These 30 Colleges Are Helping Students Be More Relaxed And Productive

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The stereotype of student life is that it is filled with partying, mornings in bed and hanging out with friends. This may happen some of the time, but the truth is that you also have to study hard! Most people want to have fun, but they also want to get a good degree. If that sounds like you, then you’re going to have to put together a routine that accommodates both fun and study.

“So what?” you may say. You’ve spent your entire life mixing school with your social activities, and it’s been fine. But college will bring this to the next level and make it harder. Up until now, your parents have helped you with keeping assignments on track, and your school’s hours have been set in stone. But in college, your parents are no longer living with you and your classes will be less frequent. Therefore, putting enough study hours in is a challenge. The flip side is that if you get too dedicated to coursework, you’ll end up alienating yourself from friends.

In some ways, making sure that you achieve this balance is up to you. You’re only the person who truly knows how you work best and in what manner. But it’s also true that colleges can do something to assist. And many colleges have been adopting new and innovative ways to make students cope with work without totally destroying their social and personal lives. Additionally, there are a range of relaxing yet constructive activities on offer in many colleges for when the stress of work becomes just a little too much.

But what are these innovative and helpful study/life practices? This article will go through techniques that colleges have in place and show you how they’re making a difference for students. It may help you pick the best college. Or it might give you a strong insight and show you how you can incorporate a practice into your own study techniques.

To find the top college study/life practices, just read the list below!

Methodology

In compiling this list, we’ve consulted a range of diverse sources and ensured that a number of techniques have been analyzed. Implementing a study/life balance resource is not easy, and there is no “one size fits all” solution. But still, some colleges shine through and are clearly providing their students with both fun and productive services.

The articles we’ve consulted come in three forms. Those which show effective and informed studying practices, those which show great social life activities and those which show both. Of course, the colleges that evidence both make our list. And to ensure that the list we’re presenting to you is definitive, we’ve followed up the list’s claims with our own research and with statistics that bear the techniques out.

The articles we’re drawing from are as follows:

Business Insider, WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: The 20 Most Intense Colleges In America: http://www.businessinsider.com/colleges-where-students-work-and-party-2014-10

Niche.com, 2018 Colleges with the Best Student Life in America: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-student-life/

Rave, 50 Most Fun Colleges In America: https://www.ravereviews.org/place/most-fun-colleges-in-america/

Her Campus, The Work Hard, Play Hard Schools: https://www.hercampus.com/life/campus-life/work-hard-play-hard-schools

Time Money, 100 Best Colleges For Sports Lovers: http://time.com/money/4695629/best-colleges-sports-lovers/

US News, First Year Experiences: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/first-year-experience-programs

Princeton Review, Best Quality of Life: https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=best-quality-life

MSN, The Colleges With The Best Student Life In Every State: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/careersandeducation/the-colleges-with-the-best-student-life-in-every-state/ss-AAxkEw9#image=1

After sorting through these rankings and the secondary evidence, we’ve put together what must be the most definitive list of study/life balance colleges on the internet. Our list has prioritized rankings on our methodology sources, evidence of student success, evidence of a productive work environment and evidence of innovative approaches. So if you need to find out how to get that study/life balance just right, then look below:

The results, from 30 to one, are here:

Rank School Location
1 Stanford University Stanford, CA
2 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
3 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
4 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
5 Rice University Houston, TX
6 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
7 Yale University New Haven, CT
8 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
9 Dartmouth College Hanover, NH
10 Washington University in St Louis Saint Louis, MO
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  1. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    California is an incredibly competitive state, college wise, but most lists agree that Stanford is the best study/life balance college in the state and one of the best in the country. Business Insider ranks it at fifth. Niche.com ranks it at second. Time Money ranks it at first. US News ranks it at joint fifth. And MSN names it as California's best student life college. Clearly, this means that it isn't just California's warm climate that makes Stanford stand out. In fact, it's almost impossible to highlight one particular thing that Stanford is doing to make students both happy and successful. Its student services are exhaustive. Its events are fun and educational. And its admission process looks for diversity and creativity as well as academic performance. These factors combine to mean that Stanford University may well be the happiest and most productive place on the planet!

  2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is prominently placed in seven out of the eight methodology lists. Princeton Review is the only publication that declines to feature it. Elsewhere, the college is placed at 10th on Business Insider, third on Niche, 11th on Rave, first on Her Campus, third on Time Money and28th on US News. MSN names it as having the best student life in Michigan. Such consistent rankings are already enough to secure its place on the list, but further research points to why University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is so good for students. For instance, the college hosts over 1,200 exhibitions and performances every year, which are fun and intellectually stimulating. It also has a 15 to one student to faculty ratio, meaning that professors are on hand to keep students motivated and productive. Most interestingly, it runs an undergrad research opportunity program, which encourages students to collaborate with college researchers on a range of interesting subjects related to students' degrees. Currently, over 1,300 students participate in this program.

