Category Archives: college life

Starting your College Research: Student life

The last two post focused on exploring the academic experience. Today’s focuses on what happens outside of class. Click on teh tab for student life. For example, let’s look at Lewis and Clark, with about 2200 undergraduates, it is a classic resdential Liberal arts and science college in Portalnd, Oregon. 70% live on campus. How about yours? Probably the percentage is much higher in freshman and sophomore year which will create a dynamic energy and provide instant access to friends. While most colleges offer dorms, look at what they do by way of the dorms. Mark B. Ryan in A Collegiate Way of Livingdescribes the difference: “A dormitory is organized to provide food and shelter; a college, to provide for the student’s intellectual, social, and personal development.” His webpage provides a fairly comprehensive list of universities who have embraced the Residential College system. Other places like the Colleges that Change Lives are also worth looking at–and Lewis and Clark is one of them. 

Feeling more independent after a couple of years, you could move off campus. You might want to keep close though beause Lewis and Clark has 100 registered clubs and oranizations. Scan through the list and see how many you might want to join–Cuba club? Rugby (Men and women), Mock trial, Slam poetry, psychology club, SCUBA, and oh so many more. How active are the clubs and organizations you want to join? How well organized are they? These will not only be your kindred spirits, but these organizations give you a chance to develop skills. Indeed Gallup has found that that you are more than 1.8 times likely to be engaged in work if you were extremely active in extra curricular activities during college. Moreover, you are 1.4 times likely to be thriving in all areas of wellbeing. 

What a lot of people do not realise is just how much times you have when you are not in class. Sure, you should be studying some of that time (2-4 hours per hour you spend in class). This still leaves a significant amount of time to get invovled. Before you do, you should be brainstorming types of experiences you want to have in college. Certainly some of them might have to do with what you did in high school. ut college is about expanding your horizons. 

Retrun to student review sites like Unigo and Niche. What do students say about their experiences? While the obvious tabs at Ungo to click are What are the most popular activities on campus and Describe students at your campusI really like the Describe the stereo type at your school and the follow up how true is it. Tory, for example, describes students as: 

The big stereotype my friends & I hear is that LC is the standard hippy/pot-head liberal arts college, off in its own little bubble, occupied by a small population of well-to-do students, whose parents have way too much money. There is also a stereotype that LC academics is not very rigorous. And of course, everyone is ultra-liberal/ultra left-wing.

and then goes onto put it in context:

Sort of. It isn’t a homogenous student body. There are more people wearing birkenstocks and fewer wearing flip-flops here than you would find at the University of Texas, for example. And its less cloves than just regular old cigarettes that people smoke. The majority of students are some form of liberal, though libertarianism is not completely unheard of. Our school’s chapel is used more for concerts or speeches than actual church, so I would agree that religion isn’t widespread. I think the stereotype used to be more true five years ago than it is now.

Given that these are the people you will be living and learning with, it is essential to probe deeper. Now reach out to some current students or alumni. Perhaps older friends from your own high school or you can ask admission to connect you or simply facebook stalk them. Most students really like their colleges. 

Imagine four years of eating meals like this…

..and the freshman 15 may be the least of your worries. 

Seriously, long gone are the days of Gruel and rubber chicken passing off for food in College Dining Hall. The Huffington Post has done possibly its biggest public service by providing the list of great college cafeterias


Structures that promote caring, Part II: The Residential College

Residential Colleges

Since the earliest days of Universities, students have lived in a system that has become known as the Residential College. Starting in Cambridge and Oxford, many other universities adopted the Residential Colleges as they sprung up. In modern times, the residential college has become synonamous with places like YaleRice, and University of California at Santa Cruz.  Collegiate way lists another 28 colleges in the USA that offer students the opportunity to live and learn in a residential college. Some Universities, like Duke and Vanderbilt offer a freshman residential experience that would be on par.

The Residential College is not just a dormitory, but something much more important and integral to the learning experience:

In its most generic sense, the term may be used to refer to an institution that houses most of its students on-campus as opposed to an institution with a large commuter or off-campus population. Many small, independent, liberal arts colleges conform to this definition of residential college. In a more restricted sense, the term residential college may be used interchangeably with terms such as living-learning center, theme house, and residential learning community. This usage, however, may obscure important differences between the classical model of residential college, conventional residence halls, and other types of contemporary residence education programs.

And more:

A 1998 meta-analysis by Gregory Blimling of studies published from 1966 through June 1997 shows, however, that residential colleges, as compared to conventional halls, increase students’ academic performance and retention and enhance the social climate of the living unit. Blimling’s study does not distinguish clearly between classic residential colleges and living-learning centers.

According to studies conducted in 1991 by George D. Kuh and associates and in 1993 by Jerry A. Stark, faculty participating in residential colleges or living/learning centers report improvement in their teaching skills and enhanced relationships with faculty from other disciplines. Frances Arndt reported in 1993 that faculty also held positive attitudes about opportunities offered by residential colleges for teaching a variety of special and experimental courses.

