Most Beautiful College Campuses

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Beautiful campuses should get more credit. Whether you’re relaxing, studying, partying, shopping, or eating, the benefits of being surrounded by beautiful scenery are plentiful.

We interviewed a wide array of 17-25 year olds. Here are the universities that came back with the most votes.


Elon University

Elon University is located in Elon, N.C., between Greensboro and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle. With more than 140 clubs and organizations, there are many ways for students to get involved. Every Tuesday, the community hosts College Coffee, a weekly campus tradition during which faculty, staff, and students gather for coffee and snacks at the Phi Beta Kappa Commons. Students can work off the extra calories participating in intramural, club, or varsity sports. The Phoenix, Elon’s varsity athletic teams, compete in the NCAA Division I Southern Conference. Greek organizations are a significant part of social life on campus, representing about 35 percent of the student body. All first- and second-year students are required to live on campus in one of the residence halls.

Elon is organized into five schools and colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, School of Communications, School of Education, and School of Law. Undergraduates choose from more than 50 majors within a variety of disciplines. Each year, 40 incoming first-year students are admitted into the Honors Program, which offers smaller discussion classes, a motivated academic community, and benefits like study abroad grants and special Honors housing. More than 70 percent of students at Elon study abroad. The Elon University Poll conducts three polls each semester on issues of importance in and around North Carolina.

  • Founded in 1889
  • Suburban
  • Private, Coed
  • 5,903 Students Enrolled
  • Tuition:



Kenyon College

Kenyon College is a private institution that was founded in 1824. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,711, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 1,000 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Kenyon College’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 27. Its tuition and fees are $51,200 (2016-17).

In Gambier, Ohio, it’s hard to tell where the Kenyon College campus stops and the small downtown begins. The hilly campus of the liberal arts college runs into the town’s quaint shops, and the main walkway of campus, Middle Path, intersects downtown. On campus, there are more than 120 student clubs and organizations, including about a dozen fraternities and sororities. The Kenyon student body has slightly more females than males, and freshmen must live in a common residential area. Students are allowed to bring televisions to their dorm rooms, but freshmen rooms do not have cable, and most upperclass students’ rooms don’t, either. A third of students play on the varsity Lords and Ladies sports teams, which compete in the NCAA Division III North Coast Athletic Conference.

The school offers more than 150 study abroad opportunities, including the Kenyon-Honduras Archaeology and Anthropology Program and the Kenyon in Rome program. For a different experience closer to home, Columbus—the state capital and home of Ohio State University—is a 45-mile drive away. Each year, students celebrate the impending spring season with a semi-formal dance, known as the Philander’s Phebruary Phling. Students begin and end their time at Kenyon in song, as the First-Year Sing and Senior Sing are two of the biggest traditions on campus.

The Brown Family Environmental Center is the 382-acre nature preserve on campus. At the site, Kenyon students can take courses in biology, ecology and environmental science, as well as hike, bird watch and volunteer. Students can also engage in outdoor learning in the surrounding rural community through programs and projects coordinated by the Rural Life Center. Actor Paul Newman, poet James Wright and former Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme are among Kenyon’s notable graduates.



Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University is a private institution that was founded in 1937. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,533, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 830 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Pepperdine University’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 50. Its tuition and fees are $50,022 (2016-17).

Squeezed in among the Santa Monica Mountain foothills, Pepperdine University is a Christian college known for its picturesque location in Malibu, Calif. The school upholds the New Testament-based traditions of the Churches of Christ. Students must attend 14 spiritual events a semester and take at least three religion courses during their time at Pepperdine. There is a Church of Christ on campus, as well as a handful of student-led ministries. Outside of church, the school’s sports teams, the Pepperdine Waves, compete in the Division I West Coast Conference. Students can also play club sports, such as lacrosse and a triathlon group, and a variety of intramural sports, from dodgeball to beach volleyball. Freshmen and sophomores must live in university housing on the dry campus, and student spiritual life leaders live in each residence hall. About 25 percent of students are active in more than a dozen sororities and fraternities, though there is no official Greek housing on campus.

In addition to its main campus in Malibu, Pepperdine University offers graduate courses at California campuses in Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Clara, Encino and Westlake Village. The school also has facilities in Germany, England, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina and Washington, D.C. Beverly Hills is 24 miles away and Disneyland is 54 miles away from Pepperdine’s Malibu campus. Los Angeles is about an hour’s drive away. The school has graduated dozens of top athletes, including baseball player Randy Wolf, golfer Jason Allred, basketball player Alex Acker and beach volleyball Olympic medalist Nicole Sanderson, among its many notable alumni.



Lewis and Clark

Lewis & Clark College is a private institution that was founded in 1867. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,209, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 134 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Lewis & Clark College’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 87. Its tuition and fees are $46,894 (2016-17).

