High school seniors face a laundry list of tasks when getting ready for college. Between standardized tests, essays and financial-aid applications, the final months before orientation can be difficult. One of the most important steps in the process is the campus visit, which often includes a tour of the city or town that will serve as the student’s home for the next several years. Experts have argued that a school’s geographical location is just as important as a strong curriculum and supportive school environment to a student’s academic success and personal development. As student living expenses can reach up to $27,200 for a 12-month period, students should try to find the most bang for their buck.
To help prospective college students narrow down their school choices and to follow up our report on 2020’s College & University Rankings, WalletHub compared more than 400 U.S. cities of varying sizes based on 31 key indicators of academic, social and economic opportunities for students. Our data set ranges from cost of living to quality of higher education to crime rate. Below are our findings, additional expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.