College towns — you’ve got to love them. Yes, there are some negatives, such as noise, to living life surrounded by college students. But college towns also have a lot of unique and intrinsic qualities. There are cool restaurants and entertainment options, for example. And having a lot of sharp, driven folks in the community typically leads to better outcomes.
But not every town with a college in it is really a “college town.” It’s hard to say just where that dividing line is. But when you’re in a college town you can definitely feel the difference. Where, though, are the absolute best college towns in the country? A new report from Schools.com gives us a rundown.
“To find the best college towns, we analyzed data from 170 communities with populations of fewer than 150,000 residents. At that size, cities are big enough to offer plenty of amenities but small enough that students don’t get lost in the crowd,” the report said. “We looked at factors that are important to college students right now — such as entertainment options and the number of young adults living in the community — as well as those things that may be important later, like the unemployment rate and median cost to rent.”
With that, here are the top 15 college towns in America.
15. Bennington, Vermont
- Bennington’s population, as of 2010, was just under 16,000.
If you really want to go for the small-town feel, Bennington, Vermont, might be the place for you. There are actually two colleges there: Bennington College and Southern Vermont College. Despite its small size, the city is actually the third-largest in the state and is located about three hours from Boston by car. The biggest nearby city is Albany, which is about an hour away.
We’re just getting started. Next up, we head to the Great Plains.