with 35,000 being students of the UGA.
    • 45% of residents are single
    • 48% are Homeowners
    • 31 is the Median Age
    • $37,000 is the Median income,
    • 46% are college educated.

    4. City culture: Athens is a younger city both in style and demographics with a vibrant night life bursting with Southern charm. Athens retains a small town feel even though it's a larger town making it one of the best college towns in the South. This is in part due to the unified nature of the architecture which shuffles between Southern Gothic Renaissance and traditional Grecian government style.

    5. School culture: The University of Georgia’s motto is “to teach, to serve, and to inquire into the nature of things”. This is reflected in the intensity with which the school balances its priorities as an agent of change, preservation, and maintaining excellence. School culture is as diverse as the chief subjects of study, the diverse faculty, and the complex student body which draws from around the world.

    6. Sport culture: The University of Georgia is a national contender in football, and the Dawgs, have a reputation as tenacious competitors. While football mascots are traditionally students in costumes, their mascot, UGA, is a live bulldog descended from the same lineage of bulldogs since 1956.

    Indoor athletic facility at the University of GeorgiaSource: GD
     
    Football is a huge part of the culture at the University of Georgia. As a result, the school has one of the most advanced training facilities in all of college football.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: Athens takes great pride in its educational excellence, and nurtures school spirit with dedicated sports fandom, and especially football. With an average student body population of 35,000, this is nearly a third of the city’s population, and this creates a strong synergy of purpose.

    8. Weather: Georgia’s weather is to be praised! During the school year the temperature averages in the 60s, offering students the chance to enjoy summer all school year long. Winters are mild, but summers can be quite humid.

    9. Reputation: Ranked 56 in universities across the nation, the University of Georgia is the first state-chartered school in America, this institution has deep roots with the state.

    10. Unique fact: Athens is the home of the “Tree that Owns Itself”, a white oak so beloved by locals, one even wrote it into their will. The tree owns itself, and the eight feet of land it needs for roots. This offering of love represents the collaboration between man and nature which Athens residents seeks to achieve, making conservation a key aspect of the education paradigm.

    Overall score for Athens, Georgia
     
    How does Athens, Georgia score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:4
    Cost of living:7
    Population demographics:7
    City culture:7
    School culture:7
    College(s) and city relationship:7
    Weather:8
    Reputation:8
    Unique opportunity:8
    Overall mean score for Athens:6.3

    #4: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina

    Score: 6.1

    Why this city is ranked #4 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 2,238 Counts of Arrest
    • 851 Counts of Assault
    • 827 Counts of Theft.

    2. Cost of living: $1,750 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics:

    • Average population of 57,000
    • 37% of residents are single
    • 69% are Homeowners, 40 is the Median Age
    • $69,918 is the Median Household Income
    • 74% are College Educated.

    4. City culture: Chapel Hill is a relatively small town, of which the University of North Carolina plays a major role. The city marries colonial architecture with an abiding respect for nature, which leads to both a laid back and stimulating atmosphere. Chapel Hill endorses local spirit to a strong degree, which has cultivated a unique local flavor supported by many local businesses such as breweries, cafes, and used bookstores which double as cat havens.

    5. School culture: The strong school spirit of the University of North Carolina permeates the entire city of Chapel Hill, lending the streets a glow of purpose with supports local solidarity. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first public university in America, opening her doors in 1795. Since this inception period the school has made sure to keep in harmony with the surrounding nature of the campus as it expanded, and as a result many claim the school’s campus to be one of the most beautiful in the nation.

    6. Sport culture: The University of North Carolina has a strong sport culture, participating in nearly every arena at many levels of competition. The basketball program is consistently one of the best in the country, and alumni include Michael Jordan, who is considered the best to ever play the sport.

    Basketball at the University of North CarolinaSource: GH
     
    Basketball is an enormous part of the university's culture. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels - photographed below - have won five national championships. Prominent alumni include Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: This relationship continues to thrive based on the mutual respect between the locals and the higher education institution’s they are so proud of. The city’s support for the school can be seen at almost everywhere around town. Clothing and gear bearing the UNC colors and logo are impossible to avoid seeing while in town.

    8. Weather: Chapel Hill is praised for its weather, receiving generous amounts of balmy sunshine and with a breeze coming off the coast the city does not get bogged down by humidity.

