Top 10 Happiest Colleges in the Country
What contributes to a student’s happiness at school?
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
June 08, 2014
What contributes to a student’s happiness at school? Great academic offerings, a variety of extracurricular activities or the other students? It’s hard to gauge exactly what makes college students “happy,” but one way of determining that is to look at the freshmen retention rate, meaning how many freshmen return to that particular campus the following year.
The Daily Beast put together the list of the happiest college campuses for the current school year. Consider adding these happy places to your college search list – or tell us why your current college makes you happy.
School statistics and student opinions pulled from each university’s website (figures listed are the most recent data, mostly from the 2013 – 2014 school year) as well as The Princeton Review.
10. Kansas State University
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
Undergraduate students: 19,385
Annual costs: $19,390
Average financial aid package: $11,600
According to The Princeton Review, students describe the campus as extremely friendly, full of down-to-earth Midwesterners that are family-oriented. One student says, “It is nearly impossible to walk clear across campus without seeing a friendly face.”
Learn more about Kansas State University.
9. The University of Texas at Austin
Location: Austin, Texas
Undergraduate students: 38,463
Annual costs: $21,152
Average total financial aid package: $12,427
Students at The University of Texas at Austin told the Princeton Review that everyone loves the school because of its diversity. A student stated, “Because of the huge Greek life at UT, a ‘typical student’ would be a sorority girl or fraternity boy, but are hardly the majority, since UT is actually made of more ‘atypical’ people than most other schools. Everyone here has his own niche, and I could not think of any type of individual who would not be able to find one of his own.”
Learn more about The University of Texas at Austin.
8. University of Georgia
Location: Athens, Georgia
Undergraduate students: 26,215
Annual costs: $17,274
Average total financial aid package: $11,169
In an interview with The Princeton Review, one student sums up campus life as such: “There are a great number of atypical students in the liberal arts, which creates a unique and exciting student body with greatly contrasting opinions.”
Learn more about University of Georgia.
7. Brigham-Young University – Provo
Location: Prove, Utah
Undergraduate students: 27,978
Annual costs: $16,950
Average total financial aid package: $7,082
According to The Princeton Review, Brigham-Young University students say: “Students are smart and very confident in their intelligence, as well as hardworking and goal-oriented.
Learn more about the Brigham-Young University.
6. University of Florida
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Undergraduate students: 32,776
Annual costs: $15,513
Average total financial aid package: $12,673
University of Florida students tell The Princeton Review that their campus feels like home: “We’re students? I thought we were all part of one big family!”
Learn more about University of Florida.
5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Undergraduate students: 18,579
Annual costs: $53,044
Average financial aid package: $52,915
A student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told The Princeton Review said, “UNC seeks students whose academic background, professional experience and leadership abilities meet the rigorous demands of our top-ranked programs.”
Learn more about University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
4. Florida State University
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Undergraduate students: 32,528
Annual costs: $14,552
Average total financial aid package: $9,033
A student at Florida State University told The Princeton Review, “No matter what their background, every FSU student has “a colossal amount of school spirit and loves to go out and support the team.”
Learn more about Florida State University.
3. University of Wisconsin
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Undergraduate students: 28,897
Annual costs: $18,077
Average financial aid package: $12,718
Students share with The Princeton Review that at the University of Wisconsin “Students don’t really have to try to fit in at Madison because there’s a niche for everyone. In fact, at Madison, the only thing that runs the same through each student is a drive to succeed, a passion to learn, and a love of Bucky!”
Learn more about University of Wisconsin.
2. Stanford University
Location: Stanford, California
Undergraduate students: 7,081
Annual costs: $57,815
Average aid award: $42,852
One student describes Stanford University students as such: “The jock is doing better than you in chemistry, [and] the cute party animal is double-majoring and president of an activist group. I guess the thing that unites us is that we’re all nerds, even if it’s not the first thing you see.”
Learn more about Stanford University.
1. Texas A&M University
Location: College Station, Texas
Undergraduate students: 44,570
Annual costs: $13,746
Average financial aid package: $15,188
Students at the happiest college in the country told The Princeton Review that, “While it’s a big school, “a lot of classes are pretty small, so it’s easy to make friends in class.” There are “no pretenses” among Aggies, and “Everyone shows who they are.” “Most of the people I have met here are truly genuine individuals.”
Learn more about Texas A&M University.
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