William & Mary

W&M's students ranked happiest in the nation

William & Mary’s students are the happiest in the country, according to a new report from the Princeton Review.

The magazine released its annual college guide, “The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition,” on Monday. Although those 384 schools are unranked overall, the book includes 62 top-20 lists about various aspects of college life. William & Mary tops the “Happiest Students” list this year, and on a similar list, “Their Students Love These Colleges,” the university is number two. W&M is also ranked second on the list of schools with “Lots of Race/Class Interaction.”

“It is enormously satisfying to know that our students are happy with their experience here,” said Ginger Ambler, vice president for student affairs. “Above all, we want students to thrive at W&M. Positive emotions, like happiness, are critical to human flourishing — and yet, there is so much more. We are also committed to students developing a sense of purpose, engaging in meaningful pursuits, building strong relationships with faculty and peers, and experiencing emotional and physical vitality. No one ranking can accurately paint a complete picture of life at W&M, but looking at these Princeton rankings together — happiest students, quality of life, love for one’s university, campus diversity and more — tells me that W&M is a place where students are finding deep meaning and fulfillment.”

The university is also ranked on the lists for: “Most Beautiful Campus” (fifth), “Most Popular Study Abroad Program” (6th), “Most Engaged in Community Service” (7th), “Best Quality of Life” (8th), “Best College Library” (13th), “Best Science Lab Facilities” (13th), LGBTQ-Friendly (13th), “Best Career Services” (19th) and “Best College Theater” (20th).

The Princeton Review based its rankings on student surveys that asked about academics/administration, college life, fellow students and themselves. About 138,000 students at the 384 schools included in the book were surveyed for the report.

For the top-20 list of schools with the happiest students — as well as another for the schools with the least-happy students — Princeton Review looked at student responses to the statement, “I am happy at my school.”

According to one W&M student who was surveyed, students across the university “can identify a tangible way William & Mary [has] made them a better version of themselves.”

Other students noted the support of W&M faculty and the overall quality of the academic experience at the university.

“No matter what you want to do (even if that is creating your very own professional career field),” faculty and staff help students find success and meaning, according to a student.

Students also noted W&M’s close-knit community, which is full of individuals who are passionate about their interests.

“When we stress ‘One Tribe, One Family,’ we aren’t just doing it for the postcards,” one student said.