Colleges

Top 10 Happiest Colleges in America

What contributes to a student’s happiness at school?

Shawna Newman

July 06, 2020

Did your college make the list? From academics to great food, find out why these 10 colleges are making students smile.
Top 10 Happiest Colleges in America
From academics to extracurriculars to social life, these USA 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 up on real college student ratings! Maybe it’s the small-town campus setting or the bustle of campus in the middle of a large city filled with possibilities...Ultimately, a United States of America college student’s end goal is to boost their quality of life. If you’re a current college student, maybe great financial aid is a university quality that makes you smile. High school students looking for colleges to add to their dream lists, could look into these top ranked universities to see if the academic programs offered fit their needs and goals. NOTE: Annual costs are based on out-of-state tuition only.

Top 10 Happiest Colleges in the Country:

  1. Auburn University
    Location: Auburn, Alabama
    Undergraduate students: 24,594
    Annual costs: $29,448
    According to The Princeton Review, Auburn “was ranked in the top 50 among public universities by the U.S. News and World Report.” Other high list rankings include the #1 for “Students Pack the Stadiums, and #6 for “Town-Gown Relations are Great.” Auburn is known as a research university and offers more than 150 undergraduate degrees. Learn more about Auburn University.
  2. Vanderbilt University
    Location: Nashville, Tennessee
    Undergraduate students: 6,886
    Annual costs: $53,086
    Students tell 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.” Learn more about Vanderbilt University.
  3. Kansas State University
    Location: Manhattan, Kansas
    Undergraduate students: 18,448
    Annual costs: $26,934
    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.
  4. Tulane University
    Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
    Undergraduate students: 8,610
    Annual costs: $58,850
    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. Students also attribute their love of Tulane to its location in New Orleans. Learn more about Tulane University.
  5. University of Oklahoma
    Location: Norman, Oklahoma
    Undergraduate students: 22,582
    Annual costs: $20,169
    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.
  6. College of William and Mary
    Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
    Undergraduate students: 6,256
    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.” Learn more about the College of William and Mary.
  7. Clemson University
    Location: Clemson, South Carolina
    Undergraduate students: 20,195
    Tuition and fees: $15,374
    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.
  8. Rice University
    Location: Houston, Texas
    Undergraduate students: 3,989
    Annual costs: $48,330
    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.
  9. University of Richmond
    Location: Richmond, Virgina
    Undergraduate students: 3,161
    Annual costs: $56,860
    Average total financial aid package: $44,044
    University of Richmond also ranks high in areas such as #2 for “Best Career Services,” #7 for “Best Classroom Experience and #5 for “Most Beautiful Campus.” Students may also attribute their happiness to the wide variety of opportunities they can connect with the campus and the local community; students can pick from more than 190 student clubs and organizations. Learn more about University of Richmond.
  10. Sacred Heart University
    Location: Fairfield, Connecticut
    Undergraduate students: 6,158
    Annual costs: $14,500
    A caring family environment is the common theme students share about Scared Heart University. The second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, The Princeton Review shares this student’s thoughts: “The entire mood here is very upbeat, gushes one Sacred Heart student, and another adds that door holding symbolizes us because we care about those around us and are very genuine people.” Learn more about Sacred Heart University.

More Ranking Lists

While you're at it, check to see if the college you’re looking into landed on Princeton Review’s Least Happy Students list.

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