Also well worth the reading an artcile for StateUniversity.Com And this: 

Previous literature has consistently demonstrated a positive influence of residential living on the success of a student’s university experience (Stevens, 1996; LaNasa, Olson & Alleman, 2007). The impact of residential living on the university experience is believed to be multidimensional (Zhao & Kuh, 2004), it may also depend on how satisfied the student is with their arrangement. The most successful residential colleges are those living-learning colleges prominent in USA (LaNasa et. al, 2007). These colleges facilitate not only heightened living conditions but the environment assists to recruit and support student success and learning. Therefore such findings emphasise the need for residential communities to not only be a place to live, but to also foster academics and student success. There has been shown that on-campus living has a positive, often indirect effect on student growth and social development, this is associated with the on-campus environment increasing student involvement through maximised opportunities for social, cultural and extracurricular involvement (LaNasa et al, 2007).

Other research shows that

Students in residential learning communities had significantly higher levels of involvement, interaction, integration, and gains in learning and intellectual development than did students in traditional residence halls. 

The Collegiate Way, a web sit dedicated to Residential College, provides four questions that you should ask when exploring how a college’s living situation works:

o   “How many faculty live on campus?” The number of faculty living on campus is a good sign of an institution’s commitment to creating a comprehensive educational environment. And the question is not how many staff members or “student life professionals” live on campus, but how many faculty: professors, lecturers, deans, and so on, who not only participate in residential life but who also teach biology, or philosophy, or mathematics, or art, or some other academic discipline. Are there faculty offices in the dormitories? If so, that is also a good sign.

o   “Does the university have ‘theme halls’?” Theme halls are dormitories or dormitory corridors that group together students who have a common interest or background. Although at first glance this might seem like a good idea, theme halls are really not in students’ best educational interest. If all the art students live together, or all the science students, or all the athletes, how will any of them be able to learn and grow intellectually from exposure to the full range of talents and interests that other students have? If the university you are visiting has theme halls you might ask instead, “Why does the university segregate students in this way instead of integrating them so they can benefit from living in a diverse environment?”

o   “How many juniors and seniors live on campus?” How many graduate students? Are they segregated from the other students, or is everyone mixed together? If the campus dormitories are populated almost entirely by freshmen and sophomores, that is a bad sign. It means either that the conditions are so poor that older students don’t want to stay, or that the university is only concerned with rental occupancy and is not trying to create a rich and diverse educational environment.

o   “Do faculty eat in the campus dining halls?” If you visit a dining hall, look around and see if there are university faculty and staff eating there as well as students. Is the dining hall a noisy student ghetto with a widescreen television blaring away, or is it a relaxing, home-like place where people can talk and get to know each other?

o   “How are the dormitories used during the summer?” Many universities rent their dormitory space during the summer to make money, and in itself this is not objectionable. But who are the tenants? If the space is rented to academic societies, professional organizations, local charities, and the like, that is a good sign. If it is rented to summer sports camps, that may be a bad sign. Years of personal observation have taught me that summer sports camps are often badly supervised and commit extensive vandalism. Their presence may mean that campus buildings are so poorly maintained that more responsible groups don’t want to stay in them. Do you want your son or daughter’s campus home to be routinely vandalized over the summer?

Looking at the CollegiateWay’s listings, you can see that he makes a distinction between the Residential Colleges of Universities and the small liberal arts and science colleges that offer a very similar experience, albeit on a more intimate experience.

Each of these institutions—along with many others around the world—has established, is planning, or is expanding an internal system of residential colleges: permanent, cross-sectional, faculty-led societies that provide the advantages of a small college in the environment of a large university.

For what may be the most comprehensive listing of Residential Colleges in the world, visit Collegiate Way:



Structures that Promote Caring, Part 1: Tutorials

Gallup and Purdue’s research clearly indicte that the professor’s relationship is central to not just the student’s experience at college, but also life later on. With only 27% of college graduates indicating that they had at least one prfoessor that cared about them, clearly this suggests colleges can do more…and students should demand more. 

While this might sound fundamentally an issue of personality, but I suspect there is more to it, more that a college can do to create structures of caring. The first thing that sprang to mind is the Oxbridge Tutorial System. Oxford details their tutorial system here:

A very indepth profile of the Oxford tutorial system here. Cambridge calls their approach supervision

  • This more personal tuition, organised by your College, is one of our greatest strengths and a key advantage of studying at Cambridge – most students find their supervisions the most rewarding and beneficial part of their course.
  • Supervisions are teaching sessions for one or two students or small groups.
  • They’re led by supervisors who are specialists in the subject being studied, and could be one of the country’s or world’s leading authorities.
  • As well as helping you develop independent learning skills, supervisions enable you to explore course material in much greater depth than lectures allow, to gain further insights into your subject, to clarify anything you’re not clear about, to discuss your own work and ideas, and receive regular feedback.
  • You go to different supervisors (often, though not always, from your College) for different parts of your course, in order to learn from specialists in particular areas of your subject.
  • Typically, you have one or two hour-long supervisions each week, although the frequency does vary from course to course.
  • What actually happens during supervisions also varies but generally you’re expected to do some preparatory work for each supervision (eg reading, write an essay, work through some problems), which you then discuss in the sessions.
  • You receive regular reports from your supervisors but aren’t formally assessed on this work, so you can take advantage of this opportunity to take risks with your own ideas, investigate new approaches, and discuss the set topic as well as other aspects of the course.


