Which Colleges Have The Happiest Students?

Maybe good weather isn’t as important as we thought. The happiest college students in the country are spread out everywhere, in a regions across the East, West, Midwest, and South.

Every year, The Princeton Review compiles a list of colleges with the happiest students. They send surveys to almost 400 schools across the country, asking the question, “Overall, how happy are you?” The results are all over the place for some schools, and pretty steady at others. Consistently at the top are Vanderbilt University, Rice University, Virginia Tech, Kansas State University, the University of California-Santa Barbara, Claremont McKenna College, and Clemson University.

In 2014, Vanderbilt released an article on their website addressing why their students are so happy. They chalked it up to five things: a good balance between academics and life outside the classroom, affordability, a non-competitive academic community, diversity, and the charms of the city of Nashville.

If personal happiness is important to you, and you’re in the process of picking a college, you may want to check out the schools on this list. Poets&Quants has compiled the most recent Princeton Review “Happiest Students” lists below.

Ranking The ‘Happiest Students’ From 2014 to 2017

2017 Rank & School2017 Rank2016 Rank2015 Rank2014 Rank
Rice University1962
Vanderbilt University2118
University of Dayton36NRNR
Auburn University41120NR
University of Iowa5NRNRNR
Kansas State University6476
Virginia Tech7257
University of California – Santa Barbara812135
Colby College919NRNR
Claremont McKenna College10321
Clemson University117312
St. Mary’s College of Maryland125NRNR
The College of New Jersey13NRNRNR
University of Vermont14NRNRNR
University of Oklahoma15NRNRNR
The College of William & Mary16NRNRNR
Lake Forest College17NRNRNR
Rhodes College18NRNRNR
Worcester Polytechnic Institute19NRNRNR
Saint Anselm College20NRNRNR
Whitman CollegeNR81113
Tulane UniversityNR1044
Yale UniversityNR131414
Washington State UniversityNR14NRNR
Southern Methodist UniversityNR15NR17
Washington CollegeNR16NRNR
Loyola Marymount UniversityNR17NR15
Middlebury CollegeNR18NRNR
Gettysburg CollegeNR20NRNR
Bowdoin CollegeNRNR810
Vassar CollegeNRNR9NR
Hillsdale CollegeNRNR103
The College of IdahoNRNR12NR
Wheaton College (IL)NRNR15NR
Wesleyan UniversityNRNR1616
Pomona CollegeNRNR17NR
Washington University in St. LouisNRNR189
Franklin W. Olin College of EngineeringNRNR19NR
Thomas Aquinas CollegeNRNRNR11
Ohio University – AthensNRNRNR18
University of Southern CaliforniaNRNRNR19
University of MississippiNRNRNR20

Source: The Princeton Review