Top 10 Happiest Colleges in America

Did your college make the list? From academics to student life, find out why these 10 colleges are making students smile.

Shawna Newman

April 06, 2022

Top 10 Happiest Colleges in America
What makes a student happy at college?!
From academics to extracurriculars to campus life, these colleges know what it takes to make their students happy. Whether it’s the campus food, Greek life or the happiest students in general, this list of the 10 happiest colleges is based upon real college student ratings, as highlighted by The Princeton Review. High school juniors and seniors researching colleges, should check out these top-ranked universities. Compare the willingness to support student learning, beautiful campuses, academic programs offered, and the overall quality of life at each college to find the right fit. 1. Auburn University Location: Auburn, AL Undergraduate students: 24,594 Tuition & fees: $11,826 (in-state) and $31,986 (out-of-state)
According to The Princeton Review, students report that the typical Auburn student is friendly, would say “hello” to anyone in passing on the way to class, and would lend a hand in a time of need. The feel of campus is very welcoming and has an old, Southern small town feel. 2. Brown University Location: Providence, RI Undergraduate students: 6,670 Tuition & fees: $65,146 One student at Brown University told The Princeton Review, “Brown is generally a very happy place with many activities and events going on all the time. A great thing about these type of events is that they are rarely exclusionary and the university is trusting of its students.”
3. Claremont McKenna College Location: Claremont, California Undergraduate students: 1,414 Tuition & fees: $60,715 Students at Claremont McKenna College have dubbed themselves “the happiest students in America,” according to The Princeton Review. They attribute this happiness to their prime location in California, between the beach and the mountains, as well as to their academic offerings, faculty and staff, and career services center. 4. Clemson University Location: Clemson, South Carolina Undergraduate students: 21,653 Tuition & fees: $15,120 (in-state) and $38,112 (out-of-state)
Students love the “family atmosphere” at Clemson University. They have shared with The Princeton Review that though the school is large, it has a small town feel to it, which is only emphasized by the fact that the student body is extremely nice and polite. 5. Colby College Location: Waterville, Maine Undergraduate students: 2,100 Tuition & fees: $79,850 Colby College is home to outdoor enthusiasts, which many students say factors into their satisfaction with the school, states The Princeton Review. On weekends, students can either be found hiking or skiing, depending on the weather. On campus, students say they are heavily involved in their academics, athletics, and activities and events. 6. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering Location: Needham, Massachusetts Undergraduate students: 382 Tuition & fees: $58,110 Though students at Olin work hard, they also have a lot of fun, according to The Princeton Review. The student body has a mailing list called Carpe Diem that students can utilize to share something fun that they’re doing, in the hopes of recruiting others who might be interested. 7. Kansas State University Location: Manhattan, Kansas Undergraduate students: 6,792 Tuition & fees: $9,632 (in-state) and $25,944 (out-of-state) Students tell The Princeton Review that their university feels like a family, or a small town. The body is very community-minded, and everyone is community-minded and very proud of the university. 8. Loyola Marymount University Location: Los Angeles, California Undergraduate students: 6,999 Annual costs: $41,000 Students at Loyola Marymount University are passionate about serving others and their community, and that’s what makes them some of the happiest students, states The Princeton Review. The campus itself is the perfect size: big enough that you meet new people but small enough that you always see a friendly face on the way to class. 9. Rice University Location: Houston, Texas Undergraduate students: 4,150 Annual costs: $54,960 The Princeton Review states that Rice has some of the happiest college students in the country because of their high quality of life on campus. The students at Rice genuinely care about each other’s intellectual and emotional growth. It’s truly a collaborative environment. 10. Tulane University Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Undergraduate students: 8,549 Annual costs: $60,814 According to The Princeton Review, students at Tulane are collaborative, rather than competitive. Generally, the student body is seen as enthusiastic, spontaneous, intellectual, curious, and exciting.

Rankings in the College Admissions Process

Rankings can be a great tool in the college admissions process. They can provide students with no prior opinion on where they want to attend a jumping off point. You can search for schools by best financial aid or happiest students, finding the top schools with qualities that are most important to you. However, college rankings should also be used with a grain of salt. For instance, The Princeton Review is determined largely by student votes at those particular schools, so it is a bit biased. Essentially, it’s fine to use college rankings as part of your research, but don’t rely to heavily on the results to make your final college decision. Instead, go with your gut – or your heart or mind – after touring campuses, participating in admissions interviews, and completing overnight visits. Really getting to know a school is the best way to make an educated decision. Be smart about how you’re choosing your college – and why.

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