The 30 Best College Dorms in the U.S.

In the last two decades, colleges and universities have focused on developing their campus life strategies -- often with dedicated directors, and sometimes with entire departments devoted to upping the ante by attracting more applicants. Niche's rankings of dorms at 1,713 colleges and universities are about more than bricks and mortar -- it's about the whole package, from student safety to dining hall sundaes, and everything in between. Student survey results factored heavily into this list -- weighted at 70%-- culled from Niche users. Also considered: the average cost of campus housing, total housing capacity, and, importantly, student crime rate (each weighted at 10% -- culled from US Department of Education statistics between 2013 and 2015, as reported by colleges and universities). Notably, many of the colleges and universities that appear on this list are Christian denominational in their founding and identity (and Jesuit schools, in particular, make a good showing on this list). Another trend is the correlation between the number of students and the party scene grade -- more undergrads usually meant a higher party score. Overall, this is not a list of the "usual suspects" and you will, undoubtedly, be surprised more than once.

30. Bryn Mawr College
30. Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tuition: $43,900
Room & Board: $13,860
Undergrads: 1,309

The Main Line towns north of Philadelphia are some of the loveliest in the country, and Bryn Mawr is the crown jewel. This women's college gets high marks in several categories-A+s, in fact, for academics, campus food, and campus housing. While the party scene a Bryn Mawr gets a B-, there are plenty of trains into the city to fill the gap between your sleepy suburban weeks and your bleary eyed weekends.

29. University of Mobile
29. University of Mobile

Mobile, Alabama

Tuition: $18,690
Room & Board: $8,830
Undergrads: 1,289

Academics do not get high marks at the University of Mobile (a "gentleman's C"-or, to be exact, a C+). But, if you're not enrolling for academic reasons, it may come as a welcome surprise to find that campus housing at this school gets an A+, according to Niche. You may want to find a diner in the area, though, for everyday meals. Campus food gets a B- grade.

28. University of Scranton
28. University of Scranton

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Tuition: $38,754
Room & Board: $13,186
Undergrads: 3,847

The University of Scranton is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. and, as is often the case with Jesuit schools, helps anchor its home city. Community service is an important thread that runs through dorm life, and students there will delight in the A+ grade for campus food and campus housing, as well as the solid A grade for campus quality.

27. Eastern Mennonite University
27. Eastern Mennonite University

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Tuition: $29,350
Room & Board: $9,500
Undergrads: 1,061

While the party scene at EMU gets a solid C grade (that, if you've ever been to Harrisonburg, is generous), the living situation for students gets As and Bs across the board, from housing to food, to health and safety. It's a small school, too, with a favorable student-teacher ratio and a reasonable price-tag for room and board compared to other schools its size.

26. Indiana Wesleyan University
26. Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, Indiana

Tuition: $23,628
Room & Board: $7,560
Undergrads: 9,887

Once known as Marion College, IWU's global aspirations (and alignment with John Wesley's Wesleyan Methodist Church) have led to a B+ academic ranking, according to Niche. It's also led to solid As and Bs across the board for food, housing, campus quality, drug safety, and even parking. The local chamber of commerce's tagline "Make it Marion" may even resonate with you, too, even if Niche gives the local area a C+ grade.

25. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
25. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Waxahachie, Texas

Tuition: $17,830
Room & Board: $6,944
Undergrads: 1,401

A more awkward name for a school cannot be found. But, once you get beyond that record scratch, there are solid As and Bs across the board for academics, campus food, campus housing, health and safety, and parking. Drug safety is a stellar A+ at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. On a related note, the party scene is one of the lowest in the Top 30 with a C- grade.

24. Harvard University
24. Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuition: $42,292
Room & Board: $14,115
Undergrads: 7,233

Off-campus housing is one of the lowest the Top 30-a D+ grade. But, on-campus housing is a stellar A+, along with academics (obviously), diversity, and campus quality. Everyone knows what Harvard represents in the American academic lexicon, and if you're lucky enough to enroll there, you'll see why. The A- party scene grade is notable.

23. Pacific Union College
23. Pacific Union College

Angwin, California

Tuition: $27,480
Room & Board: $7,485
Undergrads: 1,364

Of course the weather gets an A+ for this Bay Area college, but more notable is the one-two punch of A+s for both campus food and campus housing. The 150-acre campus itself sits on 1,900 acres of prime California land, meaning there's plenty of room to roam around and have some off-campus adventures, particularly when the B+ party scene gets old.

22. Santa Clara University
22. Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, California

Tuition: $42,156
Room & Board: $12,921
Undergrads: 5,141

There seems to be a correlation between a school's party scene and the number of undergrads enrolled there. SCU gets a solid A in that department, owing to the relative diversity of its more than 5,100 students. The second Jesuit school in the Top 30, SCU gets the highest marks for campus housing, food, and (unsurprisingly) weather. Academics get a solid A, making SJU a solid bet.