A few other UK universities (EG King’s Colleg and UCL) also utalize tutorials as an integral part of the the learning experience.

Across the pond, some US colleges also utalize the tutial approach. Sarah Lawrence College has long used the same approach to their education, but called it donning. Willaims embraced the tutorial system after years of exchange students coming back with such favoruable experience at Oxford. 


Some public universities have embraced it for their honors colleges:

“We do not aspire to be a party school.”

Congratulations to Syracuse. Apparently thy did not even try, and yet they are the number 1 party school in America. Then again, the guys in this photo hardly look like undergrads. Perhaps these are the professors. This marks a dramatic rise for the Orangemen, who two years ago were 10. They hope to match this improvement on other rankings such as USNEWS which apparently punishes them for taking poor kids who do not score so well on the SAT. 

Other party places in the top 5:

  • The University of Iowa (last year’s winner),
  • the University of California-Santa Barbara,
  • West Virginia University and
  • the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For some reason, Syracuse does not like to be known as a party school:

“We are disappointed with the Princeton Review ranking, which is based on a two-year-old survey of a very small portion of our student body. Syracuse University has a long-established reputation for academic excellence with programs that are recognized nationally and internationally as the best in their fields. We do not aspire to be a party school. With new leadership, we are very focused on enhancing the student experience, both academically and socially. Students, parents, faculty and the full Syracuse University community should expect to see important and positive changes in the year ahead that will improve and enhance the student environment in every aspect.”

Sure Syrcuse would rather be known for it’s groundbreaking initiatives and approaches to teaching. Their alumni include Lou Reed, Aaron Sorkin, Carol Oats, Joe Bidden, Dick Clark and even the president of another praty school, Donna Shalala. Those are rather serious parties, if you ask me. Of course, Syrcuse did kinda bring this attention to themselves when they pulled out of the rather serious sounding Association of American Universities (before they got kicked out). Yet, they still do a tonne of research and make beautiful things

I say embrace your joyous students. Play hard, work hard. 

The six factors of the college experience that matter


Surprise! Where you go to college matters little to your overall wellbeing and engagement at work. Well except students attending for profit universities score lower. What matters is what you expereince when you are there. Indeed, Gallup raves ““If these magical but relatively simple elements happen to you, it’s a profound game-changer for your life and career.” What are these elements and how do you ensure they happen at univeristy for you?

I had at least one professor at [College] who made me excited about learning.

The good news: 63% of Survey respondants said they experienced this. The bad news, 37% did not. The heart of the college experience centers not on pure intellectual transfer of knowledge. If it did, MOOCs would rule. While what we learn is important, who teaches us matters even more. As Laurent Daloz Observed in Effective Teaching and Mentoring:


“For good teaching rests neither in accumulating a shelfful of knowledge nor in developing a repertoire of skills. In the end, good teaching lies in a willingness to attend and care for what happens in our students, ourselves, and the space between us. Good teaching is a certain kind of stance, I think. It is a stance of receptivity, of attunement, of listening.”

Ever since the advent of Rate My Professor, the public has become more concerned in finding the best professors. The professor rating is just one of the components that the Center for College Affordability and Productivity uses when compiling its yearly best colleges list for Forbes. Each year they provide their own ranking, which pits the following as the top 10:

  1. Duke University, NC
  2. Vanderbilt University, TN
  3. Pennsylvania State University, PA
  4. Stanford University, CA
  5. University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI
  6. University of Georgia, GA
  7. Washington University in St. Louis, MO
  8. Rollins College, FL
  9. Texas A & M University at College Station, TX
  10. University of Michigan, MI 

Princeton Review even made a book from partnering with Rate My Profess and published a list of the 300 best professors. Mt. Holyoke tops the list with 14 professors. CBS news also data mined the same source and came up with this list:

  • - Oklahoma Wesleyan University
  • - North Greenville University (S.C.)
  • - U.S. Military Academy (N.Y.)
  • - Carleton College (Minn.)
  • - Northwestern College (Iowa) 
  • - U.S. Air Force Academy (Colo.)
  • - Wellesley College (Mass.)
  • - Master’s College and Seminary (Calif.)
  • - Bryn Mawr College (Pa.)
  • - Whitman College (Wash.)
  • - Whitworth University (Wash.)
  • - Wisconsin Lutheran College
  • - Randolph College (Va.)
  • - Doane College (Neb.)
  • - Marlboro College (Vt.)
  • - Centenary College of Louisiana
  • - Pacific University (Ore.)
  • - College of the Ozarks (Mo.)
  • - Sewanee – University of the South (Tenn.)
  • - Emory & Henry College (Va.)
  • - Wabash College (Ind.)
  • - Sarah Lawrence College (N.Y.)
  • - Hastings College (N.E.)
  • - Cornell College (Iowa)
  • - Hollins University (Va.)

Anyone familiar with colleges know why liberal arts colleges show up on the list disportionally. 

USNEWS asks college adminsitrators to rate other colleges for teaching. Frankly, a strange proposition. But so is a purely number drive site like rate my professor. Prospective students should ask other students to describe their favorite classes and what made them their favorites.  

My professors at [College] cared about me as a person.


