The 2017 Best College Locations ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Census. Top-ranked areas offer excellent nightlife, dining, recreational opportunities, and cultural attractions. Learn where our data comes from.
|Student Surveys on Local Area||Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the quality of the local area at each school.||Self-reported by Niche users||30.0%|
|Access to Bars||A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of bars and similar establishments.||Niche||10.0%|
|Access to Coffee Shops||A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of coffee shops and similar establishments.||Niche||10.0%|
|Access to Restaurants||A measure of both the proximity (per square mile) and the availability (per capita) of full-service restaurants.||Niche||10.0%|
|Cost of Living Grade||Niche’s Cost of Living Grade, which incorporates statistics that capture a location’s affordability.||Niche||10.0%|
|Local Weather Grade||Niche Weather grade, which incorporates statistics such as amount of sunshine, precipitation rates, as well as student surveys regarding local weather.||Niche||10.0%|
|Percent Local Residents Age 18-24||Percent of residents in the town who are between 18 and 24 years of age.||U.S. Census||10.0%|
|Local Crime Grade||Niche’s Crime & Safety Grade, which incorporates statistics that capture a location’s general safety.||Niche||5.0%|
|Outdoor Activities Grade||Niche Outdoors Activities grade, which incorporates statistics such as access to natural parks and campgrounds.||Niche||5.0%|
This ranking assesses 1,376 4-year colleges and universities. The same methodology is used to produce the Niche Location Grade for each ranked school as well as additional 4-year colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and other 2-year programs. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2014–2016, as self-reported by the colleges.
For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.