21. Wheaton College (Illinois)
21. Wheaton College (Illinois)

Wheaton, Illinois

Tuition: $30,880
Room & Board: $8,770
Undergrads: 2,435

Wheaton College is really a tale of two Wheatons (the other-related in name only-is in Norton, Massachusetts). The party scene at this particular Wheaton is a paltry D+, but if parties are a low priority for you, then the campus food, housing, and health and safety are all A+ grades, seconded only by academics, which gets a solid A grade.

20. Stanford University
20. Stanford University

Stanford, California

Tuition: $43,683
Room & Board: $13,166
Undergrads: 7,003

Good luck getting into Stanford (6% acceptance rate), but if you do, you may never want to graduate. Breaking into the Top 20, Stanford boasts A+ grades for not only academics, but also campus food, housing, campus quality, diversity, and (unsurprisingly) technology. The B- party scene isn't great, but San Francisco is a quick car ride away.

19. Colorado Christian University
19. Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

Tuition: $25,046
Room & Board: $9,640
Undergrads: 1,366

If you want to be a CCU Cougar, you stand an excellent chance-it has a 98% acceptance rate. But, will you enjoy it? Signs point to yes-solid A marks for on-campus housing, health and safety, the appeal of the local area, and the quality of off-campus dining and off-campus housing.

18. Corban University
18. Corban University

Salem, Oregon

Tuition: $28,980
Room & Board: $9,240
Undergrads: 871

One of the defining characteristics of Corban is its intimacy, with fewer than 900 students. But, you don't have to go very far to feel something more expansive-Salem is the center of the Willamette Valley (read: vineyards), which contributes to Corban's decent off-campus grades. On campus? An enviable A+ for housing and a solid A for parking (so you can keep your Outback parked and ready for the next adventure).

17. Asbury University
17. Asbury University

Wilmore, Kentucky

Tuition: $25,894
Room & Board: $5,962
Undergrads: 1,363

Academics at Asbury are a solid B, and while both diversity and athletics are in the C grade range, the campus housing situation is on point with an A+ grade. It's unclear why this school, which has otherwise lackluster grades across the board, according to Niche, is in the Top 20 at all, but its relatively modest tuition and 66% acceptance rate makes it an agreeable option worth investigating.

16. Loyola University Maryland
16. Loyola University Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Tuition: $43,250
Room & Board: $12,888
Undergrads: 3,875


Baltimore has a lot to offer any undergrad-and Loyola University's location in the leafy area north of Johns Hopkins-is the best of both worlds: urban amenities and suburban comfort. Campus housing earns an A+ grade, along with most of the others in the Top 30, and campus quality earns a respectable B+ grade.

15. Whitworth University
15. Whitworth University

Spokane, Washington

Tuition: $36,012
Room & Board: $9,814
Undergrads: 2,301

Heading east, Spokane is the last stop before Montana (and half a morning's drive from the Canadian border)-a haven for outdoorsy types and a bastion of natural beauty. Off-campus housing gets an A grade (and the elk burgers on the off-campus menu earn it a B+ grade). On campus housing? A+ all the way, along with an equally high grade for campus quality.

14. Soka University of America
14. Soka University of America

Aliso Viejo, California

Tuition: $29,144
Room & Board: $10,916
Undergrads: 435

Sister school to the larger Soka University of Tokyo, this Soka is located just east of Laguna Beach in sunny southern California and earned solid A grades in almost all of the categories that Niche surveyed. One of Soka's 435 U.S.-based students notes, "This isn't college, it's a resort," and while Frosh have to still put up with having a roommate, the fact that each dorm room has a private bathroom makes it tolerable.

13. Pomona College
13. Pomona College

Claremont, California

Tuition: $43,580
Room & Board: $14,100
Undergrads: 1,589

Pomona College is one of the pricier schools in the Top 30-and for good reason it seems: its students give it an A+ for academics, campus food, campus housing, and campus quality. Seventy-five percent of its dorm rooms are reportedly singles-and spacious single rooms, at that. Students give the party scene a B- grade, which is perhaps the only downside to this school if, you know, partying is your thing.

12. Liberty University
12. Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Tuition: $19,486
Room & Board: $7,976
Undergrads: 24,777

Rev. Jerry Falwell's brainchild, Liberty University, hosts more than 14,000 resident undergraduates (although it counts 100,000 more who are enrolled online only), whose low, D+ grade for the local party scene is eclipsed by otherwise stellar grades for everything else. Much of the newer housing stock for undergrads is reportedly spacious and comfortable, and if you don't want to venture into town for BBQ, the campus food gets a solid A.

