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

May 05, 2023

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. Tulane University

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana Undergraduate students: 7,350 Annual costs: $58,666 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.

2. Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, Tennessee Undergraduate students: 6,886 Annual costs: $50,800
Students at Vanderbilt have told The Princeton Review that the school can be summed up with one word: “balance.” They appreciate the "top academics, vibrant social life, student organizations, community service, SEC football, and the city of Nashville."

3. Auburn University

Location: Auburn, Alabama Undergraduate students: 24,931 Tuition & fees: $10,080 (in-state) and $30,240 (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.

4. Kansas State University

Location: Manhattan, Kansas Undergraduate students: 15,046 Tuition & fees: $9,489 (in-state) and $25,560 (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.

5. Texas Christian University

Location: Fort Worth, Texas Undergraduate students: 10,523 Tuition & fees: $57,130 Students have said, TCU is full of "engaged, generally extroverted individuals who are optimistic about their potential to change the world,” as stated on The Princeton Review. The school provides a warm, welcoming environment that can only be described as “southern hospitality.”

6. University of Dallas

Location: Irving, Texas Undergraduate students: 1,453 Tuition: $47,300 According to The Princeton Review, the University of Dallas has a very studious student body. However, they also know how to have fun when they’re not in the library. The school offers events at the campus bar and grill, QuizBowl nights, and daily Mass.

7. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Location: Terre Haute, Indiana Undergraduate students: 2,168 Tuition: $46,641 There’s no better way to sum up Rose-Hulman than with a quote from one of their students to The Princeton Review: "The kids who attend Rose-Hulman are smart, dedicated, and consequently, nerds," but "this is not a negative thing. Within the students here, there are no outcasts, and even our athletes are most likely also mathletes."

8. Thomas Aquinas College

Location: Santa Paula, California Undergraduate students: 355 Tuition & fees: $28,700 Students at Thomas Aquinas College love the culture created through a small student body. They tell The Princeton Review that "each individual is a relevant member of the community” and “students take pride in the "culture of casual kindnesses."

9. William & Mary

Location: Williamsburg, Virginia Undergraduate students: 6,797 Tuition & fees: $17,434 (in-state) and $40,089 (out-of-state) There is an energy to William & Mary, students tell The Princeton Review. They say that the student body is "excited about their involvements, however niche their interests may be,” which “bubbles over into the social fabric of the school where most everyone is "open to being friends with anyone."

10. Brown University

Location: Providence, RI Undergraduate students: 7,639 Tuition & fees: $65,656 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.

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.

Join Fastweb.
Match Instantly.

Become a member and gain exclusive access to our database of over 1.5 million scholarships.

I am a:
Parents: Complete the questions using your child's information
Please select a grade level
Please enter a valid zip code.

By clicking, I agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.