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Top 10 Happiest Colleges in America

What makes a student happy at college?!

Shawna Newman

July 02, 2021

Did your college make the list? From academics to student life, find out why these 10 colleges are making students smile.
Top 10 Happiest Colleges in America
From academics to extracurriculars to campus life, these United States colleges know what it takes to make their students happy. Check out the top 10 happiest colleges according to The Princeton Review. Whether it’s the campus food, Greek life or the happiest students in general, this list is based upon real college student ratings! If you’re a current college student, maybe great financial aid is a university quality that makes you smile. 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.

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Top 10 Happiest Colleges in the Country:

  1. Kansas State University
    Location: Manhattan, Kansas
    Undergraduate students: 18, 206
    Annual costs: $25,251
    Kansas State students told 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, stating the faculty “truly cares about teaching.” Seated in a small town, students claim it’s impossible to be bored on campus with the many activities, clubs and Greek life happenings.
  2. Vanderbilt University
    Location: Nashville, Tennessee
    Undergraduate students: 6,886
    Annual costs: $50,800
    Students told The Princeton Review that the school is a great balance in academics, social life student organizations, community services. This balance sets up an environment of learning and exploring your interests throughout college. The Princeton Review reports a student testimonial, “Besides the ‘rigorous but rewarding’ academic environment, there are many “opportunities that challenge me beyond the books.”
  3. Tulane University
    Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
    Undergraduate students: 7,700
    Annual costs: $54,766
    Students at Tulane tell The Princeton Review that they are driven and ambitious but do an excellent job of balancing both academics and social life. Students also attribute their love of Tulane to its location in New Orleans. With a strong academic focus and a diverse student body students get to learn from people with a variety of experiences and backgrounds.
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  5. College of William and Mary
    Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
    Undergraduate students: 6,236
    Annual costs: $40,089
    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 College 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.”
  6. University of Dallas
    Location: Irving, Texas
    Undergraduate students: 1,447
    Annual costs: $43,326
    A Catholic university with a ten-to-one student-to-faculty ratio, UD is known for its close and caring campus feel. Known for their “Great Books curriculum,” students work through “19 core English, philosophy and history courses.” Students are challenged academically and encouraged to experience learning via the Rome Program, where students visit key places discussed in their classroom studies.
  7. Thomas Aquinas College
    Location: Santa Paula, California
    Undergraduate students: 360
    Tuition and fees: $26,000
    A small, liberal arts school with Roman Catholic affiliation, students at this school are expected to be enlightened. Known for their set curriculum of literature that focuses on Western civilization, professors encourage deep discussions that are “intensely interesting.” Students enjoy campus traditions like frequent waltz and swing dance nights.
  8. Brown University
    Location: Providence, Rhode Island
    Undergraduate students: 6,792
    Annual costs: $60,944
    Noted for their Open Curriculum, this Ivy League university gives students the flexibility to create their own course of study. There’s also a strong focus on social action and justice at Brown. The Princeton Review adds the campus community consists of caring, brilliant people that are not only knowledgeable but inspirational. Students can expect to study, a lot, at Brown. But they also have the support of dedicated professors.
  9. Texas Christian University
    Location: Fort Worth, Texas
    Undergraduate students: 9,704
    Annual costs: $51,8570
    The Princeton Review states, “The vibe on Texas Christina University’s campus can be summed up with the phrase ‘southern hospitality.’” The TCU campus is known for its outstanding facilities and professors with industry experience. Students are learning from professionals that have real-world experience.
  10. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
    Location: Terre Haute, Indiana
    Undergraduate students: 2,168
    Annual costs: $46,641
    A small but close-knit campus makes this technical-engineering school stand out. According to The Princeton Review, there is a strong support system in place for all students. T This includes on-campus tutoring via their learning center and involved professors that care about each student.
  11. Auburn University
    Location: Auburn, Alabama
    Undergraduate students: 24,505
    Annual costs: $30,240
    According to The Princeton Review, Auburn “was ranked in the top 50 among public universities by the U.S. News and World Report.” A leading research university, 92% of Auburn alumni would “choose Auburn again.”
NOTE: Annual costs are based on out-of-state tuition only.

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