    9. Reputation: Being the first public university, Chapel Hill has a deep-rooted reputation for solid, consistent, excellent education. This reputation is spiced with their tendency to innovate based on the courage which comes from consistency.

    10. Unique fact: Unlike many other cities Chapel Hill prides itself on retaining its cultural heritage. Visiting Chapel Hill is surrealistic in that it feels like traveling back into colonial times when the world was a simpler place. This simplicity lends itself well to a studious attitude and low crime rate.

    Overall score for Chapel Hill, North Carolina
     
    How does Chapel Hill, North Carolina score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:5
    Cost of living:5
    Population demographics:8
    City culture:7
    School culture:7
    College(s) and city relationship:10
    Weather:8
    Reputation:8
    Unique opportunity:3
    Overall mean score for Chapel Hill:6.1

    Looking for a summer job to pay for school? Check out our top 10 summer jobs for college students.

    #5: Berkeley, California - University of California Berkeley

    Score: 5.6

    Why this city is ranked #5 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 4,450 Counts of Theft
    • 1,943 Counts of Burglary
    • 1,103 Counts of Assault

    2. Cost of living: $4,250 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics:

    • Average population of 115,000
    • 56% of residents are single
    • 44% are Homeowners
    • 37 is the Median Age
    • $65,887 is the Median Household Income
    • 77% are College Educated.

    4. City culture: Berkeley was once the hot spot of student led protests in the 1960s, and it retains the freewheeling spirit of those times. This is embodied in the city’s copious street art, cafes, independent bookstores, music venues, and many shops and eateries dedicated to the green energy movement. The city is littered with institutions of higher learning, and students throng the streets. While Berkeley has a small-town feel, the mega-full cities of Oakland and San Francisco are nearby.

    5. School culture: The University of California Berkeley has been a pillar of the community since establishing specialities in Earthquake Science in 1887. Although not an Ivy League school, the university has a prestige many other universities strive for. The science community at UC Berkeley is one of the most respected in the nation.

    Bancroft Library at the University of California BerkeleySource: UCB
     
    The University of California Berkeley is one of the first universities in the state of California. Its alumni include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack, physicist Michio Kaku, and current California Governor Jerry Brown.

    6. Sport culture: The University of California Berkeley doesn’t compete among the elite currently in most sports, but still boasts an impressive roster of athletes as alumni. These include NFL stars Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch, DeSean Jackson, and soccer star Alex Morgan.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: This relationship is very strong due to the history of the region for encouraging students to be world changers. The city retains the innovations created in the education culture and helps propagate collegiate ideals.

    8. Weather: While Northern California doesn’t have quite the legendary weather its southern counterpart does, it still enjoys very nice weather itself, even if there is a bit more rain.

    9. Reputation: Berkeley ranks very high around the world for education, culture, and the synergy of student and the community. The university has an outstanding reputation among the science and journalism communities.

    10. Unique fact: The University of California Berkeley has the highest recorded membership for College Republicans, which offers a unique opportunity for across the aisle communication, debate, and collaboration on a campus with mostly liberal views.

    Overall score for Berkeley, California
     
    How does Berkeley, California score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:3
    Cost of living:3
    Population demographics:5
    City culture:7
    School culture:8
    College(s) and city relationship:7
    Weather:8
    Reputation:6
    Unique opportunity:5
    Overall mean score for Berkeley:5.6

    #6: Boulder, Colorado - University of Colorado Boulder, and Naropa University

    Why this city is ranked #6 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 1,572 Counts of Vandalism
    • 1,544 Counts of Theft
    • 546 Counts of Arrest

    2. Cost of living: $2,800 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics:

    • Population averages 104,000
    • 43% of residents are single
    • 67% are Homeowners
    • 38 is the Median Age
    • $80,096 is the Median Household Income
    • 76% are College Educated

    4. City culture: Boulder city culture is large, as it lays at the base of the Rocky Mountains, whose overshadowing the city creates an atmosphere larger-than-life. Keeping in sync with the nature Boulder’s culture retains a natural flavor in its style of commerce and entertainment. With a keen focus on sustainable local systems, Boulder invites community collaboration, creative recycling and repurposing, and staying in step with nature.

    5. School culture: The two schools in Boulder, The University of Colorado and the Naropa University, reflect the dual nature of how people chose to relate with the overwhelming power of nature at their doorstep. The University of Colorado, with its tag line of “Be BOULDER” is a traditional school with the value of excellence and innovation. The University of Colorado hosts a sprawling student body with an average of over 30,000 students.

