Some studies have discovered a strong parallel between students who live on campus and high GPAs versus students who commute to college. This is significant if you’re weighing the advantages of living on campus versus the added costs. Many major universities require first-year students to live in residence halls because of the benefits of on-campus living. They include avoiding stressful commuting, living-learning communities, bonding with other students, and belonging to the greater college community. If you are sold on the idea, read on for brief glimpses into campus life at seven major universities and decide which one has the best.
Campus Life At 7 Major Universities
- Vanderbilt University
In terms of quality of life, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN ranks #1 in prestigious The Princeton Review’s Best Colleges 2024. It’s no surprise. The stunning 340-acre campus (which Princeton likewise ranked #13 for the most beautiful campuses) sits at the heart of one of the most famous cities in the world, known as the home of country music. The majority of Vanderbilt freshmen feel that the school is an inclusive environment where everyone is accepted by students and staff from the beginning.. Vanderbilt extends its one-of-a-kind culture past its students’ first year with a winning mix of academic rigor and engaging extracurriculars.
- Elon Univesity
U.S. News and World Report ranks Elon University in Elon, NC, between Greensboro and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle #1 in First-Year Experiences because it goes all out when it comes to freshen orientation. Students instantly feel as if they belong there and that sentiment seems to stay with them throughout their stay. It’s picturesque campus life, spread across seven unique residential neighborhoods is ideal for a friendly 24/7 learning environment that combines the best of both worlds: academics and extracurricular activities. Speaking of extracurriculars, Elon has a busy cultural calendar year-round, whether it is guest speakers or one of its many traditions.
- Harvard University
Harvard University in Boston and Cambridge, MA, has produced more than its share of global leaders in diverse disciplines. Harvard’s campus life traditions, like Housing Day, make students feel so at home that they often live on campus for their entire time there. The campus has a robust community and support system for a complete college experience, featuring classrooms and residence halls that are critical to a major research university. It’s not all about academics though since Harvard also offers a rich social life to enrich its students, including student organizations, campus activities, and tours of its nearby neighborhoods.
- Yale University
With its current 6% admission rate, getting into Yale University’s distinguished school is challenging but to many worthwhile beginning with its likewise exceptional campus life. Located in New Haven, CT, the diverse campus offers a careful balance of academia and extracurricular activities that first-year students enjoy losing themselves in. Contrary to its reputation, the students are competitive but are supportive and encouraging as a community. As a result, living on campus is absolutely stress-free. Its many student organizations and campus activities represent nearly every study and cultural interest, so it’s not difficult to connect with like-minded peers. The campus even offers top-notch cafes, restaurants, and shops in the ever-changing New Haven setting.
- University of California – Los Angeles
UCLA has the best campus life among all California colleges in academics, athletics, value, and party scene. As a highly rated public university, UCLA students genuinely feel like they are part of a diverse, vibrant community, beginning with the breathtaking campus, well-planned housing, and state-of-the-art facilities. The 419-acre campus in bustling LA has even earned the description “college in a garden.” The campus also boasts a great deal of history with MLK Jr. giving his “Segregation Must Die” speech and Ray Bradbury writing “Fahrenheit 451” at UCLA. No wonder Bruins, new and old, always say UCLA was life-changing.
- Penn State
Located in University Park, PA, Pennsylvania State University – University Park boasts the complete college experience from Academics to Sports, whether you are a first-year student or an alumni. With its charming, rural setting, the campus embodies small-town college life, including taking a relaxing walk among trees to get to class. However, campus life is rarely dull with just the right mix of top-tier academics, competitive and fun athletics and recreation, and engaging clubs and organizations. As a campus community, Penn State students really get involved with more than 16,000 students volunteering in THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Top-ranked in 2021 Best College Town and Cities, Ann Arbor, MI is the ideal academic environment for the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with its spectacular setting and friendly campus life. Already recognized worldwide as a leader in higher education, Ann Arbor also prides itself in its accessible and supportive community dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at Ann Arbor. Whether it is academics, athletics, housing, student organizations, or campus activities, you won’t miss out on any opportunity to learn and grow inside and outside the classroom. From its talented faculty, staff, and students,
everyone has a unique viewpoint to share.
And The Best For Campus Life Is…
To answer that question, we agree with Ann Arbor above–everyone has a unique viewpoint! Although these seven universities consistently appear on “best campus” lists, what makes for a happy campus life is different for every student. Therefore, it’s critical that you do your research and even pay a visit before you choose. You will spend four years here, so the college you select should leave you with a life-changing experience.