2017 Colleges with the Best Student Life in America

The 2017 Colleges with the Best Student Life ranking is based on student reviews and statistics from the U.S. Department of Education. Top-ranked colleges have a positive, fun, and friendly student culture and a vibrant campus community.
See how this ranking was calculated
  • National
  • By State
Viewing 1-25 of 100
  1. 1

    University of Southern California

    • Los Angeles, CA
    • 3,320 reviews
    Sophomore:I love attending the University of Southern California! The school has high caliber academics, a competitive yet fun environment for students of all majors, and a gorgeous campus. USC is a bit expensive however, hardworking students can come in with large scholarships to defray this cost. I definitely think that this experience is worth the cost of living and expenses out here and will truly pay off in the end. I have definitely met life long friends and have made unforgettable memories throughout my time here!
    More about University of Southern California
  2. 2

    University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

    • Ann Arbor, MI
    • 3,783 reviews
    Senior:The education that you receive here is definitely unbeatable. The campus is also a generally fun place to be. It is really competitive so that permeates the culture quite a bit, which I could do without. The university's commitment to diversity and inclusion is lacking, but they are making steps to change that going forward so I hope that there will be more positive steps in that area. You don't really get a sense of the local area because the campus is so large it really dominates the city of Ann Arbor. So, even when you venture out in the city a bit, it still feels like you're on campus. It's just very much a college town, so if you're into that, you'll love it!
    More about University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  3. 3

    University of Georgia

    • Athens, GA
    • 4,783 reviews
    Freshman:Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at the University of Georgia. As an undergraduate student majoring in Management Information Systems, the Terry College of Business provided multiple avenues and events to get connected to professionals in my field. In addition, the majority of my professors were very approachable and took an active interest in their students, not only in their classroom achievements, but also in their post-graduation success as well. The campus has tons of student organizations to get involved in for whatever your interests may be. There are also ample opportunities to work on campus whether it be in the dining halls, as a resident assistant, serving as a tour guide for UGA, or even as a bus driver. You read that right, students can drive the campus transit buses! For those who are big sports fans, watching the Dawgs play football on Saturday afternoons in Sanford Stadium is hard to beat. Go DAWGS!
    More about University of Georgia
  4. 4

    University of Texas - Austin

    • Austin, TX
    • 5,376 reviews
    Junior:I love being a student at the University of Texas. It is one of the most renowned public education institutions in the world, and has plenty of activities to be involved in outside of academia. There are countless clubs and organizations on campus, and the surrounding city of Austin is one the best places in the country. However, be warned: it may not be for everyone. With around 50,000+ students, the size can be intimidating to some. I personally enjoy the incredible amount of people I can meet and study with, and the size gives me a nice perspective. There is always something going on on campus; whether it's a basketball game, club fair, jam session, food stand, party - you name it - there is always something close to keep you occupied. Being a musician, living in Ausin and attending UT is the best college experience I could've asked for. Come to UT. Hook 'em Horns!
    More about University of Texas - Austin
  5. 5

    University of Wisconsin

    • Madison, WI
    • 2,823 reviews
    Freshman:There is something for everyone! The University of Wisconsin-Madison boasts a lot of offerings, not only in academics but in all sorts of opportunities from amazing athletic programs to a myriad of clubs to get into. To the sports enthusiast, UW-Madison has athletic programs in football, ice hockey, and basketball which are renowned regionally, if not also nationally. To the grade-A active student, UW-Madison is also a mecca of infinite opportunities, it is even somewhat of a challenge for any student to navigate the "Org Fair" which displays the many student organizations that are available on campus. Organizations are available for students who are the soon-to-be titans of energy and even for the ones who are almost certainly going to be the consulting executives of the future. No matter what you want to get yourself into, there is always something for you in the land of the Badgers.
    More about University of Wisconsin
  6. 6

    University of California - Los Angeles

    • Los Angeles, CA
    • 4,410 reviews
    Freshman:The first thing that comes to mind is the housing here at UCLA. I was lucky enough to receive one of the better, newer buildings, so my experience here has been great. The study and social lounges are equipped with new, comfortable furniture and lights that turn on and off depending on the amount of activity in the room it reads. The food is great. We have restaurants similar to Panda Express and Chipotle, and they are right below my building so it's not much of a walk at all!
    Additionally, there are resources all around campus that are noticeably accessible to me, such as math tutoring from fraternities/sororities, counseling programs, clubs and activities that offer social circles, essay reviewers, and so on.
    More about University of California - Los Angeles
  7. 7