    University of Colorado BoulderSource: UC
     
    Nestled in a pine valley in the Rocky Mountains, the campus at the University of Colorado Boulder is one of the most beautifully scenic campuses in the country.

    Naropa University takes a much different approach, as it is a contemplative school who has merged a Western Liberal Arts pedagogy with Eastern Wisdom Traditions. Here transcendental meditation meets spiritual sustainability. Naropa hosts just a small student body of just under 400 especially picked students.

    Naropa UniversitySource: NU
     
    Naropa University specializes in education in the arts, early childhood education, environmental studies, peace studies, psychology, and religion.

    6. Sport culture: The University of Colorado has a strong presence in many sports, mainly football and basketball. Naropa University does not have an athletics program to better serve their focus on the life of the mind.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: The University of Colorado integrates with the city of Boulder through public outreach programs, local sustainability initiatives, business and industry collaborations, and engaging with local nature for both education and play.

    8. Weather: Weather in Boulder is a dream with an average 300 days of sun per year, and an average temperature of 50 degrees F. In winter students will definitely feel the cold, but this is offset by the plethora of outdoor sporting activities such as skiing, hiking, and rock climbing,

    9. Reputation: The University of Colorado has had a reputation as one of the biggest party schools in the country, but the administration have been systematically cleaning up school culture to change this. Naropa University has a pristine reputation for those in the know of ascension culture.

    10. Unique fact: Boulder Colorado is one of the healthiest cities in the country, as it is rimmed with lush forests draping the mountainside like a cape. Fresh air and water, clean skies, and the opportunity to get safely lost in pristine nature are the defining opportunity of Boulder.

    Overall score for Boulder, Colorado
     
    How does Boulder, Colorado score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:6
    Cost of living:4
    Population demographics:6
    City culture:6
    School culture:4
    College(s) and city relationship:5
    Weather:6
    Reputation:3
    Unique opportunity:9
    Overall mean score for Boulder:5.3

    #7: Charlottesville, Virginia - University of Virginia

    Score: 4.5

    Why this city is ranked #7 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 728 Counts of Assault
    • 642 Counts of Theft
    • 319 Counts of Vandalism.

    2. Cost of living: $1,650 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics: Population averages just over 44,000

    • 46% of residents are single
    • 55% are homeowners
    • 36 is the median age
    • $55,570 the median household income
    • 58% are college educated

    4. City culture: Charlottesville is a small town with its focus on quality of life over quantity of possessions. The Blue Ridge Mountains offer protection for the local wineries, and the city remains steeped in wilderness to support the roving imagination. Charlottesville is a finely balanced mix of modern and colonial architecture, retaining the lines of Thomas Jefferson’s designs even as it supports modern flair. The city rounds itself off with a sampling of relevant arts, eateries, and a burgeoning local scene.

    5. School culture: The University of Virginia is considered a prestigious as well as an affordable school. The school believes in investing in its faculty as “a gardener ensures their soil is ripe for another year’s planting”. Faculty are encouraged to push the bounds of social conditioning which other schools may rest their laurels upon.

    The Rotunda at the University of VirginiaSource: UV
     
    The University of Virginia is one of the oldest schools in the country. Edgar Allan Poe, Robert F. Kennedy, Georgia O'Keeffe, and William Faulkner are among the university's notable alumni.

    6. Sport culture: The University of Virginia has a strong sport culture and won the NCAA Baseball championship, or College World Series in 2015. The school maintains strong academic requirements for their athletes, and is consistently improving their national standing.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: This relationship is very close, even paternal, as Charlottesville has the Southern Charm which enables students to feel right at home. The city takes great pride in the academic and athletic aims of the University, and are developing new collaborations all the time.

    8. Weather: The weather tends to be warm with consistent rain to support the green acres. Peaceful, balmy, and not extreme, Charlottesville's weather is much like the charm of the city it supports.

    9. Reputation: The University of Virginia has a very strong reputation for educational excellence, innovation, and for homespun values which it has maintained since for more than a century.

    10. Unique fact: Honoring the quality of its historical roots, the University is proud to have Georgia O’Keefe and William Faulkner not only as alumni, but also as instructors on their roster.

