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William and Mary students ranked happiest in U.S.

aheymann@vagazette.com

While Disneyland might be the happiest place on earth, the College of William and Mary is the happiest place for college students, according to the Princeton Review.

William and Mary was ranked number one in the “Happiest Students” section in this year’s edition of the Best 384 Colleges by the Princeton Review.

Rob Franek, editor in chief of the Princeton Review, said the list is developed from a survey posted online that 138,000 students completed. The survey is composed of 80 questions in four different categories: about themselves, the school’s academics and faculty at their school, about life at their school and about other students.

For the happiness ranking, Franek said students were asked to gauge their level of happiness on a scale of 1-5. The results determined which universities had the happiest students.

“William and Mary has been in the book for these 27 editions,” Franek said. “This is the first time in recent years they have been in that number one happiest student's spot, but they have been usual suspects on so many superlative lists.”

Unlike Disneyland, William and Mary doesn’t have rides or cartoon characters walking the campus, so how does it keep students happy?

Ginger Ambler, vice president for student affairs, said the college wants to help students succeed, and one of the ways to do that is to help students flourish in all aspects of their lives.

“Whether that's helping students find their place in the community, developing positive relationships, engaging in pursuits that are deeply meaningful to them, all of those things contribute to overall fulfillment in life,” Ambler said. “I like to think that this happiness ranking is a reflection of that broad William and Mary experience.”

William and Mary is on 12 of the top 20 college lists in the book, including “Their Students Love These Colleges” and “Lots of Race/Class Interaction.”

“Again, (the list) is not my opinion or the opinion of the Princeton Review,” Franek said, “but based off of what William and Mary (students) completed on their survey telling us about their experiences.”

Want to learn more?

To see all of the schools ranked and what lists they made, visit princetonreview.com/college-rankings/best-colleges.

Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.

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