Sadly inspired teaching does not translate to caring. Only 27% of students reporting feeling cared for as a person by one of their professors. Emerson calls this a spiritual law: “There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state or principle in which you are; a transfusion takes place; he is you, and you are he; then is a teaching; and by no unfriendly chance or bad company can he ever lose the benefit.”

The College Prowler provides insight based on ethri student reviews as to the colleges with the most caring professors:

  1. Brigham Young University – Idaho
  2. Liberty University
  3. California Baptist University
  4. College of Wooster
  5. Whitman College
  6. Biola University
  7. Southeastern University
  8. Indiana Wesleyan University
  9. Evangel University
  10. Wheaton College – Illinois
  11. Kenyon College
  12. Wellesley College
  13. Point Loma Nazarene University
  14. Santa Clara University
  15. Cedarville University
  16. Mount Holyoke College
  17. California Lutheran University
  18. Abilene Christian University
  19. Whitworth University
  20. Bowdoin College
  21. Claremont McKenna College
  22. Pomona College
  23. Washington & Lee University
  24. Corban University
  25. Goucher College


“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary warm material, but warmth is a vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl Jung


I had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams.

Mentors matter, yet only 22% report having one. Like the above two categories, this item reminds us that central to higher education is the role professors play in their students life. 

“Many of us carry memories of an influential teacher who may scarcely know we existed, yet who said something at just the right tim e in our lives to snap a whole world into focus.” Daloz has written extensively on the role profesor play in college students life:

“We are for some of our students someone who shows them the way through what is often a very confusing and frightening jungle in the academic world . So I think that it is worth recognizing that we are doing work which hooks into deeper levels of the psyche even though we may not be consciously or deliberately carrying out work at that level.

…Our job does not involve simply helping students to solve their own interpersonal problems extraneous to their schoolwork. Nor are we in business solely to pump information into students’ minds. Our job is to help students to integrate what they are learning in the academic world with how they process knowledge and how they are growing in an epistemological way. So mentorship is firmly grounded in an interactionist perspective. It is firmly grounded in the notion that we develop through the way in which we make use of knowledge in the environment and also through the way that is concerned with the growth in process and in the form of our thought. You can’t simply separate process and content.”

Plane and simple, as Chris Peterson would say:


I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.

But that is hard work. So hard in fact only 32% of gradautes indicat that this was true for them. In the Yale Report of 1828, the faculty presented a fundamental arguement for not just a broad (liberal arts and science education), but also a pedagogy that engaged students:


The two great points to be gained in intellectual culture, are the discipline and the furniture of the mind; expanding its powers, and storing it with knowledge. The former of these is, perhaps, the more important of the two. A commanding object, therefore, in a collegiate course, should be, to call into daily and vigorous exercise the faculties of the student. Those branches of study should be prescribed, and those modes of instruction adopted, which are best calculated to teach the art of fixing the attention, directing the train of thought, analyzing a subject proposed for investigation; following, with accurate discrimination, the course of argument; balancing nicely the evidence presented to the judgment; awakening, elevating, and controlling the imagination; arranging, with skill, the treasures which memory gathers; rousing and guiding the powers of genius. All this is not to be effected by a light and hasty course of study; by reading a few books, hearing a few lectures, and spending some months at a literary institution.

While the report does specifically state long term projects, it clearly derides a minimalist approach. Students would be well advised to seek out colleges that require or offer. For example, every student at Princeton must complete a senior thesis which not only “provides a unique opportunity for students to pursue original research and scholarship in a field of their choosing,” but also requires the student to work one on one with a faculty member. 
The Capstone requirment at University of Illinois at Chicago ”is intended to provide students with a scholarly experience that incorporates concepts and techniques learned throughout their undergraduate careers, as well as allowing students to make original scholarly contributions to their academic disciplines.”
Macalster’s capstone experience consists of three key elements:
  1. participation in the four-credit course, Senior Seminar (Biology 489),
  2. the production of a major thesis-driven, analytical paper during the senior year, written through multiple drafts, which includes a thorough review of the literature; and
  3. the delivery of an oral presentation to the department or at an approved undergraduate or professional research conference during the senior year.



Colleges particularly known for the Capstone experience include


  • Alverno College 
  • Brown University 
  • Carleton College 
  • Clemson University 
  • College of Wooster 
  • Duke University 
  • Elon University 
  • Georgia Institute of Technology 
  • Kalamazoo College 
  • Miami University—?Oxford 
  • Portland State University 
  • Princeton University 
  • Reed College 
  • University of Pennsylvania 

The National Survey of Student Engagement, which examines college students’ activities annually, shows a steady increase in those completing capstones or senior theses. In 2009, 64% of students reported doing such a project, up 55% from 2000 when the survey began. Some view it as a Can’t miss experience. Some say thesis are forever




I had an internship or job that allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom.

Surpingsly, Gallup found only 29% of graduates had participated in a relevant internship. Others place the rate at 85%. Then again, the type of internship clearly matters. Some colleges are clearly light years ahead with up to 100% participation in internships. 


