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News / Northwest

Study ranks 50 most beautiful college campuses in the country. Three are in Washington

By Karlee Van De Venter, Tri-City Herald
Published: August 12, 2023, 1:48pm

Choosing a college is a important decision influenced by a plethora of factors. Young adults are tasked with deciding where they’ll spend the next several years of their life without knowing which factors are important to them. What should be considered? Tuition? Class size? Food options? All of the above?

What’s most important is finding the college that is right for the student, whatever factors that entails. The more a potential student knows about a college, the easier it is to find the right fit.

The little details factor into overall student happiness on a college campus. In fact, research suggests that attractive environments lead to increased productivity. If your surroundings influence your output, then looking at the perceived beauty of each campus could be an important detail.

College Rover, an online guide of college information focused on helping students make informed decisions, released a recent study on the most beautiful campuses in the country, with rankings for the top 50. This was done by compiling reviews of colleges on Yelp and TripAdvisor, according to the methodology. The total number of reviews was compared to the use of the word “beautiful.”

Beautiful colleges in Washington State

Three colleges in the Evergreen State made the Top 50 most beautiful campus list, including one in the top five. The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma was named third-most beautiful campus in the country, with around 70% of reviews referencing its beauty.

The school is colloquially referred to as “Hogwarts,” because it resembles the fictional school. The campus is dotted with large, brick buildings covered in vines and other plants. The outdoor spaces are green and lush, with views from indoors through large windows in most buildings.

Elsewhere in Washington state, Whitman College in Walla Walla was ranked in 12th place, with 57% of reviews referencing its beauty. The University of Washington in Seattle was ranked 43 with a 45% reference rate to beauty.

Several other Washington colleges were included in the study but not ranked. This abundance of beautiful campuses scored Washington 10th place for states with the most beautiful campuses. Maine took first place.

Most beautiful colleges in America

By region, the south had a majority of high-ranking college campuses, according to College Rover. But the Pacific Northwest held its own, and the University of Puget Sound’s views of Mount Rainier may have clinched the number three spot for the region.

The ranking’s Top 5 most beautiful college campuses are:

  • Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina
  • Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee
  • University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington
  • Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee
  • Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia
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