    Overall score for Charlottesville, Virginia
     
    How does Charlottesville, Virginia score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:6
    Cost of living:5
    Population demographics:3
    City culture:5
    School culture:5
    College(s) and city relationship:4
    Weather:6
    Reputation:8
    Unique opportunity:4
    Overall mean score for Charlottesville:4.5

    #8: Ann Arbor, Michigan - The University of Michigan

    Score: 4.2

    Why this city is ranked #8 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 1,027 Counts of Theft
    • 411 Counts of Assault
    • 195 Counts of vandalism

    2. Cost of living: $2,400 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics: Average Population of 118,000

    • 43% of residents are single
    • 67% are homeowners
    • 38 is the median age
    • $65,664 is the median household income
    • 76% are college educated

    4. City culture: The city of Ann Arbor is medium sized, and has a dense amount of cultural activity. With a population which is health conscious, the entire city is organized for easy transportation via walkways, bike paths, and a fully integrated public transport system which makes having a car in this colder climate unnecessary. The city is filled with large and small art museums, theaters, music venues, local shops and breweries, and parks to haunt.

    5. School culture: The University of Michigan has a wide range of academic achievement boundaries, nurturing middle ground students at the same time they challenge those who excel. The University of Michigan is quite a large school as well, hosting over 40,000 students a year,

    6. Sport culture: The University of Michigan has an extremely successful football program as well as the Wolverines boasting over 50 national championships in 12 sports. Notable sports alumni from the University of Michigan include 5-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, and Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time.

    University of MichiganSource: MGB
     
    Sports is central not only to the University of Michigan, but also to the city of Ann Arbor. The crowds that attend home football and basketball games are some of the largest in college sports, exceeding the home crowds of some professional sports teams.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: The relationship between Ann Arbor and its institutions of higher learning is not as high as other cities on this list. The University of Michigan’s Football program is a great source of pride and entertainment, and often has extremely high attendance, even in blistering cold weather. Games between U of Michigan and rival Michigan State are often sellouts. Not bad considering the stadium can seat over 107,000 people!

    8. Weather: The weather in Ann Arbor Michigan is quite cold, being a northern city. The average temperature ranges cold, and during the summer there is high humidity.

    9. Reputation: The University of Michigan’s reputation is as strong as Berkeley's but not as glamorous due to the climate factors. Ann Arbor has a reputation for grounded consistency. Notable alumni include former president Gerald Ford, actor James Earl Jones, and musician, Madonna.

    10. Unique fact: Michigan has the largest Alumni ranking in the world (alumni who continue to reside in same state as their university), and this may be due to the local love it cultivates. The majority of students are locals who remain locals upon graduation. In this case it may be the best fit for local high school grads looking at an in-state college.

    Overall score for Ann Arbor, Michigan
     
    How does Ann Arbor, Michigan score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:6
    Cost of living:4
    Population demographics:4
    City culture:5
    School culture:6
    College(s) and city relationship:3
    Weather:3
    Reputation:6
    Unique opportunity:5
    Overall mean score for Ann Arbor:4.2

    #9: Burlington, Vermont - University of Vermont

    Score: 3.9

    Why this city is ranked #8 out of our top 10 college cities

    1. Safety index:

    • 977 Counts of Theft
    • 355 Counts of Vandalism
    • 226 Counts of Assault.

    2. Cost of living: $2,400 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics: Population averages just over 42,000

    • 54% of residents are single
    • 39% are homeowners
    • 31 is the median age
    • $49,625 is the median household income
    • 54% are college educated.

    4. City culture: City culture is small and homey in this town on the cusp of Lake Champlain, the sixth largest lake in the U.S. Culture here is a relaxed mix of nature pastimes of hiking, kayaking, cliff jumping, and of a deeply rooted local vibe of quality music, food, and the arts.

    5. School culture: The University of Vermont attracts a predominantly Caucasian Christian demographic. One of the hidden gems of this quality institution is that it has extremely high rates of helping place their graduates in satisfactory jobs. Students describe the university as both cheerful and industrious. This school is also featured on our list of the top schools on the east coast under $25K.

    University of VermontSource: UVM
     
    The University of Vermont focuses on business administration and management. The university is also known for its psychology department and political science program.

    6. Sport culture: The University of Vermont does not have the strongest sport culture, which may reflect the values of the city which tend more towards collaboration and not competition.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: This relationship is tight at times and flagging at others. There has been a history of tensions between local and student populations, due to difference of values and lifestyles.