  3. University of Virginia
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    Placing at fourth on Business Insider, eighth on Niche.com, 38th on Rave, fifth on Time Money andfifth on Princeton Review, University of Virginia has one of the most consistent rankings on the methodology lists. It's also MSN's top student life college in Virginia, and Buzzfeed named it the smartest party school in America. It's gained these accolades through instituting a range of practices designed to keep students happy. For instance, the average class size is 15, meaning professors can spend lots of time with their class members. Additionally, students at the University of Virginia don't worry about money. The college's alumni have the lowest debt of any college in America, making them both content and productive! If all this weren't enough, it has the state of the art, $8.3 million Winston Ely Health & Wellness Center. It's free for students to attend and offers all sorts of fun activities!

    2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

  4. Vanderbilt University
    Location

    Nashville, TN

    This Nashville based college has a strong reputation on almost every methodology source. Business Insider places it at second. Niche.com places it at 16th. Time Money places it at 37th. US News places it at joint 14th. Princeton Review places it at second. And MSN names it as the best student life college in Tennessee. Vanderbilt's fun credentials should need no further explanation. After all, how can a college based in the home of country music be anything other than a hoot? But what about its studying? All the data indicates that Vanderbilt trains its students in exactly the right manner. For example, it counts a number of Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and faculty. This includes former US Vice President Al Gore, Social Entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus, Biochemistry Professor Stanley Cohen and Chemist Stanford Moore. Additionally, Reuters recently named it the world's 10th most innovative university.

  5. Rice University
    Location

    Houston, TX

    This college polarizes the methodology lists and opinions like no other. Niche.com and Princeton Review both place it at first. MSN similarly names it as the college with the best student life in Texas. But it is 13th on Time Money. Even worse, Business Insider, Rave, US News and Her Campus don't feature it at all. Such divisive rankings are probably caused by its unique student housing structure. Students live in a manner similar to a British private school. This means that they live, work and relax in buildings that are for their own residential college, which Rice randomly assigns to students. There are 11 residential colleges in total, and each one has its own unique character and traditions. As the different placements on the methodology lists show, this approach isn't for everyone, but those that do like it really benefit!

  6. University of Pennsylvania
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    This Philadelphia based college is ranked at third place on Business Insider, 12th place on Niche.com, 33rd place on Rave, seventh on Her Campus, 55th on Time Money, and is MSN's top college for student life in Pennsylvania. To get these strong rankings, the University of Pennsylvania is doing a number of incredible things for students. In particular, community involvement is a strong factor. As the college itself states, "Penn weaves civic awareness and action into campus life." By doing this, the college has created a system where students can undertake an activity separate from their degrees but which also is mentally productive and good for the resume! It's a win-win scenario for everyone.

  7. Yale University
    Location

    New Haven, CT

    Yale ranks at seventh on Business Insider, 15th on Niche.com, ninth on Time Money andjoint third on US News. MSN states that it has the best student life of any college in Connecticut. Yale has achieved these strong rankings due to its proactive approach to inclusiveness. In recent years, the college's inclusivity activities have been focused on strengthening its academics; expanding its programs, services, and support; improving structures and practices; and representing the college's diversity. It's been achieving these goals by making the college more digital-friendly, organizing discussions and getting alumni involved in clubs and programs.

  8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    MIT has really put a lot of work into ensuring that its students get the right balance of work and play in recent years. This is sadly the result of tragic circumstances; in 2015, two students committed suicide within the same week, which highlighted the college's stressful nature. However, MIT has done a lot of work since, reducing course loads and implementing many relaxing practices. The college is ranked at sixth place on Niche.com's list, eighth on Her Campus's listand is MSN's featured college for best student life in Massachusetts. It also tops Business Insider's list.

  9. Dartmouth College
    Location

    Hanover, NH

    MSN considers Dartmouth to have the best student life experience of New Hampshire. Additionally, US News ranks it at joint 11th on its list of best first-year experiences. Time Money places it at 11th. Lastly, Business Insider ranks it at ninth. Dartmouth's study time allocation is more flexible than most colleges. It allows students to choose which seasons they would like to study in certain years, giving students freedom. Additionally, Dartmouth employs an incredible team of advisors that can help students with all areas of professional and personal life.

  10. Washington University in St Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    With a ranking of 12th place on Princeton Review, fifth place on Niche.com and 20th place on Business Insider, Washington University has a lot of happy and productive students. Additionally, MSN names the college as having the best student experience in Missouri. One of the reasons why Washington University in St Louis has achieved these strong rankings is its focus ondiversity. It is doing this through its Bias Response Support System, accessibility services and organizations. In fact, Washington University currently has over 77 diversity-related groups.

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