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College Choice Releases Ranking of Colleges & Universities with Happiest First-Year Students

RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Independent college rankings and review website College Choice ( has published a ranking of the fifty U.S. colleges and universities with the happiest first-year students.  Based primarily on the percentage of freshmen who return for their sophomore year, the ranking puts Yale University at the top of the list, followed by the University of Chicago and Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California.

Other schools making the list include (in alphabetical order):
Amherst College
Bowdoin College
Brown University
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Carleton College
College of William and Mary
Columbia University
Cornell University
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
Duke University
Georgetown University
Hamilton College
Harvard University
Harvey Mudd College
Haverford College
Hillsdale College
Johns Hopkins University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Middlebury College
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Pomona College
Princeton University
Rice University
Stanford University
Swarthmore College
Tufts University
United States Military Academy
United States Naval Academy
University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of Florida
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rochester
University of Southern California (USC)
University of Virginia
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Washington University in St. Louis
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
Williams College
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The full ranking can be viewed at this link:

Student happiness with their first year is an important predictor of future success at the college level. "Students who complete their first year and return for their second at the same institution are much more likely to eventually finish their degree than those who transfer or dropout," said College Choice Associate Editor Katie Brownell Amondson, lead editor for the piece. "The schools on this list all do an exceptional job ensuring first freshmen students feel happy and supported enough to return for their sophomore year," Brownell Amondson said.

The ranking considered all regionally accredited colleges and universities recognized by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Retention rates were drawn from the most recent data available from the NCES IPEDS database and Schools sharing the same retention rate were ranked based on their overall graduation rates. 

College Choice is an independent online publication dedicated to helping students and their families find the right college. The site publishes rankings and reviews that make finding the best colleges for different interests easier and more fun, as well as resources to help students get into, pay for, and thrive at the school of their choice.

Jeremy Alder
Managing Editor
College Choice
(919) 745-8594

SOURCE College Choice

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