"Clemson University is an American public, coeducational, land-grant and sea-grant research university located in Clemson, South Carolina, United States:"

There is something special about a college town. While I attended a school in a pretty big city (Go Wolfpack!) there is still something special about a college town. And I do feel that in the immediate area of the school I still got that feel. That being said I think of a true college town as being a town built around a University. The school is a huge part of the economy and is the heartbeat of the town. The town should also be synonymous with the university. These schools often, though not always should have a major college sports presence that is evident in the town and makes for a unique gameday atmosphere. So when I saw that South Carolina had a town make the Best College Towns In America list I had a pretty good idea of which University it was.

And I was correct. While the North Carolina town left me surprised, South Carolina’s makes perfect sense. While the vast majority of this list left me scratching my head, this town embodies what I believe a college town to be. Outside of three, maybe four towns, I wouldn’t consider those on this list to fit my definition of a college town- at all. It was created by Preply and they ranked the cities based on three main metrics: wallet friendliness, social environment, and economic opportunities. So that does explain the rankings a little bit.


Wallet Friendliness Included:

Meal, inexpensive restaurant (1 person)
Fitness club, monthly fee (1 person)
Rent per month for apartment (1 bedroom) in city center
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)

Social Environment (this is the one metric I most likely would have kept):

Diversity, percentage of foreign born residents
Cafes per capita
Parks per capita
Nightlife per capita
Crime rate

Economic Opportunities:

Average monthly net salary (after tax)
Unemployment rate
Employment rate
Buy apartment price

Interested to see which South Carolina town is featured as one of the best college towns in America? Keep reading to see the 10 ten. Read the full study here.

  • Best College Towns In America

    *According to Preply

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Ann Arbor, Michigan home of the Michigan Wolverines is first on the list. The article highlights “The Diag”, festivals such as the African American Downtown Festival and the Jewish Book Festival. The town is home to many immigrants making it a destination for those who love ethnic cuisine.

    Colleges: University of Michigan, Cleary University, Concordia University Ann Arbor, Cooley Law School

  • 2. St. Charles, Missouri

    This is not one of the college towns that first come to my mind. Perhaps it’s my lifetime of living in the south or the lack of a major college football team in the area that has me unfamiliar with St. Charles. It sits across the Missouri River from St. Louis and has several festivals including St. Charles Oktoberfest and the Festival of the Little Hills. While the town looks like a nice, quaint town that I would enjoy visiting I’m a little confused by its place on this list. I’m just not seeing the “college” part of the college town.

    Colleges: Lindenwood University, Lewis & Clark Career Center, St. Charles Community College

  • 3. Newark, Delaware

    This is another headscratcher, but again it’s not an area I am familiar with. Though there is a larger college in this town lending it more (in my opinion) to the higher ranking. The town is made up of around 32,000 people an hour from Wilmington and about 10 minutes from Maryland. It offers many opportunities for nature lovers including White Creek State Park, the University of Delaware Botanical Gardens, and Middle Run Valley Natural Area.

    College: University of Delaware

  • 4. La Crosse, Wisconsin

    This eastern Wisconsin town boasts outdoor activities such as hiking, and plenty of performing arts opportunities.

    College: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, Western Technical

  • 5. Grand Forks, North Dakota

    Grand Forks is well known for the Airforce Base and corresponding Aerospace Sciences program at the University of North Dakota. The town is also proud of its vibrant culture, community parks, an indoor waterpark, and outdoor activities on the Red River.

    College: University of North Dakota, Northland Community & Technical College (East Grand Forks)

  • 6. Rochester, Minnesota

    You may know Rochester as the home of the Mayo Clinic but it also is home to IBM’s Rochester research center known as the “Big Blue Zoo”. It also features a memorable Ear of Corn Wate Tower. There are also plenty of activities to participate in at places including at Silver Lake Park, the Gagnon Museum, and Rochester Recreation Center.

    Colleges: University of Minnesota Rochester, Winona State University Rochester, Rochester Community and Technical College, Augsburg University, College of St. Scholastica, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

  • 7. Clemson, SC

    Representing the Palmetto State on this list is Clemson. Now, this is more what I’m thinking of when I personally think of “college towns”. And that comes from someone who adamantly cheers against the Tigers (at least in football). This town of 14,000 is southwest of Greenville, SC. It is located between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Hartwell. The town (originally called Calhoun) was even renamed less than 60 years after its founding to reflect the name of the University.

    College: Clemson University

  • 8. West Lafayette, Indiana

    West Lafayette also lives up to what I perceive to be a college town. It was founded by combining three towns around Purdue University. It offers opportunities to learn about the city’s French heritage at Fort Ouiatenon.

    College: Purdue University

  • 9. Asheville, North Carolina

    Did this surprise you as much as it did me? I love Asheville and even spent many weekends visiting a friend’s sibling at UNC Asheville. But I definitely don’t consider it a “college town”. The location is incredibly nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the French Broad River. Downtown is full of culture and arts and breweries abound. And of course, there is Biltmore Estate. But a top 10 college town in America? If they hadn’t already lost me before they certainly would have here. It deserves to be on a top town list just not this one in my opinion.

    College: University of North Carolina at Asheville

  • 10. Auburn, Alabama

    Another Tiger Town college town makes the list this time in Auburn, Alabama. This is another one I feel embodies the aspect of a college town. The town even in it’s early days was known for the educational opportunities which continue today through Auburn University. The town is full of traditions surrounding the University including the tradition of Toomer’s Corner.

    College: Auburn University

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