Why These 5 Colleges Have the Happiest Students

The Princeton Review has released their new Best College list – but this college review site gives a little more detail

Aug 9, 2014 at 11:00AM

Flickr / Ben Schumin.

The Princeton Review has published its Best 379 Colleges for 2015, polling 130,000 students to produce ranking lists covering issues from academics to extracurriculars – and everything in between. 

These kinds of rankings are very interesting to read, and can give excellent insights into the type of college experience a particular school offers. One list rates colleges by how happy its students say they are while attending. What a great idea – after all, who doesn't want to be happy during their college years?

The website is a bit light on details on why it chose 20 particular schools as having the "Happiest Students" (registration required), however, so I compared the Review's top five colleges with the database at RateMyProfessors.com, where students use a scale of 1 to 5 to weigh in on the best – and worst – of college life.

1. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
Founded in 1873 with a $1 million endowment from Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, the campus offers a wide array of majors for undergraduates and graduate students alike. Students on RateMyProfessor give the school 4.7 points out of five for happiness, and a 4.6 rating for overall quality. The average professor grade is 3.78. 

2. Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California
Though ranked at No. 2 on the Princeton Review, Claremont McKenna is clearly the favorite among student reviewers on RateMyProfessor. Amongst the five schools discussed here, Claremont scores highest in almost every category: Professors average a high 3.87 rating, and overall quality hits a high note at 4.7. Notably, the college receives a ringing endorsement in the happiness category, with an unbeatable score of 5. 

3. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
Though this school rates a bit lower on the overall quality and average professor ratings – 4.3 on the former, and 3.69 on the latter – the happiness score of 4.7 indicates how well-liked this school is with the more than 300 students who submitted reviews on RateMyProfessor. Nearly every person who commented recently used terms such as "great", "fantastic", and "awesome" to describe the school, and some spoke to the "family" feeling the university gave them while they studied there. 

4. Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Tulane also sports a 4.7 happiness quotient, and a fairly high 3.81 professor rating, as well. The school's overall score on RateMyProfessor is a decent 4.3, like Clemson – but some of the more recent comments are less than flattering, mentioning a lack of cultural diversity and a raucous party atmosphere. Tulane's Law School, however, claims to be one of the most diverse in the country, offering a chronology on its webpage outlining its achievements in that arena.

5. Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia
Overall quality gets a rating of 4.5 on RateMyProfessor, and happiness registers a 4.7 at Virginia Tech, while professors have earned an average score of 3.75. Foodies, take note: of all the schools profiled in this article, Virginia Tech is rated 4.9 out of 5 for food. The only other school that came close is Claremont McKenna, with a score of 4.7.

College rankings are plentiful these days, and no matter how well an institution is regarded, there will surely be some negative reviews alongside the enthusiastically positive ones. The trick is to parse out the criteria that matters the most to you, and make your decision based on your personal goals. When it comes to deciding where you will spend four – or more – years of your life, a school's happiness quotient is definitely worth investigating.

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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