The Top 15 Colleges with the Best Student Life

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Whether you’re just about to enter college or planning to shift and transfer to a different school, you probably have a checklist to consider before finally enrolling in a college or university. That’s understandable as there are undoubtedly many factors to consider when deciding which educational community to join!

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Related Article: The Best Colleges with Amazing Dorm Life

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Let us help you find the best school program that fits your educational requirements for starting a new career, a job promotion, or simply meeting your personal goals. Our researchers at utilize these indicators of excellent academic standards to locate exceptional school programs designed just for you, including the best student life experience.

The following schools are listed in random order. As each and every school displays its own unique qualities and strengths, you should search our list based on your needs and career aspirations.

The following factors were considered: 

  • Offers on-campus or hybrid classes for flexible or convenient attendance without compromising hands-on training,
  • Exhibits rigorous, yet engaging and innovative training in the coursework that takes into account the readiness of students in taking the next step to their budding career, as well as provides you with the best on-campus student life experiences through extracurricular activities and the like,
  • Taught by outstanding faculty consisting of experts in the fields,
  • Held in high esteem among academic agencies, industry organizations, and journalistic resources,
  • Displays stellar reviews and feedback from school alumni and students,
  • Offers a convenient application process,
  • Provides exceptional Student Career Centers, Resource Departments, and easy-to-use Learning Management Systems, where applicable, 
  • Provides Student Activity Centers for downtime,
  • Permits a wide range of scholarships, grants, and other financial support programs for eligible students,
  • Ensures the proper Accreditation in accordance with academic standards in all fields.

If you would like to learn more about our selection process, feel free to see our Methodology page! 

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University of Southern California

University of Southern California

A leading private research institution, the University of Southern California is one of the best in the world. They offer diverse programs and boast their programs in arts, international business, and technology. It is located in Los Angeles and offers extensive interdisciplinary study opportunities and collaborative learning within a highly advanced facility. 

Enabling students to join in many related scholarly endeavors demonstrates the university’s goal to become a global hub in innovative interdisciplinary research. If you’re seriously driven to follow your dreams, this university perfectly fits your goals. A wide range of primary and applied research is conducted at the university, and it has a high degree of social relevance.

Participating in the creation of knowledge is an integral part of USC’s academic experience. There will be opportunities for you to lead or create research and investigation on unique studies that haven’t been explored yet. Students at USC have plenty of opportunities outside of formal majors and minors.

Your student life in this college will be full of events and communities to join. As a freshman Trojan student, you can experience this residential college and foster success throughout your stay at the university. Your schoolmates welcome you with warm smiles, and everyone’s willing to lend a hand. The USC Village provides a unique experience for college students who want to enjoy the most out of their higher education journey.

Yale University

Yale University

Considered as the center for campus life, Yale University prepares the Office Of International Students and Scholars. This is where you get information and resources about the different programs they offer. Take advantage of the tours provided so you can get a glimpse of what it’s like to study at Yale. Students at Yale are involved in a wide range of student activities.

Expect to be provided with numerous organizations and communities to join when you enroll in this institution. In addition to many international or national organizations, there are multiple groups centered on a cause or a particular interest. Whatever field of interest you have, there will always be something in store for you at Yale. 

A Yale education is a part of a community where people from many nationalities and cultures live, study, work, and play together. Individual differences and similarities enrich each other. There are many opportunities for leadership in extracurricular activities, but there is also a strict requirement of distributional courses that draw serious scholars and future societal leaders. Imagine students at Yale as hardworking, multi-talented, future leaders just like how others imagined they would be.

They offer MBA admissions consultants who can help you join Yale’s leadership team. The university provides services and opportunities to support its community members’ mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, with various interests, talents, and vocations.

Indiana University – Bloomington

Indiana University – Bloomington

A large university like IU can provide you with experiences that only they can provide, with advisors and faculty who can offer you personal support. And they’re not just simply advisors and school staff; they’re award-winners, proactive contributors to society, and leaders in organizations.

As one of the country’s most beautiful campuses, Indiana University allows students to pick and choose among hundreds of majors and minors to find the perfect path for them. It’s time for you to pursue your college life at Indiana University.