Intellectual pursuit is at the heart of a Lewis & Clark education. The expansive yet personal liberal arts curriculum will give you countless lenses through which to examine ideas and bring your worldview into focus. From your first day in Exploration and Discovery where you’ll explore the enduring questions raised by the great works through the presentation of your senior capstone, you’ll be mentored by nationally recognized faculty, encouraged to pursue graduate-level research, and welcomed by our inclusive yet independent community.

City of Opportunity

Portland lives up to the hype. Lewis & Clark’s Career Center can connect you to the thinkers, makers, and creators working in Portland who need your help to bring their ideas to life, both in the DIY and the corporate sector. Your bike or the campus shuttle can connect you to Portland’s thriving cultural scene: music, food, sports, and more. And College Outdoors can take you on the ultimate study break to Oregon’s stunning mountains, rivers, deserts, and beaches.

A Global Community

Sixty percent of Lewis & Clark students take advantage of our top-ranked overseas and off-campus study opportunities, seventy percent of which are based in countries outside of Western Europe. In addition, over 200 international students study on our campus, which brings a global perspective to our community and a broader context for understanding yourself and the world. Many L&C students pursue international opportunities after graduation; we are a top producer of both Fulbright winners and Peace Corps volunteers.


Emory University

Emory University is a private institution that was founded in 1836. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,867, its setting is city, and the campus size is 630 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Emory University’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 20. Its tuition and fees are $47,954 (2016-17).

Emory University is located in the suburb of Druid Hills near downtown Atlanta. First- and second-year students are required to live on campus, but a majority of students choose to remain on campus for all four years. The Student Programming Council organizes events and performances throughout the year and has brought entertainers and musicians such as Tracy Morgan, Sean Kingston and Guster to campus in past years. A popular organization among students is Volunteer Emory, which oversees community service activities. The Emory Eagles have nearly 20 NCAA Division III varsity teams and are well known for their successful swimming and diving team. In addition to varsity athletics, all students are required to take two courses in physical education. There is a thriving Greek community at Emory with a number of fraternity and sorority chapters.

Emory is divided into nine schools and colleges, four of which serve undergraduates and graduates. Emory’s graduate programs include the highly ranked Goizueta Business School, School of Law, School of Medicine, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and Rollins School of Public Health. “Dooley’s Week,” a tradition that takes place every year, is named for Dooley, a skeleton and “Lord of Misrule” who remains steeped in Emory legend. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, physician and CNN chief health correspondent Sanjay Gupta and activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu have all taught at Emory.


Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University is a private institution that was founded in 1911. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,259, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 142 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Loyola Marymount University’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities West, 3. Its tuition and fees are $44,238 (2016-17).

Loyola Marymount University—the largest Catholic university on the West Coast—is located in Los Angeles. LMU provides housing to more than 3,000 students in its residence halls, apartments, and houses. There are about 150 student clubs and organizations on campus, including nearly 15 Greek chapters. Students interested in media can join the radio station; The Los Angeles Loyolan, a student newspaper; The Tower, a university yearbook; or ROAR Network, a television channel. The Loyola Marymount Lions field a number of Division I athletic teams and compete in the West Coast Conference. Club sports like the surfing, rugby, and ski and snowboard are also popular among students.

LMU is comprised of seven schools and colleges. Graduate programs include the College of Business Administration, Loyola Law School, and School of Education. All undergraduates—whether members of Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, College of Business Administration, College of Communication and Fine Arts, or School of Film and Television—must complete the core curriculum. More than 500 students study abroad each year through LMU programs in Melbourne, Australia; Bonn, Germany; and Seoul, South Korea, among other locations. Notable alumni include Brian Helgeland, who wrote the screenplays for films Mystic River and L.A. Confidential, and famous lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who defended O.J. Simpson.


Dartmouth University

Dartmouth College is a private institution that was founded in 1769. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,307, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 237 acres. It utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar. Dartmouth College’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 11. Its tuition and fees are $51,438 (2016-17).

Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, offers a wide range of student activities. Nearly 25 percent of students participate in Dartmouth’s NCAA Division I varsity sports. More than 90 percent of students live in on-campus housing, which includes residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, college-approved coeds and undergraduate societies. Approximately 60 percent of students are members of Greek organizations, which serve as the hubs of social life at Dartmouth. The Outing Club – the oldest and largest collegiate outing club in the country – is the most popular student organization at Dartmouth, offering outdoor activities, expeditions, gear rentals and courses.

