Top 10 Happiest Colleges in the Country

What contributes to a student’s happiness at school?

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

July 12, 2019

Top 10 Happiest Colleges in the Country
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:

10. 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. 9. 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. 8. 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. 7. 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. 6. 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. 5. 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. 4. 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. 3. 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. 2. 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. 1. 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.

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