Paris topped a list of best student cities by Quacquarelli Symonds, the British global university ranking agency, on Tuesday. Seoul came 23rd out of 98.
The Best Student Cities Ranking 2012 is the first of its kind. When choosing a university, students take into account factors such as the quality of living, consumer prices and job environment as well as the university itself, it said.
It assessed 98 cities which satisfied two criteria -- a population of over 250,000 being home to at least two institutions among the top 700 universities in the QS World University Rankings.
It considered five categories: rankings (a collective performance of a city's universities in the QS World University Rankings); student mix (number of students and proportion of foreign students); quality of living (based on the Mercer Quality of Living 2011); employer activity (measurement of domestic and international employer popularity); and affordability (measurement of tuition fees, retail prices and living costs).
Seoul ranked higher than Beijing (28th) or Shanghai (39th), mainly because 10 universities here are listed in the QS World University Rankings 2011. Singapore (12th) has two top universities while Hong Kong (19th) has six.
Seoul received a high 82 points out of 100 in the category of employer activity because many big conglomerates have their headquarters here, but it scored as poorly with 50 points as Beijing and Taipei in terms of quality of living.
European cities ranked high, with London second, Vienna fifth and Zurich seventh. Paris scored 96 points for employer activity, where London scored 89 points. London also has 12 highly ranked universities and colleges, including Imperial College.