Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Picking a college is not an easy assignment. There are so many factors to consider for high school students ready to move on to the next campus in life. And one of those factors certainly is the college campus and moreover, the college town or city in which they will live. If you or your child is on the hunt, you may want to consider these 12 Massachusetts college cities ranked among the best in the U.S, according to WalletHub.

The financial website WalletHub sized up more than 400 cities of all sizes in the United States. They used 32 key factors of economic, social and academic opportunities for kids looking into colleges. The results show ranges from the cost of living to crime, and of course the quality of higher education.

Knowledge is power and all this information should help prospective college students narrow things down in their difficult search. WalletHub has done the work. They analyzed 415 cities of all sizes and used 3 main measurements.

  1. Wallet friendliness
  2. Social Environment
  3. Academic opportunities

In the overall rankings, Austin, Texas scored the top spot. Their highest scores came from social environment and academic opportunities. Their overall score was a 63.27. Austin was followed by Ann Abor, Michigan and Orlando, Florida in the #2 and 3 spots.

So how did Massachusetts do and which cities made the cut? You can find out here, below, all the details of the 12 Massachusetts college cities that rank among the best in the U.S. New England states, in general, had a strong showing in this study. 5 Connecticut cities made the cut, including New Haven, Hartford, Storrs, Stamford and Bridgeport. Providence, RI was on the list, as well as Durham, and Manchester New Hampshire and Burlington, Vermont.

For a state as small as Massachusetts to show up 12 times in a “best of” category is pretty impressive. Maybe your town made the list. As you would image, the first city to show up is Cambridge. Well done, Massachusetts. You get the A. Details on the metrics breakdown can be found HERE.

  • Cambridge

    The highest showing for a Massachusetts town or city was a #27 rank (out of 415). The city of Cambridge had an overall score of 54.96. As you would imagine the cost of living held back the city from a higher ranking. Cambridge ranks 406th in that department. Yikes. But they ranked very high  in academic and economic opportunities (#13) and did fairly well in social environment coming in a # 29.

    Visit - Harvard University

    Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally.

  • Boston

    It’s no wonder Boston ranks as one of the best college cities in America. There are SO many colleges and universities here. Some of the best in the world are found in the city of Boston. Here’s how our state capitol ranked.

    Overall rank of cities of all sizes: 172

    Camps at Northeastern University in Boston. Massachusetts college cities rank best in U.S.

    Northeastern University
    (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Overall score: 48.42

    Social environment numbers were good, with a #19 ranking.

    Academic ranking was 127 overall in rank.


  • Medford

    A world class college in the heart of Medford helped to fuel their ranking as a best college city. There’s a lot to do in Medford, from live music to restaurants and the city of Boston a short T ride away.

    Here are the scores:

    Overall rank with college cities of all sizes: 178

    Wallet friendliness: 411 out of 415

    Social environment: 210

    Academic/economic opportunities: #25 – Nice score for the home of Tufts University here.

    Home Page

    Tufts University is a world-class private research university in Greater Boston that provides an education like no other.

  • Amherst

    The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst College and Hampshire College can all be found in this one beautiful western Massachusetts town. The town of Amherst ranks as one of the best college towns in our country and here are the rankings:

    Overall: #214

    Wallet Friendliness: #301

    Social environment: #78

    Economic/academic opportunities: #235

  • Lowell

    There’s a lot to like about Lowell. A vibrant arts and music scene, about an hour from Boston, restaurants,sports, bars and lots for college students to do. Lowell is also the home of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Merrimack College isn’t too far away, in Andover, MA and there are some excellent community colleges in the area.

    Here are the scores:

    Overall rank: #256

    Affordability: #286

    Social scene: #177

    Academic/economic opportunities: 215

  • Worcester

    Worcester is like a mini Boston when it comes to colleges and universities. There are quite a few choices for a smaller city. Some very highly regarded higher education facilities can be found in this central Massachusetts city. Plus there are good size music venues, theaters, museums and a ton of good restaurants. And now it’s the home of the Red Sox triple A team, the WooSox. They have a really cool ballpark, too. Worcester is home to Holy Cross, Clark University, Worcester Polytech, and more!