Dartmouth College is comprised of the undergraduate arts and sciences and engineering departments and four graduate programs, which include the highly ranked Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering and Geisel School of Medicine. The Carnegie Foundation has classified Dartmouth as a university with “very high research activity.” More than 50 percent of students participate in the many off-campus programs offered in more than 20 countries around the world. Distinguished Dartmouth alumni include Theodor Geisel (well known as Dr. Seuss), creator of the television show “Grey’s Anatomy” Shonda Rhimes and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. The classic comedy film “Animal House” is loosely based on a series of stories from a fraternity at Dartmouth.



Indiana University

Indiana University–Bloomington is a public institution that was founded in 1820. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 38,364, its setting is city, and the campus size is 1,937 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Indiana University–Bloomington’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 86. Its in-state tuition and fees are $10,388 (2016-17); out-of-state tuition and fees are $34,246 (2016-17).

No one quite knows what a “Hoosier” is, but a murky definition does not stop students at Indiana University— Bloomington from fiercely identifying with the term. The school’s sports teams are notorious competitors in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference, and, since Indiana University does not have a mascot, all teams are known simply as Hoosiers. There are more than 750 student organizations on campus, and more than 6,500 students go Greek in the school’s large community of fraternities and sororities. Freshmen must live on campus for at least two semesters, though there are some exceptions. The Midwestern college town of Bloomington, or B-town, as it is known to many, is home to a lively cultural scene. Arts and entertainment performances, such as the annual Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, take place year-round. Students can explore the surrounding area through the Indiana University Outdoor Adventures program, which coordinates hiking, whitewater rafting and rock climbing trips. Active students can compete in the annual Little 500, the largest collegiate bike race in the nation and a fundraiser for university scholarships, or spend 36 hours on their feet in the IU Dance Marathon, a fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Among IU Bloomington’s many graduate-level programs are the highly ranked Kelley School of Business, School of Education and Maurer School of Law. Distinguished Indiana alumni include composer and songwriter Hoagy Carmichael, who penned “Georgia on My Mind;” screenwriter and producer Jeri Taylor, who wrote for “Star Trek;” and author Meg Cabot, who wrote “The Princess Diaries” series.


University of Vermont

University of Vermont is a public institution that was founded in 1791. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 10,973, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 460 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. University of Vermont’s ranking in the 2017 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 92. Its in-state tuition and fees are $17,300 (2016-17); out-of-state tuition and fees are $40,364 (2016-17).

Nestled between the Adirondack and Green Mountains is the University of Vermont, a quasi-public school founded in 1791. It is known colloquially as UVM, which is Latin for Universitas Viridis Montis, or University of the Green Mountains. Students who want to take advantage of the surrounding nature in Burlington, Vermont, can rent skis, snowshoes, canoes and camping equipment on campus. Students don’t have to go far for an adventure, though; UVM has an adventure ropes course and an indoor rock climbing wall. There are more than 170 student organizations on campus, including about 15 fraternities and sororities. Fewer than 10 percent of students go Greek. Freshmen and sophomores must live on campus. The Catamounts athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division I America East Conference, cheered on by a mountain cat mascot named Rally. In Burlington, students can explore the outdoor Church Street Marketplace, a collection of restaurants and boutiques, or relax on the shores of Lake Champlain. For a more urban experience, Montreal and Boston are about 100 and 220 miles away, respectively.

Among the university’s programs for graduate students is the highly ranked College of Medicine. In addition to traditional classrooms on campus, the University of Vermont has the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, a waterfront campus with a floating classroom on Lake Champlain. Students can study lake ecology aboard the Melosira, a research vessel. The university also owns four farms, where students can research agricultural topics. Among the ranks of the university’s distinguished alumni are John Dewey, an educational philosopher; Jody Williams, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for her campaign against land mines; and Jon Kilik, the film producer responsible for “Malcolm X” and “Babel.”


Harvard University

Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. Harvard’s extensive library system houses the oldest collection in the United States and the largest private collection in the world. There is more to the school than endless stacks, though: Harvard’s athletic teams compete in the Ivy League, and every football season ends with “The Game,” an annual matchup between storied rivals Harvard and Yale. At Harvard, on-campus residential housing is an integral part of student life. Freshmen live around the Harvard Yard at the center of campus, after which they are placed in one of 12 undergraduate houses for their remaining three years. Although they are no longer recognized by the university as official student groups, the eight all-male “final clubs” serve as social organizations for some undergraduate students; Harvard also has five female clubs.

In addition to the College, Harvard is made up of 13 other schools and institutes, including the top-ranked Business School and Medical School and the highly ranked Graduate Education School, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School and John F. Kennedy School of Government. Eight U.S. presidents graduated from Harvard College, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Other notable alumni include Henry David Thoreau, Helen Keller, Yo-Yo Ma and Tommy Lee Jones. In 1977, Harvard signed an agreement with sister institute Radcliffe College, uniting them in an educational partnership serving male and female students, although they did not officially merge until 1999. Harvard also has the largest endowment of any school in the world.