More than 750 student organizations, more than 20 learning communities, and six cultural centers and institutes are available at IU. You can always choose a family in this school; whatever checklist or standards you have when trying to select a community, you’ll be able to find where you belong at IU. The broad range of interests and perspectives you discover on their campus will open up a world of possibilities for you to learn about other interests, views, and cultures.

A hands-on approach and high-impact experiences give IU students a head start on their career exploration. They have nearly 2,000 employers and business owners who visit the campus every year, as well as career centers, career fairs, and job fairs to help you connect with employers.

The University of Indiana’s experience goes far beyond academic excellence. Hoosiers come from all over the world, forming a vibrant community. As a result, you will learn how to grow and gain the skills and experiences you need. If you are passionate about modeling or martial arts, comedy or theaters, sports, or environmental studies, the campus and city have plenty of opportunities for you. Additionally, you will build your resume, develop your leadership skills, engage in meaningful work, and meet other like-minded individuals.

University of Georgia

University of Georgia

Having both land-grant and sea-grant responsibilities, the University of Georgia is the oldest, most comprehensive, and the most diversified university in the state. The University of Georgia strives to prepare the whole community and Georgia’s state for full social and economic participation in the twenty-first-century global society.

Feel free to join their community of young leaders as they pioneer growth and innovation. The organization fosters cultural understanding and respect through its programs and practices, leading to enlightened and educated diverse citizens. In addition, faculty, staff, and students are racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse. To enhance the University community’s appreciation of the critical importance of a healthy environment in an interdependent society, the university focuses on teaching the value of a quality environment. 

The main campus spanning 762 acres includes 465 buildings at the University of Georgia. Located in the city’s historic downtown, the university has a wide selection of boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues to its north. Considering UGA is Georgia’s flagship institution, it has the first duty of educating the state’s students, and about 82 percent of the university’s students reside in Georgia.

However, international students are also expanding. Graduating high school students increasingly choose UGA due to its academic strength and moderate costs. UGA has the tenth most undergraduate students studying abroad compared to the twenty largest research universities within the United States.

About 1,200 undergraduates participate in over 80 study-abroad programs each year in countries across the globe. The University of Georgia’s athletic program has snagged 40 national titles between 1980 and 2015, and it typically ranks among the best in the country.

Harvard University

Harvard University

As a global leader in many disciplines, Harvard University aims to develop outstanding teachers, learners, and researchers. Based in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University has over 20,000 degree-seeking students, including undergraduates, graduate students, and professional students. There have been about 360,000 alumni worldwide, many of whom are successful contributors in their respective fields of industries.

In pursuit of advancing human knowledge, Harvard faculty teach and conduct research. Over 60% of our undergraduate students receive over $160 million in financial aid, making Harvard the perfect university for students who are passionate about exploring the most significant issues of the 21st century.

The Harvard University community is dedicated to excellence, offering unparalleled student experiences in one of the most diverse academic environments in the nation. Diversity is one strength of this university and if that’s part of your checklist, try enrolling at Harvard.

It is practically impossible to describe the typical Harvard student or the quintessential experience of a Harvard student because of Harvard College’s diverse student population. Most students represent every state of the country, and ex-pat students come from 80 countries.

When joined together, it is hard to develop a typical student life due to how diverse they are. Over 60% of the undergraduate population receives financial aid, resulting from Harvard’s longstanding tradition and comprehensive financial aid program. 

California State University Northridge

California State University Northridge

Having nearly 40,000 students and 4,000 faculty staff, California State University, Northridge is situated on a 356-acre campus. It is vibrant and diverse and is conveniently located in Los Angeles. With leadership and excellence, California State University, Northridge has been servicing Los Angeles since 1958. The university is known for its excellence, inclusiveness, and community service. 

According to the Department of Education, California State LA students have the best upward mobility. They are dedicated to engaging students, service to the community, and the public good. They offer nationally recognized programs in various fields like arts, science, business, education, engineering, criminal justice, and nursing.

Each of its nine colleges offers 60 baccalaureate degrees, 41 master’s degrees, 28 credentials in education, and a range of programs in extended learning. Students can exercise and participate in leisure activities as part of the Student Recreation Center, which boasts a 138,000-square-foot facility.

