You’ve seen the lists of the top party colleges in America, but have you ever wondered which universities are best for your health? The healthiest schools in the US offer a lot more that just awesome workout facilities (although we’ll talk about those, as well).
So here’s a list 20 of the healthiest colleges in the US, with a variety of reasons why these campuses are pegged as a great fit for overall student wellness:
1. The University of Akron
The Midwestern city of Akron, Ohio, might not be the first thin that pops into your mind when thinking of healthy locales. But the school affectionately known as “Akron U” has a Student Recreation and Wellness Services exercise facility that is legendary. With a state-of-the-art rock-climbing wall, an aquatics pool, a spa, and more, the institution is a favorite in the area. The university itself is ensconced within a city famous for gorgeous greenery, while Cuyahoga Valley National Park is right nearby.
2. Cedarville University
This private Ohio-based college has been named one of the best for sober students and who seek a relatively drug-free campus.
3. Dartmouth College
Sure, most everyone knows the prestigious private Ivy League school. But they might not realize that Dartmouth offers students 27,000 acres worth of northern New Hampshire wilderness—known as the “Second College Grant”—to explore. There are also plenty of nearby outdoor activities, with the Appalachian Trail dissecting the campus and the Connecticut River very close by.
4. Harvard University
Not only has the famous Cambridge school banned nicotine in Harvard Yard, but also every two seconds a new health report seems to published by the respected university. (And let’s not forget what a prosperous life even some Harvard dropouts have had, like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.)
5. The University of Denver
Denver is already known as one of the healthiest cities in the nation, what with the popular outdoor lifestyle providing the perfect venue for fresh air and extreme calorie burning. The University of Denver itself allows students to experience a variety of fitness classes in their recreation center, and their HYPE program is a successful promotion from the school’s health and counseling center.
6. Georgetown University
If you’ve got a hankering for cherry blossoms in the spring, this Washington, D.C. private institution might be right up your alley. Especially since the school just recently broke ground on the new John R. Thompson, Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center.
7. The University of Alabama
Life at UA can offers some seriously health socializing in the form of Crimson Tide athletics. Students just grab their Alabama apparel and head off to a rousing game. Studious sports fans can balance out their studying woes with fun-filled play time.
8. The University of Texas
Bigger can be better in terms of large schools, and everything’s bigger in Texas. This Austin-based state university enjoys more than 50,000 enrolled students who are blocks away from downtown Austin, a city known for its eclectic and artistic vibe. High-quality recreation facilities within the 350-acre campus ensure there won’t be many dull moments.
9. The University of Michigan-Flint
Whilst some schools are just now jumping on the anti-smoking bandwagon, UM-Flint has enjoyed a smoke-free campus for more than three years—all part of its initiative to create a healthy campus community.
10. Central Piedmont Community College
It’s not always the high brow and pricey schools that should be considered the healthiest. After all, many folks can’t afford some of the Ivy League book fees, let alone approach their tuition and housing rates. That’s where places like CPCC fill in the gap, offering performing arts programs, event facilities and transitional programs that benefit a diverse community of students, fulfilling a boatload of health and wellness needs.
11. Cincinnati State College
Perhaps the healthiest thing about Cincinnati State is that a couple of years spent there will cost you about 50% less than the expenditure made at other traditional universities. Nestled in a city teeming with cultural gems—like the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center—the school prides itself on providing career-ready teaching that can help students enter fields such as nursing and health and public safety.
12. Rice University
Rice University is consistently ranked right alongside top tier schools due to its excellent athletics, exquisite campus and a diverse student body. The school even ranks high as one of Houston’s best places to work.
13. The University of Maryland
This higher learning institution—located in College Park in Prince George’s County, Maryland—allows students to remain active by booking tee times on the UMD golf course, taking yoga classes, scaling rock climbing walls and a number of other wellness activities via their campus recreation services.
14. Purdue University
One look at the “life at Purdue” Instagram page—especially the video showing the Boilermaker’s band playing a song while inside a fountain—will show you that the six-campus school based in West Lafayette, Indiana, is replete with good clean fun. There’s a lot more going here than just great engineering, science, and technology programs. Laughter is the best medicine, right?
15. Auburn University
Auburn University’s more than 25,000 students can take advantage of programs like Auburn Outdoors, as well as other campus recreational programs that allow for biking and kayaking. Be warned that the outdoors rental shop is closed for all of the home-based football games, when folks throw on their Auburn t-shirts and scream, “Go Tigers!”
16. Florida State University
Hiking this capital city’s legendary seven hills is what keeps Tallahassee, Florida, students in shape—no small feat during warmer months that can see temperatures rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beyond the weather, the university known as FSU has been named one of the nation’s best universities—not only due to their staff qualifications and student support, but also because of their no-tolerance policy against sexual violence.
17. UC Santa Barbara
Of course you’d expect to find a California school on a list of the healthiest colleges. UC Santa Barbara has miles of the Pacific Ocean at its disposal, and students can enjoy a plethora of programs that can take them from Yosemite to Santa Cruz Island and beyond.
18. Vanderbilt University
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, this school is known for excellent campus dining that includes menus chock full of roasted salmon dishes, gyros and other healthy fare. Students also can select a variety of workout classes to enjoy, from Zumba to ballet. And no doubt FIFA 15 is on its way.
19. Princeton University
This private institution can be great for the financial health of students who qualify for Princeton’s “no loan” policy, in which grants are given only to those who need them so they won’t be saddled with student debt. The famous school also gives third and fourth year students the chance to choose from nearly a dozen eating clubs that foster good social vibes.
20. Coe College
At this Cedar Rapids, Iowa, school, you’ll find the best of both worlds: a campus tucked within a peaceful community that’s consistently pegged as one of the best in the United States to live in, and a location that’s on the rise. The private liberal arts college has been praised for its smaller and intimate class sizes, with a student satisfaction ranking of nearly 80%, as tracked by US News.