School name (state)

Percent of undergrads graduating with internship experience

Bennington College (VT)


College of the Atlantic (ME)


Delaware Valley College (PA)


Holy Cross College (IN)


Lasell College (MA)


Massachusetts Maritime Academy


Wagner College (NY)


William Peace University (NC)


Burlington College (VT)


American University (DC)


Bentley University (MA)


Husson University (ME)


Taylor University (IN)


  • Other colleges that US news identified as particulary strong in internships include:
  • Berea College 
  • Cornell University 
  • Drexel University 
  • Elon University 
  • Elon, NC
  • George Washington University 
  • Georgia Institute of Technology 
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
  • Northeastern University 
  • Purdue University—?West Lafayette 
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 
  • Rochester Institute of Technology 
  • University of Cincinnati 
  • Wagner College 

Another list can be found here

I was extremely active in extracurricular activities and organizations while attending [College].

Finally, how you spend time outside of class matters: 20% indicate they were active in extra-Curricular activities. This strikes me as way low. After all every college has activities. Lots and lots of activities. 



In The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated Cardinal John Henry Newman opines that the real purpose of the university cultivates a space:

“It is the place to which a thousand schools make contributions; in which the intellect may safely range and speculate, sure to find its equal in some antagonist activity, and its judge in the tribunal of truth. It is a place where inquiry is pushed forward, discoveries verified and perfected, and rashness rendered innocuous, and error exposed, by the collision of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge …. It is a seat of wisdom, a light of the world, a minister of the faith, an Alma Mater of the rising generation.” 


Colleges to measure wellbeing

Everyone is talking about wellbeing, from Gross National Happiness in Bhutan to the Gallup Student Poll. 

Gallup and Purdue will reveal the results of their first study next week. 

The Gallup-Purdue Index will measure the most important outcomes of higher education – great careers and lives that matter – and provide higher education leaders with productive insights for meaningful performance improvements. The initiative aims to create a national movement toward a new set of measures, created by and for higher education, and to help foster a new level of accountability for the sector.

 Gallup’s spin goes beyond are you working and how much are you earning (although it includes that). Gallup wants to understand’s alumni’s engagement:

“In the last seven days, I have felt active and productive every day,” and “I like what I do each day,” and “The mission and purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.” Survey takers will also be asked to respond to items such as “In the last 12 months, I have received recognition for helping to improve the city or area where I live,” and “I feel proud to be a [university name] alum,” and “I would recommend [name of university] to a friend or colleague.”

I would love if this could be paired with the National Survey of Student Engagement, which would cover the student experience through college to the end and out into the world of work.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest University has struck out on their own to devise an isntrument to explore wellbeing:

As you can see, the items overlap with most of key aspects that positive psychologists are exploring. 

Huffington Post list of interesting colleges really is not that interesting

I am always pleased to see list of colleges, be it traditional rankings ala USNEWS and Forbes, or Happiest colleges or Return on Investment. So when a friend posted Huffington Post’s article “The MOst Interesting Places to go to Colleges” on Facebook I immediately clicked only to be disappointed. The list lacks actual interesting elements. 

University of Wisoncsin. They love sports. They Party. They have snow ball fights. It could be Iowa. It could be Illinois. Only it is not any of those places. It is the home of the Badgers: 135 majors, 4000 course, 29,000 undergraduates. They spend a billion dollars on research. Back in the 70′s this same research lead to massive student protests and even bombing campaigns. With 100 research centers, they explore engines to stem cells to food to deadly viruses. And you can to through their very active Undergraduate Research Program. Students adore the 10,000 acre campus and Arboretum. Wander around and you may stumble on one of the Effigy Mounds when you are jogging or hiking the 150 miles of trails. With 800 clubs, there is a lot to do beyond partying and snowball fights. You could attend 1500 performances every year which culminates in the annual student symposium shocasing 550 students “undergraduate research, achievements, creativity, service-learning and other scholarly activities from all areas of study at UW–Madison including the humanities, fine arts, biological sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences.”

You can start your college career by living and learning in a special interest learning community called a fig. You and 19 other students take three classes and live together. Perhaps you love Biology so you jump into the “The Human Microbiome: The Bugs in Our Bodies” With all the focus on positive psychology perhaps you might want to join Contemplative Neuroscience: The Psychology of Well-Being. Perhaps you fancy yourself a future business tycoon, so check out the Leadership in the Global Economy

It is one of 33 Sea Grant Colleges working to understand and protect the coasts. It bosts the oldest continuing operating radio station (“The Snake on the Lake”) on a college campus–you could join 150 volunteers working it. It has not one, but two student newspapers. This is also where the Onion started. 

And the list goes on, but the huffington post did not actually do any research. Frankly, I am bored. Minnesota has record stores and a hockey team? Berkeley has protests? Iowa has fun by drinking vodka and listening to presidential candidates? Cooper union is free, but not for long and students protest. Go figure. Boulder student smoke pot while dodging bears and cougars to get to class (seriously? How often does that happen?) Pixar recruits at Brown (well that is actually interesting, but the source is a blog with no attirubtion, but Brown Profess Andy Van dame did teach a bunch of Pixar people) and Brownies like sex. Then again, college students like sex. Heck people like sex. 

