The US currently has 12 entrants in the QS Best Student Cities index, with each city hosting a variety of prestigious universities as well as distinctive lifestyles and cultures. But which of its cosmopolitan student cities is the one for you?

  New York City

  As well as The Big Apple and The City That Never Sleeps, New York City is sometimes called the Capital of the World. Few other cities conjure up such rich and varied imagery, be it the skyscrapers that serve as towering monuments to the city’s financial power, the legendary music and fashion scenes, the bright lights and glitz of Broadway or those iconic yellow cabs.

  There is no shortage of top universities in New York either, including Columbia University (ranked 18th in the QS World University Rankings® ) and New York University (52nd).


  If you want to be surrounded by the world’s best and brightest students and academics, then you can’t really do much better than Boston – especially if you include the nearby student-centered town of Cambridge, MA. This is the location of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University, ranked first and third in the world in the ranking. Other top universities in Boston include Boston University (81st), Tufts University (joint 243rd), Boston College (joint 339th), Northeastern University (joint 346th) and Brandeis University (411-420).

  One of the most historic US cities, Boston is well known for arts and culture, particularly when it comes to contemporary classical music. But it’s not all serious academia and highbrow culture; the city is also renowned for its pubs and bars, and its fondness for sports.









  In terms of wealth, population and cultural impact, Chicago only lags behind the behemoths of New York City and Los Angeles. Beneath those imposing skyscrapers is a vibrant and eclectic city, known for its lively mixture of cultures, live music and nightlife, and intellectual life. Nicknamed the Windy City, Chicago is the third-most populous US city, with around 2.7 million residents. In , the city hosted a record of over 52 visitors from home and abroad, making it one of the country’s most visited cities.

  High-ranking universities in Chicago include the University of Chicago (ninth in the QS World University Rankings ) and Northwestern University (just outside the city) at joint 28th. Other strong options are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (69th), the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) (joint 207th), and Illinois Institute of Technology (joint 395th).

  San Francisco & the Bay Area

  The universities in San Francisco and the Bay Area which surrounds it include two of the world’s most prestigious and best-known: Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, ranked second and 27th respectively in the QS World University Rankings . The intellectual might of this pair has massively contributed to the area’s wealth, which is largely founded on the renowned technology hub known as Silicon Valley, home to high-tech corporations such as Apple, Facebook and Google.

  San Francisco itself, and the branch of the University of California which shares its name, is also known for its ground-breaking biomedical research. The city has been ranked highly on lists of the world’s most livable cities and is a popular tourist destination. Add mild weather, a liberal outlook and a strong party culture, and you can see the appeal for yourself.







  Los Angeles

  Nicknamed ‘the City of Angels’, Los Angeles is inseparable from the creative industries on which its wealth is founded: music, television, and – most of all – film. Other things that might leap to mind when you think of the city are the bright Californian sun, beaches, and the perpetual pursuit of the body beautiful – after all, this is the home of “Muscle Beach”.

  If you’d rather be exercising your mind than your body, there are plenty of prestigious universities in Los Angeles, including the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 33rd in the QS World University Rankings . Worth a look if you want to combine studies with star-spotting!







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