Looking for a prospective university requires balancing a number of elements: teaching quality, career prospects, location, size and the opportunity for socialising. While it is crucial that you place teaching quality and course content at the top of your priority list, it is also important that you take into account a university’s social scene.
And this doesn’t mean how many parties are thrown per semester. This means the range of societies and clubs that are on offer, the opportunity to socialise with students from other courses, and the different social events and activities that are held on campus.
In the 2019 THE US Student Survey we asked students at universities across America: “To what extent does your college or university provide opportunities for social engagement? Examples of social engagement include joining student clubs or societies, organising social events and activities on campus, interacting with people in different courses or with different backgrounds.” Students gave their colleges a score between 0 and 10 with 0 being “no opportunities for social engagement” and 10 being “plenty of opportunities for social engagement”. More than 200,000 students took the survey.
Although this question in particular was not used to inform the final scores of universities in the THE/WSJ US College Ranking 2019, the social aspect of a university is still an important factor for students to consider.
See below for the universities that provide the most opportunities for social engagement in the US.
1. Alverno College
Alverno College is a Roman Catholic four-year independent liberal arts college located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is still primarily a women’s college.
There are a number of sports teams at the university including basketball, cross country, tennis and football.
Some 30 student organisations and clubs are available for students, in addition to the sports teams, as well as a number of outdoor recreation and communal areas. There is also the Pitman Theatre, where students can watch and put on theatre productions, and the fitness centre. Many art and cultural events are held on campus for students.
2. Harding University
Located in Arkansas, Harding University is the largest private university in the state. It is a coeducational and residential liberal arts university.
The university bans the formation of national social fraternities and sororities, but there are 15 women’s social clubs and 15 men’s social clubs that have adopted Greek letters similar to national fraternity and sorority names. The clubs are open to all academically eligible students and more than half of undergraduate students participate as social club members.
Athletics are also a big part of university life with a number of teams that students can join including baseball, basketball, football, tennis and softball.
The Spring Sing is an annual musical production held during Easter weekend featuring performances by the social clubs. It is estimated that 12,000 current and prospective students, and alumni attend.
3. James Madison University
James Madison University has over 350 clubs and organisations that students can join. This includes the anime club, the flute club, the debate team, the hip-hop club, the sign-language club and the outdoor adventure club.
The University Program Board organises large events on the campus, including concerts and night-out events such as the Late Night Breakfast.
The Student Government Association was the first organisation on campus. The SGA has preserved many of the traditions at the university such as the annual tree lighting, the Big Event and Homecoming’s Purple Out.
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4. California Baptist University
California Baptist University hosts a range of social and recreational events including Fortuna bowl, an intramural flag football season with men’s and women’s teams. There is also Yule, a formal dinner with an evening of entertainment at the Disneyland Hotel.
The university also hosts a week-long event called “The woman is required to pay”, where female students invite male students to activities and events throughout the week, including a barn dance and costume contest.
There are also a number of sports teams available at the university for students to join.
5. Taylor University
Taylor University was founded in 1846, making it one of the oldest evangelical Christian colleges in America.
Men’s sports teams include baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, track and field, and women’s sports include basketball, cross country, golf, softball and volleyball.
On the Friday before final exams every year, the university hosts the Silent Night Men’s Basketball game. Students must remain quiet until the 10th point is scored and then they are allowed to all cheer. In the late moments of the game Silent Night is sung.
Top 20 most social universities in the United States
|Most social rank 2019||University||WSJ/THE US College Rank 2019||City||State|
|3||James Madison University||=328||Harrisonburg||Virginia|
|4||California Baptist University||501-600||Riverside||California|
|=6||College of Idaho||=383||Caldwell||Idaho|
|=6||University of Mobile||601-800||Mobile||Alabama|
|=8||Claremont McKenna College||=33||Claremont||California|
|=8||Spring Hill College||501-600||Mobile||Alabama|
|11||Eckerd College||=326||St Petersburg||Florida|
|13||Jackson State University||601-800||Jackson||Mississippi|
|=14||Concordia College at Moorhead||=251||Moorhead||Minnesota|
|=14||Prairie View A&M University||>800||Prairie View||texas|
|=16||Yale University||3||New Haven||Connecticut|
|=18||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||=106||Blacksburg||Virginia|
|=20||Brown University||=7||Providence||Rhode Island|
|=20||University of California, Los Angeles||25||Los Angeles||California|
Read more: Best universities in the United States