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These rankings are based on academic environment (student diversity, student concentration, research capacity, and degree attainment), quality of life (arts and leisure, city accessibility, creative class, and cost of living), and professional opportunity (earning potential, entrepreneurial activity, unemployment, and brain gain or drain). Major cities are defined as areas with populations greater than 2,500,000.

List produced by the Experts

  • 1. Boston, MA
  • 2. New York City, NY
  • 3. San Francisco, CA
  • 4. Washington, DC
  • 5. Atlanta, GA
  • 6. Chicago, IL
  • 7. Seattle, WA
  • 8. Baltimore, MD
  • 9. Los Angeles, CA
  • 10. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • 11. Houston, TX
  • 12. Philadelphia, PA
  • 13. San Diego, CA
  • 14. Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
  • 15. Detroit, MI
  • 16. Cleveland/Akron, OH
  • 17. St. Louis, MO
  • 18. Miami, FL
  • 19. Phoenix, AZ
  • 20. Tampa, FL
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Source: "Using 12 specific and measurable metrics, CDI researchers analyzed data on more than 290 U.S. metropolitan areas to identify those regions that provide . . . resources best suited to the needs and priorities of today's college students." The 2007-2008 College Destinations Index. Copyright 2007, Collegia. Reprinted with permission.

Want more information on how this list was compiled? Find out more here.

* Highlighted schools are featured