When deciding where to go to college, location can matter just as much as academics. Factors like safety, job opportunities, and cultural vibrancy can elevate — or detract from — the college experience.
Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on cities, recently named the best college towns in America, focusing on the overall livability of places where undergraduates from a top-250 college make up at least 10% of the town's overall population.
To determine "livability," Niche narrowed in on each city's cost of living, public-school quality, the percentage of residents who hold at least a bachelor's degree, and the overall strength of the area's real-estate market. Niche also factored in things like diversity, crime rates, and access to amenities. You can read a detailed breakdown of the methodology here.
From the homes of big state schools to small towns housing tiny private schools, here are the 30 best places to live while you're earning that degree.
SEE ALSO: The best suburb in every state
30. Golden, Colorado — home to Colorado School of Mines
Cost of living: C-
Median rent: $947
"The community is great, and it is growing quickly," one resident said. "Places are consistently looking to hire in town. It is also a relatively short drive in to Denver, so there are plenty of places to work."
Leisure activities are abundant as well.
"There are block parties all summer long, you can tube on the river, the breweries are great, and people are friendly," another resident said. "What's not to love?"
29. Carlisle, Pennsylvania — home to Dickinson College
Cost of living: C+
Median rent: $776
"School is important to the people here, and because we live in a small community, it is easy to find someone you know in every store you walk in," one resident said. "Living in a small town is actually an adventure to me."
28. Northfield, Minnesota — home to Carleton College and St. Olaf College
Cost of living: B-
Median rent: $730
"Northfield is repeatedly ranked as one of the best small cities in America, and between its two liberal arts colleges, politically active youth, and historic feel, it is a quirky and raw place to grow up," a lifelong resident shared.
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