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Colleges with the best student life in every state

  • Colleges with the best student life in every state

    Picking the right university can be a complex web of wants and needs: academic rigor and a vivacious social life; plenty of space to find yourself, but the intimacy of a small classroom. Finding a college that has it all may seem like an insurmountable task. The tug-of-war often feels like it has nothing to do with the students, and is instead wrapped up in a longstanding competition between universities.

    This approach can and does leave students behind. As college admissions become more competitive, some students end up chasing a brand name that doesn't have the student support services to help them once they arrive. Loneliness in college is becoming a wider concern, doctors are diagnosing more undergrads with depression and anxiety and those without diagnoses find themselves help seeking help for similar symptoms. While having a strong social sphere won't cure clinical depression or make every student less lonely during college, a vibrant, connected, happy campus can only bring good things to the students in attendance.

    Everyone has a different opinion of what makes “a good college experience.” So when it comes to figuring out the answer, who better to turn to than the students themselves?

    Stacker has compiled a list of colleges with the best student life, using data provided by Niche, which creates rankings based on a combination of student polls and statistics from the U.S. Department of Education. Both the polls and stats reflect the criteria that help make sense of “student life”—school athletics, facilities, diversity, safety, access to nightlife, and more—and take into account the practical details as well, such as class size, and tuition or enrollment fees per-year. But all of this data reflects just how broad those elements are. For every Harvard, there is a Harvard for, say, mechanical engineering: Universities know how to sell a school. But to find out who does the college experience right, look to the kids; they are the future.

    You may also like: 50 best public colleges ranked from least to most expensive

  • Alabama: University of Alabama

    - Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
    - Overall Niche grade: A
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #26)
    - Acceptance rate: 53%
    - Net price per year: $19,993
    - Student body size: 29,923 undergrads

    The University of Alabama is considered the #2 college in the country when it comes to athletics, the #5 college for Greek life, and #12 for general partying. On the flip side, the university also boasts the only publicly supported law school in the state.

  • Alaska: Alaska Pacific University

    - Location: Anchorage, AK
    - Overall Niche grade: B
    - Student life grade: C+ (Overall student life rank: N/A)
    - Acceptance rate: 86%
    - Net price per year: $17,866
    - Student body size: 203 undergrads

    This tiny Christian school in the Last Frontier bests its in-state rivals with a higher Niche grade and slightly better student-life grade. Primarily a commuter school for Anchorage residents, students study liberal arts and humanities, business, and parks, recreation, and leisure studies.

  • Arizona: Arizona State University

    - Location: Tempe, AZ
    - Overall Niche grade: A
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #69)
    - Acceptance rate: 84%
    - Net price per year: $12,947
    - Student body size: 38,814 undergrads

    Niche ranks ASU as the #1 university in Arizona with an overall grade of A. It cleaned up across the board with only two criteria falling short of an A grade: dorms and safety. ASU also cracked the top 10 in the following Niche rankings: Best College Athletics in America (#47), Best Big Colleges in America (#48), and Top Public Universities in America (#50).

  • Arkansas: University of Arkansas

    - Location: Fayetteville, AR
    - Overall Niche grade: A
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #66)
    - Acceptance rate: 66%
    - Net price per year: $15,966
    - Student body size: 20,464 undergrads

    The University of Arkansas was recognized by the Carnegie Foundation as the university with the highest level of research activity in the country. The university is also known for its deep ties to the history of Greek life on campus, which includes the founding chapter of the Chi Omega sorority as well as the largest fraternity chapter in the country: Kappa Sigma.

  • California: University of California—Los Angeles

    - Location: Los Angeles, CA
    - Overall Niche grade: A+
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #4)
    - Acceptance rate: 16%
    - Net price per year: $14,760
    - Student body size: 30,458 undergrads

    UCLA cleaned up in the Niche rankings, earning an overall A+ grade and reaching #3 in the Top Universities of America. The Pac-12 university also sits at #2 for the Best College Campuses in America and Best College Food in America. The over-30,000 undergraduate student body studies political science and government, economics, and psychology.

  • Colorado: University of Colorado—Boulder

    - Location: Boulder, CO
    - Overall Niche grade: A
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #71)
    - Acceptance rate: 80%
    - Net price per year: $20,323
    - Student body size: 26,977 undergrads

    The largest university in the Rocky Mountain region, UC-Boulder boasts strong Niche ratings across the board, including A grades in every area but dorms and safety. Ranked #2 by Niche in Top Public Universities in Colorado, the school also scored well in the Best College Campuses in America (#22), Top Party Schools in America (#28), and Best College Food in America (#41). Popular undergraduate degrees include business, psychology, and communications.

  • Connecticut: Yale University

    - Location: New Haven, CT
    - Overall Niche grade: A+
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #15)
    - Acceptance rate: 7%
    - Net price per year: $18,053
    - Student body size: 5,743 undergrads

    Yale University hardly needs an introduction, but it should be said in any case that the third-oldest college in the United States houses some of the best programs in the country. Its professors are consistently top-ranked on Niche, and the school has the best psychology, history and international relations programs in the United States.

  • Delaware: University of Delaware

    - Location: Newark, DE
    - Overall Niche grade: A
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #63)
    - Acceptance rate: 63%
    - Net price per year: $16,286
    - Student body size: 18,195 undergrads

    UD is the largest university in Delaware, and one of the top 50 best public universities in the country. Though the university is one of the oldest in the nation, the school was not identified as an establishment for higher learning until 1833. Its inaugural class included 10 graduates, three of whom—George Read, Thomas McKean, James Smith—went on to sign the Declaration of Independence.

  • District of Columbia: Georgetown University

    - Location: Washington, D.C.
    - Overall Niche grade: A+
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #43)
    - Acceptance rate: 16%
    - Net price per year: $27,420
    - Student body size: 6,987 undergrads

    Washington D.C.'s preeminent university, Georgetown earned its A+ grade despite lagging in food, dorms, and safety. Ranked #2 in Best Catholic Colleges in America, Georgetown is #1 in Best Colleges for International Relations in America and #2 in Best Colleges for Accounting and Finance in America. Political science and government, international relations, and finance are top majors, and alumni earn a staggering starting salary of $65,200.

  • Florida: University of Florida

    - Location: Gainesville, FL
    - Overall Niche grade: A+
    - Student life grade: A+ (Overall student life rank: #13)
    - Acceptance rate: 42%
    - Net price per year: $15,283
    - Student body size: 31,384 undergrads

    The University of Florida is ranked by students as housing the best athletics program in the country, and one of the top five best universities for student-athletes. Academically, it has developed one of the best criminal justice programs in America, continually ranking among the top 10. In 2018, University of Florida tied for the ninth best public university in the country in U.S. News' rankings.

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