This eco-friendly school offers everything students could need – cutting-edge equipment, friendly and welcoming staff, and an abundance of school spirit. So, if you’re still hesitating about where to enroll, this university could be on your top list.

Auburn University

Auburn University

US News and World Report rank Auburn University in the 40th place, among the country’s top 50 public universities. It provides undergraduate and graduate degrees in agriculture, architecture, business, engineering, nursing, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. As an R1 institution, Auburn maintains very high levels of research activity and very high teaching standards. Over 150 undergraduate degrees are offered through their 12 academic colleges and schools. 

Academic excellence, diversity, a positive working environment, and student engagement are among the university’s national strengths. Through thoughtful education, life-enhancing research, and selfless service, Auburn is committed to improving the quality of life for Alabamans, the nation, and the world. They seek to raise responsible graduates who can become active contributors locally and worldwide.

Apart from being a world-renowned research institution, Auburn is well known for its “Auburn Family”-the human connection of many millions of alumni worldwide. Their alumni network is one of the world’s 50 most influential. You will always have the support of the Auburn people.

Recent Auburn graduates stated that 97% felt their education provided them with increased opportunities for advancement in the future. 92% of Auburn graduates say they would choose the college again, a measure of satisfaction with their college choice.

This school is a great place to live, with wonderful academics, sports, and social life. There are great majors at Auburn, located in Auburn, Alabama, to help students prepare for life after college. Though the school is an Alabama state school, it has many students from across the country and gets along quite well. The Auburn family includes a variety of people from all over the globe.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

According to students, the university’s innovation focus and abundance of resources play a vital role in selecting a university or college. The University of Arizona is a massive institution but manages to provide you with a customized experience and endless opportunities to succeed. ASU boasts many strong academic departments and programs, with students quick to boast that their school offers prestigious engineering, journalism, and business programs. The academic disciplines provide many research opportunities too.

ASU students recognize their professors as passionate, supportive, and always engaged with the students. Coursework appears to be incorporated well by faculty members’ interests in research. Professors and faculty staff are deemed to be very supportive and helpful with whatever the student endeavors. Whether it’s something related to business, research, music, or sports, they give extra time and effort to guide ASU students.

ASU campus life is incredibly active, so you can never get bored there. People can always be seen in the pools, exercising in the gym, playing soccer on the field, or biking and surfing. There are plenty of diverse activities that you can join and meet with other fellow students. Taking part in many clubs and attending seminars and lectures are also available to undergraduates. As for jobs and training, there will also be plenty of opportunities in store for you.

Quite interestingly, ASU highlights a popular lifestyle among Greeks. There are many fraternities and sororities where you can participate in philanthropy, community service, or sports games. Overall, you’ll have fun and excitement upon joining this institution.  

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Rice University

Rice University

Rice University is considered an ideal institution because of its prestigious education offerings and prestigious research center. The fact that professors at Rice care so much about teaching undergrads makes Rice a highly regarded premier research university. Professors and educators in the institution never fail to encourage students to be the best they can be. The pre-med program provides many opportunities, and the school has a robust biochemistry and medical research department. The Texas Medical Center supports it. 

A prestigious architecture program is also offered at Rice. The curriculum provided with flexibility allows students to add extra courses and minors without dropping them or changing their majors. This has resulted in students being satisfied with the curriculum and the flexibility that comes with it. In addition to the college’s abundant resources, students can take up leadership roles and keep direct contact with the administration.

Classes are small, so professors develop strong relationships with their students. The research and collaboration opportunities this provides cannot be overstated. Those in the humanities tend to be particularly well funded since departments in these fields tend to have fewer students to dedicate a more significant percentage of their budget to students. Overall, this has become a win-win for the institution and the students.

Rice University is a popular choice for students due to its location in Houston’s unique and dynamic city. You can expect to become a member of a big family the moment you join Rice University. Although there will be lots of fun activities and opportunities for students, academics and learning should still be prioritized and highlighted most. 

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University

Since 1998, Penn State’s World Campus has offered online degrees. It has more than 125 years of experience in distance education. However, it is also a leader in providing on-campus programs. And as of today, there are already about 150 online programs that you can choose from. At least 150 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs can be completed online through Penn State World Campus, the university’s centralized online delivery unit.