The list features a lot of college that have a large footprint on the public’s mind when it comes to colleges (USC, NYU, Austin, Harvard, MIT, etc.). But there are some surprises like Drake (And how does $3 whiskies and Better Homes and Gardens make it interesting?), Sarah Lawrence (small classes and international programs–seriously, could you do some actual research–this is ONE OF MOST INTERESTING COLLEGES IN THE WORLD) and a big school outlier–Alabama (Football and frats).

In the comments, you will find people bemoaning both the writing and the list itself. But some commenters are offer their own colleges and in some cases with much more substance than Huffington Post could muster. 

How did George Washington University not make this list? 3 blocks from the white house, most politically active university, you graduate on the white house lawn. Doesn’t get much better than that.

How did George Washington University not make this list? 3 blocks from the white house, most politically active university, you graduate on the white house lawn. Doesn’t get much better than that.

OK, only the facts: That is, by far, the worst picture of any kind ever taken of USC. By any national standards, USC has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, especially University Park. If not, in your own words why would so many movies be filmed there? And further, similar to Yale located in an older area of its city is a testament to USC’s venerable age est.1880, oldest west of the Mississippi, and its commitment to the city of Los Angeles. Not a flagship? USC is among the top 25 best academic universities in the country, last ranking 23. Who cares about Dr. Dre? Why mention him? What about George Lucas and the Annenburg Foundation handing over 100′s of millions to USC and so many other very prominent donors to the university for over a century? Diversity? What about being the most international university in the country with students from more countries than any other? What about high admission standards 4.0 and 1,350? I purposely haven’t even mentioned legendary sports achievements and entertainment. But why omit that Will Farrell is a proud alumnus and not merely an occasional visitor? In truth your description of USC is obviously poor reporting and likely biased. Notwithstanding, thank you for listing us as one of the most interesting colleges to attend. As a proud alumnus I agree in principal but for many, many more salient reasons.

Vegetarian Friendly Cities and their Colleges

PETA knows a thing or two about vegeterianism. So they have compiled a list of the 20 most vegeterian cities in North America. While most colleges have decent offerings for vegeterians, it is nice to get off campus to dine out. Here is the International Counselor Companion list for Vegeterians:


  1. Washington, D.C.
    Although Congress may be populated by purveyors of “pork,” Washington is making a bid to become the nation’s capital of veggie dining. Folks on both sides of the aisle could surely reach a bipartisan consensus on the faux turkey club sandwich from Java Green, ratify the vegan pepperoni and mozzarella pizza atBusboys and Poets, and put an end to the gridlock for a trip to Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant in nearby Falls Church, Virginia, to enjoy Popeye’s Favorite—a potato pie mixed with spinach, soy protein, and veggie bacon in a black-pepper sauce—followed by egg-free and milk-free organic pumpkin pie or almond-blueberry pie.

Our Take:

Two colleges worth checking out in the DC area:

2008 Peta Vagen Friendly College Winner American University. Living up to its tradition of having one of the most motivated student populations in the nation, AU students rallied long and hard for this victory, and it shows. With countless healthy and delicious vegan options available on campus—from vegan Korean barbecue to spicy seitan in miso broth with noodles—it’s clear where students get their energy!

George Washington University Places second on the Timi Gustafason’s list (just behind American at number 1): George Washington University isn’t just home to the “VegFest,” a huge vegetarian celebration where veggies and vegans can come together to share ideas, try foods, and learn more. The school is also providing vegetarian students with some great dining options year-round. GWU has recently implemented a plan for its dining halls that will bring in more fresh fruits and veggies, and most will have clearly labeled vegan and vegetarian options at each meal. There’s a smoothie stand, a large salad bar, fresh veggies, and even vegetarian sushi. 

  1. Portland, Oregon
    Portland’s volcanoes may be extinct, but the city’s vegan scene has erupted—enough to propel Portland into our number two position. From the luscious lasagne at Papa G’s Vegan Organic Deli to the sizzling TLP (tempeh bacon, lettuce, and peppers) at Red and Black Café, to the barbecue tempeh platter at theBlossoming Lotus, vegan Portlanders have plenty of reasons to be happy with their hometown.

Lewis and Clark comes  31st on College Prowler’s Vegeterian Rankings. More impressive is that it made it into the top 25 healthiest colleges in AmericaStudents say the healthy, organic, and vegetarian options at Lewis & Clark are excellent, and dining services focuses on farm-to-fork and low-carbon initiatives. Required phys ed courses ensure students stay active, and with classes like hula dance, snowboarding, and scuba diving, we’re ready to enroll, too. Gractivity, anyone? Photo Courtesy of Lewis and Clark College

Reed college only comes 177 on College Prowler’s Vegeterian Rankings. I am surprised given that is forever on “ Princeton Review has assembled a list of the best colleges for the Birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging, clove-smoking vegetarians.” Savy Miss Chimes in to say that the food is “Pretty good, our cafeteria service uses a lot of organic produce, most locally grown, lots of vegan and vegetarian food, it’s definitely cafeteria food but on the high end.”


  1. Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Going vegan in Albuquerque is easier than learning how to spell the city’s name! You’ll find vegan options aplenty, such as the veggie chicken nuggets and boba tea at the Fei Health Café and the tofu scramble at Flying Star Café. Also check out both locations of Annapurna’s World Vegetarian Café, offering a selection of vegan bakery items and ayurvedic cooking classes.

