According to our survey of over 122,000 students at 376 colleges, students at Rice University in Texas are the happiest in the land.
Rice tops the “Happiest Students” ranking list in The Princeton Review’s Best 376 Colleges guidebook. The ranking list is based on student responses to the survey question “Overall, how happy are you?”
To find out what students at Rice have to say about the school’s academics, social life, and student body, read below!
A sunny and social place to get a prestigious degree, Rice University is Houston’s answer to the Ivy League. Consistently ranked as “one of the top universities of the nation,” Rice maintains a stellar faculty, a “vibrant research program,” and a “diverse selection of courses and departments.” “Professors of big intro classes don’t do a lot of discussion.” Fortunately, “Classes are more interactive and small as you progress to the upper level,” and students often develop a strong rapport with their instructors. A student details, “Most Rice professors love what they’re doing, and you can tell that they are truly passionate about the material. They may show this by literally dancing around in the front of the classroom or by simply being available at any time to help students.” Another student adds affectionately, “I want to adopt my bio-chem professor as my surrogate grandpa.” Beyond traditional academics, Rice excels at offering “strong research opportunities for undergraduate students,” including mentored lab work, independent projects, and “internships in the social sciences.” There is also a “great engineering program” at Rice, and future doctors point out that the campus is located “next to the largest medical center in the world.” Maybe it’s all that Texan sunshine, but students say Rice is “not cutthroat academically, in spite of its very good academic reputation.” Instead, “Academics are very challenging, but working hard will take you a long way.” “Academic advising is amazing,” and professors are an important source of support, “inviting students to join them for coffee in the student center or visit them in office hours to discuss class material, research, papers, or even what’s going on in our lives!”
Rice University offers “the most amazing balance of serious education and an unbelievably rewarding personal life.” According to most undergraduates, “The college system is the key to life at Rice University,” through which students are assigned to residential communities for all four years of study. The cornerstone of the Rice community, “The ‘Hogwarts style’ housing system creates an intimate place to create lasting friendships, as well as friendly competition between different dorms.” “From the minute you walk onto Rice campus, you have upperclassmen advisors, peer academic advisors, Rice health advisors, the masters, resident associates, the counseling center, the wellness center, and many more campus groups that help you navigate your way through freshman year.” “Most Friday and Saturday nights, there are parties open to the entire university, sponsored by a residential college,” and everyone comes out for the annual campus-wide shindig, Beer Bike. Surrounding Houston is a big city and great college town, and students “love exploring new restaurants, going to Chinatown, volunteering, spending a lot of time at the swimming pool, shopping at thrift stores, [and] going on trips to Austin and Dallas.” “The weather is fantastic.”
While they look like a bunch of “outgoing, down-to-earth kids,” students reveal, “Everyone at Rice is, in some way, a nerd.” At this “geek chic” school, “Regardless of your interest and no matter how nerdy it might be now, you’ll definitely find someone else who shares your passion.” “There is something unique about every Rice student,” and career goals and intellectual interests run the gamut. A current undergraduate details, “Among my best friends, I have one who is working for Google next year, one who will be training for the Olympic trials over summer, and one who is currently working at a station in Antarctica.” “Rice genuinely has a diverse community that accepts people of all backgrounds.” Nonetheless, Rice students do share some common traits, generally described as “liberal for Texas,” low-key, and “good natured.” While most undergraduates are “studious,” they’re not overly serious. The typical student “rolls out of bed in a t-shirt” and is “willing to help you out in times of need.”