    University of Virginia

    • Charlottesville, VA
    • 2,009 reviews
    Freshman:I love the University of Virginia! Grounds are beautiful, and so many interesting classes are offered. I am going to double major in music and bio/neuroscience, and there are so many options available to me. The student body is very large and so anyone can find a group of people they love and fit in with. The classes and professors are great, and I will agree that there are many reasons why UVA is highly esteemed.
    More about University of Virginia
  8. 8

    Rice University

    • Houston, TX
    • 970 reviews
    Sophomore:Rice is incredible. The people are so friendly and collaborative, and the residential college system gives you an automatic support system and built-in friends/family. While people are smart, the atmosphere is close-knit and not cutthroat, which I've come to realize is hugely important when I hear my friends at other top universities talk about the pressure and competition they suffer through. The academics aren't easy- especially the STEM programs, which are structured to be some of the most rigorous in the country, but that's why we have such a good reputation and ease with post-graduation placements. Compared to other colleges, there's a lot of freedom with social life/partying and distribution requirements. Overall, the campus is beautiful and quality of life (dorms/food/area) very high. I love Rice and wouldn't go anywhere else!
    More about Rice University
  9. 9

    Stanford University

    • Stanford, CA
    • 1,088 reviews
    Sophomore:I've really enjoyed Stanford so far.
    Academics are certainly challenging, but rewarding, and students usually aren't excessively stressed about grades.
    Professors are, for the most part, incredibly knowledgeable and care about students, but there are some (particularly those teaching intro classes) who could use some improvement.
    The local area can be a bit expensive and far away (especially without a car).
    Currently, the administration is facing a lot of criticism about the school's handling of sexual assault. It's not the best situation, but a lot of the criticism also comes from Stanford's own professors and students, so I do still feel relatively safe and supported on campus.
    More about Stanford University
  10. 10

    Virginia Tech

    • Blacksburg, VA
    • 3,398 reviews
    Junior:When it comes to Virginia Tech, I've got a simple, 3 word phrase that speaks for itself: "This is Home." I never imagine while being away for college I would ever truly feel as if I was at my 'home away from home' but Tech has proved me wrong. Although we have a large student body, everyone seems to find 'their people' which makes this place so personal. The only thing I could think to change is the diversity level; although it seems we are a very diverse campus, when you look at the numbers, it is clear that we are not. Diversity should be incorporated more into our own little culture here at Virginia Tech!
    More about Virginia Tech
  11. 11

    University of Florida

    • Gainesville, FL
    • 6,663 reviews
    Alum:The University of Florida combines a classic collegiate campus with a modern and innovative spirit. First, the UF campus is absolutely beautiful with historical brick education halls and centuries old Oak trees. New buildings on campus are built with unique and complimentary architecture and consider environmental impacts to the campus. The educational spirit on UF is one of excellence where students are trained in traditional histories of subjects but also encouraged to thing about them differently and become innovators in their subject matter. Campus life is some of the best around both on campus and in the surrounding blocks. Gainesville, Fla supports the university and provides an approachable small town college feel. And don't forget GameDay. There's nothing like a Gator game in the Swamp!
    More about University of Florida
  12. 12

    Michigan State University

    • East Lansing, MI
    • 4,892 reviews
    Junior:Michigan State is actually everything it's cracked up to be. Amazing school, outstanding faculty and so many opportunities to do what you love. There is never a time where you are not offered chanced to occupy your time, whether it be joining a club, or campus group, taking classes, or meeting new faces at campus events. The cafeterias are gourmet and filled with many options including gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options. The off campus life is also always filled with fun activities from going to see a concert, or broadway show at the Wharton Theater, to going to a local bar and getting drinks with friends. You will have an excellent experience here, no matter what your interests may be!
    More about Michigan State University
  13. 13
    College Freshman:I absolutely love my school and I wouldn't change it at all! It's probably the most stressful, hard, and demanding thing I've done up to now but that's what I love about it! It's a challenge and it really is intense but the people I've met, my friends, help me through it all and I love that! The community at MIT is amazing too, there are so many different people on campus both mainstream and off-stream(I guess that's how you say it?) but that makes everyday much better in an open and accepting campus.
    More about Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  14. 14