The obvious choice is University of new Mexico who ranks a dismall 1255 in the Prowler rankings for healthy food. No mention of Vegeterianism. But they do have a Veggie Bus. Good thing the city has so many options. 

  1. Atlanta, Georgia
    Life for Georgia’s vegans is increasingly peachy, with restaurants such as Café Sunflower (offering stuffed mushroom caps in a miso mushroom sauce), Green Sprout (presenting veggie pork with tofu and Szechuan sauce), and Ria’s Bluebird(serving up Southwest tofu scramble with veggies). The South will rise again—and ask for seconds.

Ranking at 100 even on The Prowler’s Veg friendly colleges, Emory adds a bonus of placing high for Ethnic food. 

Over in Athens, University of Georgia gets a favorable nod as a a healthy option: UGA gets major points for its highly-rated food, plus the school offers nutrition consultations and smart-eating courses with a dietitian. The University of Georgia was also one of the only schools we found with 24-hour dining during the week, so even after a late-night study session students don’t need to resort to fast food. The school’s gym offers a Biggest Loser program (with prizes!) and several other wellness programs. The health center has dental, dermatology, and vision care, plus cooking classes and wellness workshops. 


  1. Seattle, Washington
    Seattle has a reputation for being rainy, but even when it’s overcast, Seattle is a sunny place for vegans. For instance, Araya’s Place curries favor with a Thai red curry with tofu, Thrive tops its fiery Chili con Marvelous with onion cashew cream, and Wayward Vegan Café dazzles with the Warlock, a faux-chicken sandwich spiced up with a savory chipotle-tahini sauce.

Seattle U is serving up more than Social Justice as it places in the top 50 of all Vegeterian Friendly Colleges.

Not in Seattle, but over in Tacoma, University of Peuget Sound comes in 56th on the Prowle’s ranking while Timi Gustafason’s Raves Students at this university can head to the “Vegetarian & Co” section of the main dining hall to find some amazing selections like veggie riblets, stuffed Portobello mushrooms, and veggie burgers. There are other options on campus as well, as each dining hall is host to a number of meat-free entrees all day long. For multiple years running, the school has ranked in PETA’s top 10 for vegetarian-friendliness, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. Even better, the schools veggie options are also ecologically friendly, using compostable items and sourcing many foods locally.They placed 6th on PETA’s list: New this year, the University of Puget Sound has introduced two delicious vegan entrées to its menu: spicy barbecued tofu banh mi sandwiches, and hearty vegan sausage jambalaya. The school already offers vegan lasagna and other hearty meat-free meals. Also joining this college’s award-winning roster are its weekend brunch options, including tofu rancheros and vegan sausage McLogger!

  1. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    While we had our differences with the recent Olympic Games held there, we can’t hold that against this beautiful city. Especially not while they’re serving up almond masala cakes at Organic Lives, spicy falafel wraps at Gorilla Food, and a golden rice bowl with marinated Gardein strips, mock shrimp, and sautéed tofu at Loving Hut.

The Pacific Northwester is one of the veg friendliest places on the plaent. UBC makes it easy. With its own Veggie Club and a student run restaurant called Sprouts, UBC is a haven for Vegeterians. Check out this artcile on Eating Vegan at UBC

Not to be out done, SFU serves up  Veggie Lunch A spiritual food group dedicated promoting awareness of a karma-free eating life style.  Program held at Simon Fraser University few times a week in a space that allows students to experience an inexpensive all-you-can-eat vegetarian sanctified meal and kirtan.  Proceeds go to Food for Life. 

  1. San Francisco, California
    The City by the Bay has opened its Golden Gate to a wide variety of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants and cafés. While celebrated spots such as Milleniumand Greens are well worth a visit, don’t miss out on the “Neatloaf” at Ananda Fuara, the Broccoli Beef & Black Mushroom entrée at Golden Era, or the grilled portobello mushroom over creamy polenta, sautéed spinach, and crostini at the all-vegan Herbivore.

One of the Original Hippie Colleges is still serving up great food, ranking 6th for healthiest and 25th best for vegeterians at the Prowler

Stanford ranks 19th at the Prowler’s Vegeterian Friendy campuses and also makes it to the list for Healthy eating: 

Some of the happiest students in the country are at Stanford, according to The Princeton Review, and we can see why. Students give the food here an A+ at College Prowler, and many dining options include late night dining ’til 2 am. Meanwhile, the gym is open until 1 am, so studying will never get in the way of a sweat session. Not to be outdone, the health center is also ranked in the top 25 by The Princeton Review. There are several student athletic groups, and the three-step BeWell program with resources for assessment, planning, and executing health and fitness changes.

  1. Los Angeles, California
    The City of Angels offers a wide range of heavenly delights for residents and visitors alike. Start with Flore Vegan Cuisine, where you can indulge in vegan Griddle Cakes (with strawberries), or perhaps you’d prefer the signature “TV dinner”—with veggie loaf, mashed potatoes, golden gravy, and vegetables—fromReal Food Daily. Better yet, try both, and then have a Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’—made with crispy fried chillin’ chickin’, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, and a southwestern-spiced vegan mayo—made by Veggie Grill.