11. Johnson University
11. Johnson University

Knoxville, Tennessee

Tuition: $10,800
Room & Board: $6,902
Undergrads: 748

The second smallest school by undergrad population on the list, Johnson University offers a variety of spacious housing options for traditional and non-traditional students. The food is a B+ on campus (and an A- off-campus), and if you aren't interested in the B- party scene, you'll find that the city of Knoxville gets a slightly better B+ grade.

10. Florida Gulf Coast University
10. Florida Gulf Coast University

Fort Myers, Florida

Tuition: $25,440 (out-of-state), $6,118 (in-state)
Room & Board: $8,384
Undergrads: 9,724

Southwest Florida is one of the nicest places to vacation in the U.S.-so, imagine how great you'd feel if you went to school there. Some dorms even have their own beaches for sunning, swimming, and kayaking-helping earn the school a solid A for campus quality. Off-campus dining gets a slightly better grade (A-) than on-campus food (B), but that seems like a reasonable trade-off if school too often feels like a day at the beach.

9. Christopher Newport University
9. Christopher Newport University

Newport News, Virginia

Tuition: $20,992 (out-of-state), $11,092 (in-state)
Room & Board: $9,959
Undergrads: 4,926

CNU is a close-knit campus no bigger than a 15-minute walk, end to end, and relatively new dorms that are within spitting distance from academic buildings. Students give it a solid A for campus quality-and it is a handsome campus, indeed-and As all around for housing, food, and Greek life.

8. Union University
8. Union University

Jackson, Tennessee

Tuition: $26,880
Room & Board: $9,990
Undergrads: 2,212

The bad news is that Union University gets a lowly C grade for campus food. The good news is that the housing is an A+, health and safety is an A-, and drug safety is an A+. Student comments, which largely drove Niche's results, are laudatory-especially on the appealing point that all students get their own room (many in a suite-style arrangement).

7. California Baptist University
7. California Baptist University

Riverside, California

Tuition: $28,122
Room & Board: $9,220
Undergrads: 4,342

Niche's overall grade for California Baptist University is a respectable A-, and according to it students, the best things about going to school at this Inland Empire institution are the food, health and safety, and the housing. The party scene falters a bit, with a C+, but the local area (and its bars) gets decent marks.

6. Rice University
6. Rice University

Houston, Texas

Tuition: $38,941
Room & Board: $13,000
Undergrads: 3,803

Rice is a beacon of higher education in Texas, with an overall Niche grade of A+, and a slate of As and A+s from academics to food to housing, to diversity. The party scene is a solid A, and if you're heading off campus, the local dining and housing garner equally high marks. Drug safety is a worrying C-, but overall, students feel that health and safety at Rice is a solid B grade.

5. Yale University
5. Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

Tuition: $44,000
Room & Board: $13,500
Undergrads: 5,393

It's no surprise that Yale gets an A+ for campus quality-some of the best Collegiate Gothic and Mid-Century Modern academic buildings in America define the cityscape. Yale's students give it As in key categories-on- and off-campus food, housing, transportation, and the party scene. Other categories struggle to rise above a C+, such as health and safety and Greek life.

4. High Point University
4. High Point University

High Point, North Carolina

Tuition: $33,405
Room & Board: $12,572
Undergrads: 4,600

With so many solid Cs in key categories (and a straight D for drug safety), High Point's appearance in the Top 5 is puzzling. Still, the strength of its students' grades for campus housing, campus food, and Greek life (an A+ for each) is enough to raise its standing.

3. Regent University
3. Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Tuition: $15,300
Room & Board: $8,430
Undergrads: 1,398

While Regent's students offered up a C grade for academics, their grades for housing (A+), campus quality (A), and food (B) vault it into the Top 3. One thing the grades don't reveal, but the comments do, is the sheer beauty of its manicured and stately campus.

2. Bowdoin College
2. Bowdoin College

Brunswick, Maine

Tuition: $45,446
Room & Board: $12,388
Undergrads: 1,831

Bowdoin is one of the reasons we refer to its home as the Great State of Maine-it's a campus of almost unrivaled beauty and high academic rigor. Its students give it the highest grade for housing, food, and overall quality (as well as off-campus dining). Drug safety is a worrying D+, according to students, but overall health and safety is a respectable B+.

1. Washington University in St. Louis
1. Washington University in St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri

Tuition: $44,841
Room & Board: $13,502
Undergrads: 6,455

The mighty WashU comes in at number one in the nation, according to Niche, for campus life and dorms. It earns an A+ grade for food, housing, off-campus housing, and off-campus dining (not to mention technology and transportation). The less-than-stellar C- grade for drug safety isn't unique-several schools on this list are challenged in that area-but on par, this St. Louis stronghold with considerable advantages for undergraduates.

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