    8. Weather: Weather in Burlington is mild and natural, averaging around 55 degrees, and with a welcome mix of rain.

    9. Reputation: While the school has a respectable reputation they tend to be labeled as “hippie.”

    10. Unique Opportunity: This is the home of Ben and Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. The creative and delicious spirit of the city is well represented by this lineage.

    Overall score for Burlington, Vermont
     
    How does Burlington, Vermont score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:5
    Cost of living:2
    Population demographics:4
    City culture:6
    School culture:4
    College(s) and city relationship:4
    Weather:5
    Reputation:5
    Unique opportunity:4
    Overall mean score for Burlington:3.9

    Studying for finals at the best college city in America? Learn how to boost memory for final exams.

    #10: Ithaca, New York - Ithaca College, and Cornell University

    1. Safety index:

    • 552 Counts of Theft
    • 446 Counts of Assault
    • 282 Counts of Arrest

    2. Cost of living: $1,050 Median Rent Per Month.

    3. Population demographics:

    • Population averages 30,500
    • 49% of residents are single
    • 50% are homeowners
    • 35 is the median age
    • $48,877 is the median household income
    • 68% are College Educated.

    4. City culture: Ithaca city culture is closely linked with nature in this spritely mountain town. Sporting over 150 waterfalls, Ithaca has an otherworldly, dreamy feel, resting near the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes, Cayuga Lake. Culture is a mix of yearly music festivals and all round nature engagement.

    5. School culture: Both Cornell and Ithaca University have high rates of statistical excellence, but are not snobbish. This upper New York town is far enough away from the brouhaha of the city to have a more laid back atmosphere. However, students attracted to this region are usually self-motivated enough to thrive in the environment. The professors in Ithaca have a lingering reputation for care and quality, going out of their way to ensure their students have the best shot.

    Ithaca CollegeSource: IC
     
    Originally a conservatory of music, Ithaca College is known for producing distinguished professionals in the media and entertainment industries. Celebrated alumni include television host Ricki Lake, actress Jennifer Hall, and The Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger.

    6. Sport culture: Sport culture is not as strong in either of these college as they small and focused more on academics.

    7. Relationship between colleges & city: Both Cornell and Ithaca University both have intimate relationships with the city, participating in collaborative projects in nature and the arts. The education culture is held close to the city’s heart.

    8. Weather: Weather is very cold during the winter in this mountain town. Beautiful but still chilly during the spring. Crisp and radiant in the fall.

    9. Reputation: Ithaca has a luminous reputation for quality over quantity, and a strong Alumni program which seeks to nurture ties. Ithaca College’s notable alumni include a lot of entertainers, like Gavin DeGraw, or newscasters such as David Muir. Cornell’s alumni include writer Kurt Vonnegut, punk rocker Greg Graffin of Bad Religion who has a Ph.D from the school, and Bill Nye, The Science Guy.

    Cornell UniversitySource: CU
     
    Cornell University is one of the most respected schools in the country. This Ivy League institution has a strong emphasis on science, politics, and business management.

    10. Unique fact: Aside from being an alumnus of Cornell University, with his technicolor bow ties, Bill Nye is a keen spokesperson global science issues, like climate change.

    Overall score for Ithaca, New York
     
    How does Ithaca, New York score against the other top college towns?
    AttributeScore
    Safety index:7
    Cost of living:5
    Population demographics:2
    City culture:4
    School culture:4
    College(s) and city relationship:5
    Weather:3
    Reputation:6
    Unique opportunity:3
    Overall mean score for Ithaca:3.9

    The search for the top college cities to live in continues

    Cambridge, Amherst, Athens, Chapel Hill, Berkeley, Boulder, Charlottesville, Ann Arbor, Burlington, and Ithaca. Ten different cities in nine different states: Massachusetts Twice, Georgia, North Carolina, California, Colorado, Virginia, Michigan, Vermont, and New York. The top college cities to live in spread across the entire US.

    Whether you’re going to college straight out of high school or you’re going back to school in your 30s, we know you'll be successful in any city you study in. From coast to coast and coasting along the Midwest, swinging down to the South, and finally taking a shower in the North, this list offers a glimpse of the many amazing opportunities for students looking to maximize their college experience. So feel free to take this research as hor d’oeuvres on your larger search of the perfect college fit. Visit these vistas of culture and cultivation to sense how the campus and city feel for you.

    Visit our essay writing service because no matter what college town you live in, we can help!

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