Who knew that UCLA was such a dynamic Veg friendly place? Peta Did, ranking it number 1 in 2010. While it is no longer in the top 10, the original write up shoudl suffice:

Seen by many as the college epicenter of the animal rights debate, it should come as no surprise that UCLA is also a national leader when it comes to vegan dining. Food-service representatives regularly meet and dine out with members of the student organization Bruins for Animals to solicit feedback on how they can improve dining options. The university offers dozens of vegan entrées, including vegan lasagna, veggie chicken fingers, vegan barbecued beef with roasted vegetables, and vegan chili cheese dogs. Students can end the meal on a sweet note with a vegan cappuccino cookie or choose something wholesome like the Morning Glory Muffin. Indeed, competition for vegan diners in Los Angeles is steep, but with so many delicious and eco-conscious choices available, UCLA students really have no need to leave campus.

It also shows up as a healthiest college: We can only assume UCLA students never go inside. The school offers an impressive outdoor rec center (in addition to a traditional indoor one) with a team-building ropes course, pools, kayaking, and picnic areas. And if all that relaxing gets too strenuous, students will appreciate the health center (ranked number one by The Princeton Review), which offers acupuncture and massage therapy. There’s also nutrition programming from the health center and the comprehensive FITWELL program with fitness classes, online educational resources, mind and body workshops, and even chair massages.

Occidential College comes in 57th and is widely regarded for its ethnic and healthy food at the College Prowler.  

  1. New York, New York
    They may live in the city that never sleeps, but Big Apple residents are clearly using those extra waking hours to think up more great vegan stuff to eat. With choices like the pumpkin noodles with sautéed vegetables at HanGawi, a marinated and grilled Bamburger or spaghetti and “meatballs” at Red Bamboo, and spinach omelets, pesto noodles, or Unchicken Nachos at the all-veganCaravan of Dreams, no wonder Gothamites are staying up nights!

NYU score sbig coming in 17th and 5th on the Vegeterian and Ethnic food charts of the College Prowler

  1. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Canada’s largest city comes through for the hungry vegetarians of the Great White North. No one who’s had the raw vegan Pasta Bolognese at Rawlicious, the eggplant in ginger sauce at Commensal, or the beer-battered deep-fried tofu with cornmeal at Fressen would be surprised to find Toronto rounding out our list in style.

University of Toronto squeeks into the top 500 Vgeterian Colleges, but they have an active Veggie Club and a Veggie Coop

More inspired, if not actually in Toronto, is McMaster which is home to Bridges CafeDeveloped from a student-based initiative, this unique vegetarian/vegan location caters to the ideological and religious dietary needs of the McMaster University community. Bridges Café recognizes the importance of a vegetarian lifestyle to increasing numbers of the McMaster community. This beautifully decorated basement provides a stylish and relaxed location to study or enjoy company while grabbing a tasty meal. The vibrant and warm atmosphere with wireless internet and comfortable furniture will make Bridges a frequent stop for your favourite meals. Diversify your dining experience!

Is it any wonder how Mac ended up on PETA’s list? For the second year in a row, McMaster has retained its hard-earned spot at the top of our Canadian list. The school’s legendary Bridges Café is completely vegetarian, and this school year, 75 percent of the café’s menu items are vegan as well. Dishes such as vegan soy beef quesadillas with chipotle eggless mayo dip, vegan chili served over grilled flatbread with vegan cheese shreds, and curried chickpea burritos with caramelized onions and vanilla-scented rice are just a few of the top-of-the-line meatless meals that make this university a vegan paradise. As if that weren’t enough, the campus has recently started offering a local farmers market stand, providing students with fresh local fruits and produce.

Most expensive countries for international students

The following is what HSBC concluded international students will pay to attend university in various countries.

Country Annual fees (USD) Annual cost of living (USD) Annual total (USD)
Australia 25,375 13,140 38,516
United States 25,226 10,479 35,705
United Kingdom 19,291 11,034 30,325
United Arab Emirates 21,371 6,004 27,375
Canada 18,474 7,537 26,011
Canada 18,474 7,537 26,011
Singapore 14,885 9,363 24,248
Hong Kong 13,182 9,261 22,443
Japan 6,522 12,642 19,164
Russia 3,131 6,310 9,441
China 3,983 4,783 8,766
Taiwan 3,270 4,987 8,257
Spain 1,002 6,004 7,006
Germany 635 5,650 6,285


Australia, surpsingly comes in at the highest, which is incredibly deceptive. Firstly, an Australian (and UK) degree, will typically take you three years while Canadian and US degress take four years. Secondly, HSBC uses tuition soures based on what Forbes list, but it is unclear if they are using the “ten largest” or the Ivy League or what? Since the ten largest US institutions are not considered the elite of the US. Furthermore, many students receive discounts in the form of financial aid at the top US colleges, but those are tied to a family’s ability to pay.  Since the typical ivy league education (Princeton) is $56,750, this puts a US education well ahead of Australia. Moreover, if we extraoplate over 4 years, this hits a whopping $227,000 whereas Australia comes in 115,548, or almost half. UK comes in at about 91K. Canada rounds out just over $104 K. 

Why Canada get’s two entries just adds to the sloppy presentation. 

And why would they leave out some stellar international destinations like the Netherlands, Switzerland or New Zealand?