Top 10 Happiest Colleges in the Country
What contributes to a student’s happiness at school?
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
July 12, 2019
Happiness to a college student may come in the form of cancelled classes on Friday afternoon, free pizza just for coming to an informational session or cuddles from companion puppies during finals week. But being a college that’s known for having the happiest students is so much more than that. From academics to extracurriculars to social life, these colleges know what it takes to make their students happy. Check out the top 10 happiest colleges according to The Princeton Review. NOTE: Annual costs include tuition, fees and room and board.
Top 10 Happiest Colleges in the Country:
- Brown University Location: Providence, Rhode Island Undergraduate students: 7,043 Annual costs: $73,836 Average financial aid package: $49,256 Students at the Brown University tell The Princeton Review that while the week is filled with “countless hours of study,” the weekends are for relaxing and socializing. In addition to house parties and going out in downtown Providence, students are able to take advantage of movie screenings, theater and improv and dance performances throughout the weekend. Brown provides a great balance between work and play. Learn more about Brown University.
- Colby College Location: Waterville, Maine Undergraduate students: 1,879 Annual costs: $69,400 Average financial aid package: $53,497 Students tell The Princeton Review that the school is supportive of its students, providing all of the necessary resources to thrive academically and socially. Professors push students out of their comfort zone but in a positive way – through hands-on learning and research. Finally, a reliable alumni network ensures that students feel connected after graduation. Learn more about Colby College.
- Kansas State University Location: Manhattan, Kansas Undergraduate students: 19,472 Annual costs: $18,430 (in-state) and $32,900 (out-of-state) Average total financial aid package: $4,468 Kansas State students tell The Princeton Review that the campus has a very inclusive feel, and a lot of that has to do with the investment made in freshmen students as well as the professors. One student shares that K-State’s professors commit beyond the classroom: “Not only are they catalysts for my learning, they push me as a person and always give me the support I need in the most genuine way.” Learn more about Kansas State University.
- Clemson University Location: Clemson, South Carolina Undergraduate students: 18,016 Tuition and fees: $7,485 (in-state) and $18,362 (out-of-state) Average financial aid package: $10,967 Set in the picturesque South, Clemson attracts students looking for academic rigor and a strong sense of community. It’s also one of the most selective public research universities in the country. Students spend their Saturdays in “Death Valley” cheering on their beloved Clemson Tigers along with 80,000 other fans. Learn more about Clemson University.
- Saint Anselm College Location: Manchester, New Hampshire Undergraduate students: 1,930 Annual costs: $56,550 Average financial aid package: $26,486 Saint Anselm boasts over 60 student organizations and 20 varsity athletic teams. The campus also houses a performing arts center and art gallery. With that, there are plenty of ways for students to get involved on the campus community. It’s also minutes from downtown Manchester, which has great restaurants, coffee shops, a theater, a museum and several sporting venues. Learn more about Saint Anselm College.
- Rice University Location: Houston, Texas Undergraduate students: 3,893 Annual costs: $67,102 Average total financial aid package: $44,044 Students at Rice attribute their happiness to the inclusivity at Rice. They say, “People are free to do whatever they want with whoever they want.” “On any given Friday night you might find various religious organizations meeting, a group of friends playing board games in the commons space, a crowd of people heading to a party, and a carload of students heading off-campus to see a movie.” Learn more about Rice University.
- Tulane University Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Undergraduate students: 6,377 Annual costs: $64,860 Average financial aid package: $34,434 Student at Tulane tell The Princeton Review that they are driven and ambitious but do an excellent job of balancing both academics and social life. Student also attribute their love of Tulane to its location in New Orleans. Learn more about Tulane University.
- Vanderbilt University Location: Nashville, Tennessee Undergraduate students: 6,871 Annual costs: $73,148 Average aid award: $49,614 Between the Greek system, university-sponsored events and the nightlife in Nashville, there is always something going on. Of the campus itself, students told The Princeton Review that the social life is “extremely fun and inclusive.” Students are supportive of one another. One student states that the there is an “atmosphere of individual achievement instead of competition. The students are academic…but at the same time they are not ’showy’ about it.” They’re also involved elsewhere. Students say, “Everyone takes academics seriously, but everyone has other interests, too. No one is just a student. Everyone is involved in something.” Learn more about Vanderbilt University.
- University of Oklahoma Location: Norman, Oklahoma Undergraduate students: 22,436 Annual costs: $24,007 (in-state) and $39,388 Average total financial aid package: $6,569 Students spend weekends in the fall cheering on the university football team, and when there’s not an athletic event, there’s something else to keep students entertained on campus. They also say that the student body is very considerate, caring deeply about one another as well as the community surrounding the campus as they devote an entire weekend to service projects and opportunities around Norman. Learn more about the University of Oklahoma.
- College of William and Mary Location: Williamsburg, Virginia Undergraduate students: 6,276 Annual costs: $36,554 (in-state) and $59,780 (out-of-state) Average financial aid package: $19,108 Finally, the College of William and Mary has been acknowledged as the happiest college campus in the country. Known as a “Public Ivy,” William and Mary is said to host a campus community that is academically quick and dynamic. Students told The Princeton Review that the community is “extremely close knit and supportive,” and “everyone has something, usually obscure, that they’re extremely passionate about.” Learn more about the College of William and Mary.