The Best Student Cities This Side of The West

Where To Study

The Best Student Cities This Side of The West

Before you go ahead and study your degree, be it a masters or a bachelors, you’ve got to find the right city to study it in. Finding the right city for you is more than just picking the ones with the best university-there are many other considerations you need to take in to find the right city for you.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at 5 student cities in North America that rank highly in all 6 of the criteria listed below:

  • University rankings: How well do their universities do in the academic department
  • Student mix: Proportions of the students and how diverse they are
  • Desirability: How safe and entertaining the city itself is
  • Employer activity: How easy it is for a student to find employment there, be it while or after studying
  • Affordability: How much do academic tuitions and living expenses cost
  • Student voice: The collective opinion of the students who are already studying there



Location: Massachusetts, United States

QS Student City Ranking: 11th

There is no doubt that Boston is one of, if not the most well-known academic hub in North America and that reputation of this one of the American cities is bolstered even further with its list of universities. First, let’s get the two elephants out of the room-Harvard University, one of THE most acclaimed universities in the entire world, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is basically Harvard for those who want to study engineering and technology. Having one of these institutions alone would make you very well-known in the world of academics, but Boston has the privilege of having both of them in its city.

On top of those, it also contains about half a dozen other internationally prestigious universities, earning itself the nickname of “Athens of America”. Keep in mind, of course, the on glaring flaw of Boston-the prices. Between the tuition costs and living expenses, finding some way to alleviate those costs (trust fund, scholarship, financial aid, really anything except student loans those are a death trap) should be your #1 priority if you intend to study here.

Read more: 5 Things To Do Before Applying for a MBA



Location: Quebec, Canada

QS Student City Ranking: 14th

Multicultural, multilingual, and commonly referred to as Canada’s “capital of culture”, Montreal scores frequently high in city rankings and ticks off a lot of boxes in the six indicators listed above. It is also home to several of Canada’s highest ranking universities, including McGill University and Universite de Montreal.

It also ranks relatively high in the ‘student view’ department, coming in at 9th place, meaning that the students who chose to live there definitely do not regret their decision. It also helps that the place is a top contender for arts and culture, as well as the friendliness and diversity of its inhabitants. It also has a very laidback and lively lifestyle, which results in all types of interesting businesses making their home in Montreal, from creative industries to all sorts of café cultures to art venues, live performances and nightlife.

Read more: FAQ on Canadian Visas



Location: Ontario, Canada

QS Student City Ranking: 15th

Another great student city in Canada is the capital itself, Toronto. The pros that it has is more or less the same as that of Quebec-it scores really high in ‘student view’, meaning that the students really enjoy spending their time there, and is also a very diverse and multicultural city, which is what brings many foreign students to the city.

Overall a very desirable location which students enjoy and have respectable chances of employment after graduation though keep in mind that, much like most major cities, the costs are VERY expensive. Scholarships and financial aid are heavily recommended if you plan to study in this city.

New York


Location: New York, America

QS Student City Ranking: 18th

This is the one-the ‘Big Apple’ of America. Probably one of, if not the most recognizable city and state in all of America, rivalled only by California and Los Angeles. The city is considered a world leader in many fields-finance, entertainment and, yes, higher education. Students have a long list of prestigious universities to choose from in New York, so as a result it’s seen them flocking to the city for a high quality education. On top of that, the opportunity in this city is probably higher than any other-in terms of employment and getting a job, New York is probably the easiest to do so since it leads in so many different fields that it can cater to all types of students.

Of course, there’s one glaring flaw-the cost. I know I said that some of the other cities in this rankings are pricey but when I say New York is expensive to live in, I mean it’s EXPENSIVE to live in. The rent of an average New Yorker is about 82% of the median salary in America. The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment over there is $3,500-for reference, the rent of the same apartment in an average state would be $1,480. Even parking your car in the long term is going to rack you up $606 worth of tickets. So yeah, you’re gonna need to really think of your budget if you plan on going here.



Location: British Columbia, Canada

QS Student City Ranking: 20th

Up next is another city in Canada, Vancouver. There’s not really much to say here that I haven’t already said in the other cities. It’s multilingual, diverse, is popular with the students due to its vibrant nightlife, offers decent job opportunities for the students still in education or those who graduated and has rather hefty costs, both in tuition and in living expenses.

And there you have it. Just some of the few places which should offer a good balance of education and excitement to future students. If you want to find out more about university related topics, be sure to check out UniApp.

Looking to study in America? Check out this study destination guide below.

Looking to study in Canada? Check out this study destination guide below.

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