Choosing the right course and university is a pivotal moment in any student’s life. Equally important is the city where the university is located. The city you choose will not only be your student home for the duration of your studies but also a significant factor in shaping your overall university experience.

While the course and quality of teaching are crucial there are other factors to consider based on what is important to you. Party animals will arguably lean closer to cities with their vibrant nightlife whereas proximity to your parent’s roast dinners may sway others. Whatever it is, here are seven essential factors every student should consider when choosing a university:

Academic Environment

By their very nature, universities boast positive academic environments, but some are better than others. Look for universities in cities with vibrant academic cultures and access to libraries, research facilities, and academic events. Is your university of choice the only one in the city? Multiple universities mean multiple collections and while you might not be able to take out books you can still gain access to libraries from other institutions.

Cost of Living

Finances play a significant role in a student’s life. How much your accommodation will cost in terms of rent is one thing, but where does the city rank for transportation, food, and other daily expenses? While some cities may offer lower tuition fees, they might have a higher cost of living, impacting your overall budget. Conduct thorough research to ensure that the city’s cost of living aligns with your financial resources.

Employment Opportunities

Paying for all the above can involve student loans and the bank of a parent, but supplanting your income with part-time work can also help. Many students seek part-time jobs or internships to support themselves financially during their studies. Evaluate the employment opportunities available in the city, including job markets, internships, and career prospects in your field of study. Choosing a university that’s in a city with a thriving economy a can provide valuable opportunities for professional development and networking.

Cultural and Recreational Activities

University life is not just about academics; it’s also about personal growth and enrichment. Look for a University in a city that offers a rich cultural scene with museums, theatres, art galleries, music venues, and other recreational activities. A vibrant cultural environment can enhance your overall university experience, providing opportunities for relaxation, socialization, and exploration beyond the classroom.


Oxford and Cambridge universities are the UK’s most famous and prized institutions, but they’re pointless to study if you’re based in the Outer Hebrides and want to come home once a month. Location therefore is hugely important for your unique needs.

Check how far it is in both a car and public transport and weigh up how much that distance will impact you. Remember being far away could be a good thing and push you out of your comfort zone – just don’t fail to consider it either way.

Quality of Life

Consider the overall quality of life in the city, including factors such as safety, healthcare, public transportation, and the nightlife. Remember you want to specifically look for student experience because a few of these ranking factors for other studies such as proximity of good schools might not be relevant. This study from Student Crowd is a good place to start.

A city that prioritises quality of life can contribute to your well-being and overall happiness during your university years. Safety is a crucial consideration, especially for international students or those moving away from home for the first time.

Diversity and Inclusivity

University is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and perspectives. Choose a city that celebrates diversity and fosters inclusivity. Look for communities and support networks that embrace people from all backgrounds and provide resources for international students, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other marginalized groups. Feeling accepted and welcomed in your university city can significantly enhance your sense of belonging and connection.

Accommodation options

The final piece of the jigsaw is arguably the most important – where you want to live. Check reviews, prices, and the breadth of options to give you an idea of what exactly is available across your stay. You might want a vibrant hall to be in as a fresher, but a shared house could be more your bag as you head to your finals.

In conclusion, choosing the right university city is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your academic, personal, and professional growth. By considering these seven essential factors – academic environment, cost of living, employment opportunities, cultural and recreational activities, quality of life, diversity and inclusivity, and networking and alumni support – you can make an informed choice that aligns with your aspirations and enhances your university experience.

Take the time to research and visit potential university cities to ensure that they meet your criteria and feel like the perfect place to call home during your academic journey. Don’t just rely on the internet too, message societies and other students currently there to get a better flavour – and do some networking in advance. Above all though make sure you have fun; these will likely be the best years of your life!

Are you a student looking for accommodation? We have several properties available to you. To find out more about our student property services, contact our team at Student Haus, our expert property team will be happy to help.