    Penn State

    • University Park, PA
    • 6,175 reviews
    Junior:Penn State is a great place to learn at. Typically, students can choose to go the 2+2 route which allows them to start at another campus for two years and then transfer up to University Park campus for graduation. Penn state is well known as a research school and provides students with endless resources to further their education. The professors are all professional and are passionate about what they teach. Campus life is amazing as long as you put in the effort to get involved. There are plenty of resources to get you in the zone and allow you to socialize with others, and most importantly future employers. They offer many career fairs throughout the year that is great for getting interview experience, or even internships and employment after graduation. Great place to be! We are PENN STATE!
    More about Penn State
  15. 15

    Ohio State University

    • Columbus, OH
    • 4,706 reviews
    Sophomore:Why go to Ohio State? How do I even begin?? Not only are the academics incredible, but campus feels like home. Throughout my senior year, a plethora of people would ask "but aren't you afraid you'll feel like a number?", but the answer is no, and I probably never will feel that way. As buckeyes we are all linked together. We all dislike Michigan, we all love the great state of Ohio (even if you're not from here you'll grow to love it to), and we all worked hard to get where we are. Campus is home. Beyond these facets of campus culture, nothing can describe the amazing feeling of the shoe on game day, or campus as a whole a week before the Michigan game. With all of that said, classes will push you hard and academics aren't easy. But, the professors genuinely care about your well-being. All in all, OSU has something to offer for everyone!
    More about Ohio State University
  16. 16
    Alum:UNC Chapel Hill - the name rings familiarity across the nation. A part of one of the biggest college basketball rivals, a leader in NC healthcare, and known for the specificity of "Carolina blue," UNC is a treasure. Nostalgia hits me every time I return: the campus is beautiful, the students are all on their way to achieving greatness, and the professors genuinely care about what goes on in their the students' minds. Diversity is not that high - as probably 60% of the students want to become doctors and nurses. The racial diversity is representative of the statistics in America. The culture diversity, however, is rather high and incorporating of all activities that I can think of. Overall, a fantastic institution!
    More about University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  17. 17

    Vanderbilt University

    • Nashville, TN
    • 1,156 reviews
    Sophomore:Vanderbilt is an excellent place to continue your education. It is easy to find your place at this school because the environment is amazingly friendly and welcoming. Greek life is huge here and many people get involved. The weather is usually mild and the faculty is great. The food is ranked in the country, and as a sophomore, I still enjoy it. Anchor Down! This school is not without flaws, however. The campus is pretty divided racially. There is no malice, but it is clear that intermingling between races only truly occurs in the classroom. That is one thing this school could improve.
    More about Vanderbilt University
  18. 18
    Freshman:I love this university! It is one of the best universities in the world! This prestigious university will give you so many opportunities. You will meet so many people from so many backgrounds, learn so much in classes, and be inspired every day. Dorms and dining hall food is okay. Safety is okay. There are buses that take you everywhere so don't be afraid of people saying it is a huge campus and that you have to walk a lot! This school is perfect and you will not regret choosing it! ILL-INI !
    More about University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  19. 19

    University of Pennsylvania

    • Philadelphia, PA
    • 1,106 reviews
    Graduate Student:Like any colleges, Penn has both pros and cons. As a graduate student in the School of Social Policy and Practice at Penn (Master's of Social Work), I find that the biggest strength of Penn is its wide reach of professional network, research, etc.

    The amount of resources/networking opportunities available for developing insight, experience, and others is unimaginable here at Penn. Having deep connections with all three sectors of the non-profit, for-profit, and governmental world brings its students enormous opportunities and information/knowledge to learn and grow from.