Penn State created the World Campus in 1998 to enable students to participate in degree programs from anywhere. So, if you’re trying to look for a school that offers online schooling in a well-organized and sophisticated manner, Penn State is the way to go.

In the course of its land-grant mission, Penn State encompasses teaching, research, and public service to serve and benefit its citizens and economic partners by generating, disseminating, integrating, and applying knowledge. Every year, Penn State generates an economic impact of more than $8.5 billion through direct and indirect activities.

Whether you are a World Campus student or not, you will receive support from an experienced and compassionate staff who know how difficult it is to balance work and life. You are not alone in your busy schedule as they speak to many students and diverse adults every day.

Whether you are looking to go back to school or balance your work and family life, they listen actively and offer some insights and advice. Educators and career counselors assist you in reaching your professional and educational goals. So if you have other obligations but want to pursue your higher education dreams, PSU is the best choice for you.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia

Students at UVA are brilliant, the campus is beautiful, and the coursework is challenging. These three factors are more than enough for you to choose to study at the University of Virginia. On top of its rich history and diverse student body, the University of Virginia has extraordinary traditions.

The UVA student body leans towards the police left, like most colleges, but the out-of-state/ROVA students (the rest of Virginia students) make up a large section of the conservative body. The University of Virginia students often exhibit high levels of motivation and talent.

This school’s greatest asset is its community. Everyone in this community lends a helping hand to anyone who needs it. The honor code fosters an environment of utmost trust and comfort. 

The University of Virginia has a very diverse student body. No student would feel out of place here, regardless of race, gender, orientation, or socioeconomic status. There is such a sense of acceptance among the students and staff. They also show an eagerness to learn about other cultures. The environment fosters diversity and welcomes anyone represented by any race, religion, color, or gender.

Virginia’s honor system is one of the best in the country. The university’s high standards of excellence were instated when Thomas Jefferson founded it in 1819, and this remains the standard for students today. Each student signs a contract stating that they will not steal, cheat, or lie during convocation. The campus is safe as you can leave your things unattended in the library and have them untouched when you come back after long hours of research.

University of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and it is a top-ranked public university. There are more than 30,000 undergraduates enrolled at the school. Wisconsin has a 54% acceptance rate, making admissions somewhat competitive. Biology, Economics, and Information Science are popular majors. The average Wisconsin graduate earns $45,000 for their first job after graduation. Now that’s something appealing for any student.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it’s all about working hard and having fun. Every week, everyone visits libraries and studies hard. You will succeed in any career path thanks to the rigorous academic environment. The faculty and university assistants aim to form well-rounded, confident, rational, and well-educated students.

Madison, meanwhile, offers an endless amount of activities, organizations, conferences, and events. You’ll never find a lack of events or activities to join if you’re a socially active person. Living here, you’ll find a friendly, open culture and people who are genuinely eager to share. 

Having endless opportunities to do anything at UW-Madison is a great thing. Students can join hundreds of clubs, compete in intramural leagues for sports of all levels, and enjoy study groups and hang out with their friends. In addition, you can easily find tickets to games during football, basketball, and hockey season, which is extremely fun. 

There is an excellent student atmosphere, and Wisconsin is ranked high in almost all sports. Badger pride among students is unparalleled. If you want to experience the same, come and join their diverse community.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University

A highly engaged and diverse community of scholars exists at Ohio State University. Several resources are available to help you make connections, seek support, and enjoy your time at Ohio State. Unlike other colleges or universities, the students are the main highlight of Ohio State. They emphasize the importance of your experiences and ideas, as well as your potential and talents.

As a person and a student, they welcome you to a community that encourages you to discover and grow. What are the benefits of becoming a Buckeye, you might ask? Get ready to work with trusted mentors, grow and broaden a powerful network of connections, and earn trustworthy friends along the way. 

The faculty is renowned for welcoming and challenging students, giving you the confidence to reach your goals. During your internship, you engage in world-class research facilities where you can solve urgent problems.

In the Student Union, one of the best in the country, you can find over 1,400 clubs that cater to your interests. The campus community is supportive and encourages you to be your best self. Making an impact will require you to maintain the experiences you develop inside and outside the classroom.

Each student at Ohio State University will find a group of people with the same interests as them. In a school with over 500 student organizations, each student is bound to find someone who shares similar interests, backgrounds, or religions.

