The Cities With The Most Colleges & Universities in the USA

July 29, 2021

College towns are awesome! They provide a vibrant lifestyle for the people living there. Lving near colleges and universities can also be inspiring, as you are exposed to bright young minds with big dreams. In big cities with many colleges & universities, nightlife and eating places tend to be plentiful, in order to serve the students. These cities and towns also offer plenty of cultural activities in the metro area, built up by the diverse people who live there. This blend is good for students who are excited to learn about the US and its cultures. 

During your college search, the location of your favourite schools play a major role. You will have to choose whether you want a rural or urban campus, for starters. If you think a city campus sounds enticing, another question you should ask yourself is: "Which city has the most colleges?"

City life has many benefits. It provides great healthcare, student discounts on public transportation, and at least one major airport. In case you're interested in urban perks, choosing schools in one of the biggest cities may be your best bet. 

Let's take a look at the cities in the USA with the most colleges and universities:

The University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California – 230

Which city has the most colleges and universities? There is a hands down winner: LA. About 230 colleges and universities can be found in the Greater Los Angeles area. Colleges such as the University of Southern California (USC), California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) call LA home.

Of all the colleges and universities in Los Angeles, the following are the largest with over 36,000 students each:

Even if none of these LA schools sound good to you, don't dismiss California just yet! This sunny state has 400 colleges and universities scattered across it, making California the state that has the most colleges.

New York University (NYU) in New York City

New York City, New York – 200+

NYC has more people in it than any other city in America, so it makes sense that it has a ton of colleges and universities. There are over 200 colleges and universities within a 40 km radius of NYC, and the city is therefore home to more than 1 million college students. The largest of these institutions, New York University (NYU), has nearly 50,000 students! That's not the only big school in the Big Apple, however. New York City's next largest universities also all have more than 20,000 students:

The University of Chicago in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois – 148

America’s third most populous city also has a huge collection of colleges and universities. Chicago has 148 colleges and universities within the larger metro area. So, when it lists "culture and friendliness" as two of its greatest assets, you know that the college student vibe is alive and well! There are a lot of tourist spots and restaurants, and the city enjoys an excellent reputation among graduate employers. The history of the city and its rabid sports fans also help to give Chicago a unique feel and atmosphere. These schools would be an excellent choice for anyone who is considering living and studying in the downtown area:

Boston University in Boston

Boston, Massachusetts – 118

By population, Massachusetts does not even rank among the top 20 states; however, Boston  has the fourth most colleges of any American city. At last count, 118 colleges and universities are located in the greater Boston area. Harvard University, one of the oldest and most famous colleges in the USA, and Wellesley College, an all-women's private university, are among Boston's unique colleges. 

If you want something right in the city, consider Suffolk University or Emerson College. Are you more concerned with size? Then you should look at Boston University and Harvard University, Boston's two largest universities, with approximately 32,000 and 28,700 enrolled students respectively. In addition to these colleges, there are a number of well-known institutions scattered around Boston, including:

The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 115

The sixth most populous city in the country, Philadelphia, is Pennsylvania's largest city. Famously the original home of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air (and also the birthplace of the USA's constitution), it is also one of the best college cities in the country. The city of Philadelphia has 115 universities and colleges, both public and private. Philly's blend of great colleges and incredible cultural history mean that it remains an awesome place to live - and a great place to be a sports fan, too! One of the most notable colleges in Philadelphia is the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), an Ivy League college that serves nearly 25,000 students. Philadelphia is home to a great mix of private and public universities, and therefore it has a vibrant mix of people from across the country and the world.

If you're looking to live in downtown Philly, you should consider UPenn or Drexel University. Otherwise, you have a few options in and around Philadelphia:

Along with these five cities, the US is littered with amazing college towns and cities that serve the amazing colleges and universities they host. The range of diverse cultures across the states means that any city will be a totally new experience. One thing is for sure: whatever you're looking for in a college town, the USA can provide. 

Remember, it’s always the perfect time to begin your journey towards studying at the university of your dreams. Sign up here for a free consultation with one of our recruitment experts. You could join over 300 student-athletes already placed in the USA, competing at the highest level and earning a world-class degree!


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