  • Somerville

    With Tufts University just a stones throw away, plus easy commutes to Harvard, Cambridge University, MIT, Lesley College and more, no wonder Somerville made the list of the best college cities in the country. Somerville has always attracted college students for it’s easy access via the T, and buses, and bike friendliness. They are alive with the arts, and home to the best porch fest. Also, Somerville is a little more affordable than Boston and Cambridge. Last year it was named one of the best cities to live in by Money Magazine. Somerville’s highest rank came in academic/economic opportunities. Here’s how they scored:

    Overall rank: #286

    Wallet friendliness: #404

    Social environment: #141

    Academic/economic opportunities: #58

    Somerville, Massachusetts

    Find out why Somerville, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, is one of MONEY's 2019 Best Places to Live in the U.S.


  • Waltham

    Waltham is home to 2 popular and highly acclaimed colleges. Here, you will find Brandeis University and Bentley University. Boston College isn’t far away, and there is plenty to do in this smaller city. Did you know there are 5 top rated radio stations located in Waltham? Lots of shopping, restaurants and more affordable housing for college students.

    Overall rank: 301

    Affordability: 397

    Social scene: 160

    Academic/Economic opportunites: 103

  • Quincy

    There’s so much to see and do in the City of Presidents. From cultural to entertainment. With Eastern Nazarene College in the City of Quincy, plus near by U Mass Boston in Dorchester, and Curry College and Labouré College of Healthcare in nearby Milton, Quincy is a popular spot for students to live. It’s on the Ocean and has a bustling downtown. Check out the rankings:

    Overall: #338

    Wallet Friendliness: 341

    Social Environment: 251

    Academic/Economic Opportunities: 188

    Home - Discover Quincy

    Welcome to Quincy Minutes from Boston, the City of Presidents and the birthplace of the American Dream awaits you. Quincy is the birthplace of second and sixth U.S. Presidents, John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams. Home to the Adams National Park, the United First Parish Church and Adams Crypt, Marina Bay, the largest ...

  • Brookline

    Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern are very close by the city of Brookline. There’s also Emmanuel College and Berklee College of Music not far out of the neighborhood. Fenway Park is an easy T ride. There is so much around here. Brookline borders six of Boston’s neighborhoods: Brighton, Allston, Fenway–Kenmore, Mission Hill, Jamaica Plain, and West Roxbury. Waltham Colleges aren’t far either. It’s a happening spot with all that Boston has to offer, in a quieter, more green setting. Here are the numbers:

    Overall rank: #371

    Wallet Friendliness: #414

    Social Environment: #231

    Academic/Economic Opportunities: #18

    Brookline Boston Neighborhood Guide - Compass

    Our Brookline Boston neighborhood guide helps you learn about the greenery, large estates, and family-friendly vibe of Brookline.

  • Springfield

    Springfield Massachusetts is host to quite a few popular colleges. There’s Springfield College, Western New England University, U Mass Amherst, Mount Holyoke, College of Our Lady of the Elms, Smith College and Westfield State all nearby. Springfield is home to the Basketball Hall of Fame, a world class casino, the symphony, loads of shopping and restaurants and museums and music.

    Here’s how Springfield measured up:

    Overall rank: #398

    Affordability: #203

    Social Scene: 358

    Academic/Economic Opportunities: 371

  • 12. Newton

    Lasell University is right there in Newton, MA. Boston College is in the Chestnut Hill area of Newton. Wellesley College is very near in the town of Wellesley, MA. Brandeis and Bentley are pretty close too. And Newton is such a beautiful town with so much to offer. It’s often been named one of the best places to live because of it’s public school system, restaurants and socio economic status.   The homes are gorgeous, the town is quaint and there is much to do. It’s not cheap to live here. In fact, Newton came in dead last for wallet friendliness, but here are the rankings:

    Overall: 406

    Wallet friendliness: 415

    Social environment: 291

    Academic/Economic Opportunities: 137

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