    The cons, however, is that Penn as a whole seems a bit lacking in terms of student activism and engagement. There are clubs to join. But, I rarely see them out in the quad or the walkway outreaching or being vocal about a variety of issues students are concerned with in this age and time.
    More about University of Pennsylvania
  20. 20

    Indiana University - Bloomington

    • Bloomington, IN
    • 4,053 reviews
    Junior:Bloomington, sometimes referred to as the most beautiful campus in the world, is an overall excellent university. They offer almost any major one could imagine, and if not there is a program where you can create your own! The athletics are one of a kind, with one of the most invested fan bases in the US. Bloomington is one of the best college towns, offering a wide variety of restaurants and bars near campus. Dorms and housing are similar to any campus, there are pricy options with hotel status housing, and economic housing that's much more affordable. Whatever option you choose, you are sure to become a family and make friends. Overall, this campus ranks high on all levels, from academics to athletics.
    More about Indiana University - Bloomington
  21. 21

    Washington University in St. Louis

    • Saint Louis, MO
    • 1,323 reviews
    Freshman:WUSTL is a fantastic university! I first came here because of the prestigious pre-med program, comfy dorms, yummy food, beautiful campus, and great FA. I found all of those here to be true. My experience truly has been an excellent one. Although the academics are undoubtedly challenging, it is equally rewarding.
    More about Washington University in St. Louis
  22. 22

    Yale University

    • New Haven, CT
    • 914 reviews
    Freshman:Yale managed to exceed my expectations. I originally chose Yale because of how genuine every student I met was and that perception continues to persist. I have met the most interesting and talented people while at Yale and have made some of the closest friends. One moment we'll be discussing a bio problem set, the next discussing the real solution to economic disparity, the next talking about our upbringings. While it's easy to think of Yale as a competitive college, I think that's far from the truth. I have never collaborated as much as I have at Yale. Everyone wants the best for each other and grades are not a focus. The social scene at Yale is also great. Frat parties are open to anyone for the most part and it's very easy to get integrated with Greek life members even if you aren't in it yourself. Just based off of the year I've been here, I can already say that Yale has changed me to be a more well-rounded person.
    More about Yale University
  23. 23

    Tulane University

    • New Orleans, LA
    • 1,426 reviews
    Sophomore:Tulane is an incredibly amazing place. It takes a certain person to fall in love with it. Everyone here seems to do everything- acing a test, going to an internship, working on a nonprofit project, then spending the entire night at a party or listening to music downtown, only to wake up early the next morning to run in the park or play on a sports team. You have to be excited and motivated by this high-speed lifestyle, as opposed to stressed or overwhelmed. People do it all- and well. It is a happy and dynamic student body, who is certainly going places. Most importantly, they are interested and passionate. The city is absolutely amazing... you can find anything there, especially when it comes to music! Academics are very strong, teachers, for the most part, push students very hard but positively reward hard work! Caliber differs by department for sure- with political science, English, and foreign language incredibly strong, and math less so. Unfortunately, Bruff (dining hall) sucks.
    More about Tulane University
  24. 24

    University of California - Santa Barbara

    • Santa Barbara, CA
    • 4,063 reviews
    Freshman:This school is utterly fantastic. I came here out of state and it's almost everything I expected in terms of academics and student life. This school has great programs in econ, communications, engineering, and tons more and it's generally not too stressful to handle unless it's dead week. This is the kind of campus that you just feel great being here. IV is right next door and it has some pretty great food spots and I get great vibes from the housing and students living here (I'll be moving here next year as well). Weather is chillier than I thought but it's awesome being on the beach everyday and parties by the ocean have been unforgettable. The people here are cool and unique, so you will surly find your niche here in due time. There seem to always be parties/socials going on too if you're into that! I have much more to experience in my time here but UCSB has treated me very well and I encourage anybody to at least apply here. In conclusion,come to this school; you won't regret it.
    More about University of California - Santa Barbara
  25. 25

    University of Miami

    • Coral Gables, FL
    • 2,589 reviews
    Freshman:I am a freshman at the University of Miami studying biomedical engineering and I love it! The campus is beautiful and there are so many things to get involved in. Students are all hardworking and care about each other. There are so many resources for help with classes, such as free tutoring by students. The local area is nice but you cannot really get anywhere by walking, so most students have cars. Also, not many students live on campus after freshman year. Overall, I have had a great experience so far
    More about University of Miami