Best College Towns in America

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Where to Go For College?

Does location matter? Yes, more than ever the location of where you go to college does matter. The town or city surrounding your school will determine living costs, political mood, and other great entertainment necessities. This data is put together by the American Institute for Economic Research and uses US Census data. Because they profiled the cities by population, I'm listing the "Best College Towns" population category of populations from 100,000 to 1 million.(Not too small, not too large.)

Who doesn't have that image of the quintessential college town when choosing a college? This list gives you a more in-depth look into each college with the information that matters. (Like the party scene and where the local eats are!)

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10. Fort Collins, CO - Colorado State University

Home to the gorgeous Cache la Poudre River and a charming "Old Town", Fort Collins is indeed a college town, as Colorado State University holds the majority of town jobs.

National College Rank: #124

Acceptance Rate: 72.2%

Population: 138,736

Academics: B

Sports: C+

Food: B

Diversity: C+

Eye Candy: A-

Greek Life: B

Safety: B

Nightlife: A

Parking: B-

Weather: B+

*Stats are according to College Prowler* and are not associated with the author's personal feelings.

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9. Honolulu, HI - University of Hawaii

Warm weather, sunny beaches and all-night luaus? Who can resist?! University of Hawaii here we come!

National College Rank: #159

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Population: 909,863

*Unfortunately College Prowler does not have enough student survey data to formulate information.* =(

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8. Santa Cruz, CA - University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is just one of the major UC schools. Santa Cruz is beautiful and decently close to the coast! Imagine studying archaeological ruins of Greece while sipping mimosas on the beach!

National College Rank: #72

Acceptance Rate: 64.2%

Population: 56,124

Academics: B+

Sports: D+

Food: B+

Diversity: B-

Eye Candy: A-

Greek Life: C

Safety: B

Nightlife: B-

Parking: C+

Weather: B+ (B+ for Cali weather, jeez!)

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7. Durham, NC - Duke University

Home to the great Blue Devils, Durham is beautiful. Not only do they have that old Southern charm thing going on, they also have great sports. If you're a major basketball fan, this is your quintessential college town! Grab your blue gear, accent and go!

National College Rank: #9

Acceptance Rate: 18.9%

Population:223,284

Academics: A

Sports: A-

Food: A-

Diversity: A-

Eye Candy: B

Greek Life: A

Safety: C-

Nightlife: B

Parking: C

Weather: B+

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6. Madison, Wisconsin - University of Wisconsin

Wisconsin is more than just the land of cheese. (But if you love beer and cheese, this place is great!) Madison is a hip beautiful town, with a fab downtown! Picture hard-working weekdays and bar crawling weekends!

National College Rank: #45

Acceptance Rate: 57.2%

Population: 235,626

Academics: B+

Sports: A-

Food: B+

Diversity: C+

Eye Candy: A-

Greek Life: B

Safety: B

Nightlife: A

Parking: C

Weather: C

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5. Gainesville, FL - University of Florida

Floridian beaches may not seem like the epitome of a great college education, but contrary to popular belief, University of Florida is one of the largest colleges in the nation. And they know how to party it up too, in bikinis no less!

National College Rank: #45

Acceptance Rate: 57.2%

Population: 235,626

Academics: B+

Sports: A-

Food: B+

Diversity: C+

Eye Candy: A-

Greek Life: B

Safety: B

Nightlife: A

Parking: C

Weather: C

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4. Ewing, NJ - The College of New Jersey

Although Ewing, NJ was rated one of the top best college towns, there isn't enough information on the school for CP to conduct "student likes/dislikes" surveys.

Population: 35,790

Acceptance Rate: 46%

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3. New Haven, CT - Yale University

The famous Yale University. Home of the Bulldogs, famed Whiffenpoofs and the only Ivy on this list! Having one the oldest and most prestigious universities in the US makes New Haven a sure thing on our Best College Towns List.

National College Rank: #3

Acceptance Rate: 7.5%

Population: 123,330

Academics: A+

Sports: B

Food: A

Diversity: A-

Eye Candy: A

Greek Life: C+

Safety: C

Nightlife: A-

Parking: B

Weather: C+

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2. Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan

I'm going to try to add my non-bias two cents on this one, since I am a U of M alum! Most renowned for the largest college football stadium in the US, Ann Arbor is home to the Big House, Wolverines and some great liberal hippies. It is the exact quintessential college town you picture in your head. Complete with old buildings and ivy. Go Blue!

National College Rank: #29

Acceptance Rate: 50%

Population: 114,024

Academics: A-

Sports: B+ (What?!)

Food: B

Diversity: B- (This one makes no sense as it's the most diverse campus in the nation!)

Eye Candy: B+

Greek Life: A

Safety: B-

Nightlife: A

Parking: C+ (This is generous, I'd give it a D+)

Weather: C+ (Once again, generous, imagine -30 degree windchill!)

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1. Boulder, CO - University of Colorado

This is the second city from Colorado clearly deserved since you can't really beat picturesque snow-capped mountains! Boulder, Colorado hits the top spot on the list of best college towns in America!

National College Rank: #86

Acceptance Rate: 84%

Population: 100,160

Academics: B

Sports: B

Food: B

Diversity: C

Eye Candy: B-

Greek Life: B-

Safety: B-

Nightlife: B+

Parking: B-

Weather: B+

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3 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Well I have spent time at # 7 Duke and # 5 Florida and they are great.....but seeing the photos of # 9 Hawaii makes me think that might be the perfect place to go to college....thanks for posting


wsupaul88 profile image

wsupaul88 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

Cool hub! I too am wishing I would have applied to the University of Hawaii!


yenajeon profile image

yenajeon 5 years ago from California Author

@Cogerson: Honestly as much as I loved going to Michigan (and I'm a die-hard Wolverine fan), I really would've loved Hawaii. What an adventure!

@wsupaul88: I know right? I never actually considered the school either. Thanks for visiting!

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