The Cities That College Students Love

NYU Stern. Ethan Baron photo

Going to college isn’t just about picking a campus. It’s also about picking the surrounding town or city. And according to The Princeton Review’s annual poll of college students, some cities and college towns do it better than others. The very best — according to the survey results — is New Orleans, as voted to the top by students from Tulane University.

The survey asked students from almost 400 colleges the question: “How do you rate the city or town where your school is located?” The New Orleans motto is “let the good times roll,” and in the city with good food and drink, a vibrant arts and culture scene, and the host of Mardi Gras, students at Tulane have voiced their appreciation for all the ways the city enriches their life beyond the classroom. A cappella concerts, dive-in movie nights at the indoor pool, and comedy shows are just some of the regular things Tulane students report participating in.

In second place is the Big Apple, where Columbia University students say there are “countless things to do for fun.” The “clubs downtown are always a late night option as are the Broadway shows and comedy clubs near Times Square” and “from shopping in Soho to visiting museums to trying out a new restaurant in Midtown, there’s literally nothing you can’t do here,” students told The Princeton Review. The other thing that Columbia students say they love is how the weekday grind is offset by the many ways to decompress over the weekend, whether it’s scoring some cheap theatre tickets to a rising artiste, attending the World Leaders Forum where speakers have historically included “presidents and prime ministers from countries far and wide,” or watching a free concert in the park with some friends.

Other cities that have topped the list this year include Hoboken, New Jersey, ranked high by students from the Stevens Institute of Technology, Nashville, Tennessee, voted in by students of Vanderbilt University, and San Francisco, loved by students of the University of San Francisco. Some classic college towns also made the list like Madison, Wisconsin, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Boulder, Colorado.

As one student at Tulane put it, their city topped the list this year because there was “no shortage of things to do and I find that my greatest challenge is deciphering how to balance my academic learning with my culturally immersive learning.” If you’re looking for a balanced college diet, check out which cities made the top-20 list this year.

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