Throughout the Ohio State University experience, excitement is constant. Despite the immense size of the campus, the community seems cohesive. There’s something about the atmosphere at Ohio State that makes you feel like you belong, and that there are many other people who share your interests.

University of Florida

University of Florida

An acclaimed public university, the University of Florida is located in Gainesville, Florida. A total of about 32,000 undergraduate students attend this large institution. Since Florida has an acceptance rate of 37%, it is a reasonably competitive admissions process. There are many popular majors, Political Science, Biology, and Psychology. They are passionate and proud of what UF represents.

The academic resources available on one campus at UF are unlike anything else in the world. With one of the world’s most prominent alumni networks behind you, you’ll be a Gator for life. You can expect to constantly enrich your connections and have diverse people support you while you do the same to them.

In addition to a good education, the University of Florida offers excellent reasonable tuition costs. An extensive alumni network, plenty of intellectual stimulation, and abundant research opportunities make UF stand out to students; it is also the best state school in Florida and one of the top-ranked public universities in the country. Among the programs that are pretty high-ranked are business and journalism.

Gainesville focuses on UF as its primary focus; almost everything revolves around students. If you enroll in this university, you’ll have a good balance between studying and having fun during weekends. Many students love the school spirit at UF because a lot of the culture is centered around athletics. You can also adapt your extracurricular life to fit your future goals.

There are so many events and activities to participate in. UF has dozens of clubs you can join, and you can make them whatever you want. Studying or partying every day is your choice. But to get the best of both worlds, you should learn the art of balance.

University of Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma

OU’s first president was David Ross Boyd, and he was famous for the two words he uttered: “What Possibilities!” Fast forward to 125 years today; these two words are still deemed accurate when you enroll at OU. OU is a flagship public research university, and its 22,000 undergraduates enjoy the prestige and benefits of a large, multidisciplinary community while also feeling connected to the university as a whole.

The university boasts 170+ majors and has been identified as having a very high rate of research activity by the Carnegie Institution.

Students can participate in 550+ student organizations and cheer on OU’s athletic teams during their free time. OU has students from around the world, and students from over 125 countries attend the university. You can meet a lot of friends and expatriates representing all the countries you’d love to visit someday.

Students at OU regularly attend football games and other athletic events for fun. Most students attend a football game at least once during the fall. On campus, students can participate in free movie nights or take advantage of swimming in the pool. Events and groups are organized well so you can choose whichever you want to be a member of. It’s not all about football and parties.

Most students report a vibrant social atmosphere. Activities are not limited to partying and playing sports, as there are also volunteering and community service events held almost every weekend. This is your chance to stay engaged if you want to help the community. 

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What does “student life” mean?

One of the most critical factors many students (and even families) are concerned about is the student life offered by the campus. If you’re confused about the context of “student life,” let’s try to redefine it in more precise terms.

All over the world, informal and formal learning occurs. Students use what they learn in classrooms in residential halls, often dynamic environments where they learn to live and work with diverse people in a rapidly changing environment. In most cases, students who live in residence halls will have lived in a racially and ethnically diverse community for the first time.

Also, students typically will also develop relationships with their roommates and their hallmates as they learn through daily life. Students acquire skills such as communicating their opinions, listening to others, and creating the communities they desire. An experience like this is one example of how student life is defined in this context.

How will a “student organization” help me?

Student organizations abound on college campuses. Usually, most colleges or universities offer hundreds of organizations, from social clubs to political groups to student-run coffee houses. As you participate in these groups, you’ll be exposed to learning how to align and adapt to others’ ideas, opinions, talents, and personalities. This will expose you to a wide range of people, helping you grow to become more flexible as a person. This is another context related to a “student life” in a learning institution. 

How can I improve my social life in college?

The best way to improve your social life in college is simple… get involved in extracurricular activities or social events. Befriend your classmates and keep your calendar open for attending social gatherings with like-minded people, as well as other cultural groups that offer diversity and positivity. Other ways include getting a part-time job, going to coffee shops, or signing up for an exercise or art class. Or, join a book club.

Are you looking for an online option? Check this out: The Best Schools That Offer Online Classes

Take a look: The Best Disability Friendly Colleges

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor