8 of the Healthiest Colleges in America—and Why

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healthiest colleges in every state | fall foliage at bowdoin college

Written by Sara Hendricks

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When someone ships off to a college, or graduates from a college, or thinks back on their time in college, it’s easy to make it all about themselves and their identity. Why else do these institutions of higher learning sell t-shirts, beer koozies, and baby onesies?

In the spirit of making something all about us, when we rounded up the healthiest college in every state, we decided that some universities deserved an extra shoutout. Colorado State University, for example, has an auxiliary Mountain Campus that allows students go on class excursions and bond at 9,000 feet of elevation (a worthy contender for the “High-Minded Student” award). Bucknell University, with its wealth of campus recreation activities and amenities—including a “natatorium,” which we’ve since learned is a fancy term for “indoor pool”—easily nabbed the “Summer Camp But Better” prize. You get the idea.

A note that these are all in jest, unless you attend or are a proud alum of one of these schools, feel a resonation deep in your core, and want to make it your whole personality. In that case, it’s all completely real.

1. University of Arizona: Most Likely To Leave The Party Early for a Full 8 Hours of Sleep

Frankie Lopez/ Unsplash
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

The University of Arizona has top-notch health services—and part of this involves its renowned sleep program. Four times a semester, students can learn strategies for improving sleep hygiene and falling asleep faster. They seem so effective, we’re certain students leave parties early to honor their sleep hygiene. (Which encourages falling asleep at a similar time each night, of course.) With access to that kind of information, what else could you do?

2. Bowdoin College: Bowdoin’ It Right

healthiest colleges in every state | fall foliage at bowdoin college
Michele Stapleton / Bowdoin College
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

Bowdoin College offers up all the idyllic amenities one might expect of a tiny liberal arts school burrowed up in Brunswick, Maine: Yoga and meditation classes, an organic campus garden, and a plethora of clearly-marked vegetarian and vegan dishes in the caf. During our research process, we found ourselves fixating on the school’s oft-mentioned (and possibly legendary) vegan banana bread. If you aren’t one of the 1,500-ish or so students who attend Bowdoin, that recipe is right on its website. Just FYI.

3. Bucknell University: Summer Camp But Better

Michaela Murphy / Unsplash
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

Pennsylvania’s winner, Bucknell University, has everything. There’s every kind of athletic court you might want, from racquetball to basketball to squash, an indoor pool (referred to by the university as a “natatorium”), a disc golf course, and a bevy of outdoor fields that can be used for intramural sports or just lying on a blanket and thinking about life. We think it’s probably a lot like being at summer camp—only better, of course, because you get to exercise your mind when you’re there.

4. Colorado State University: High-Minded Students

healthiest colleges in every state | colorado state university
Colorado State University
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

Lazy jokes abound about people who go to college in Colorado, and how they might, ahem, elevate their mind while there. But with Colorado State, this award is quite literal. The school has its regular campus, and then it has a mountain campus, where students can participate in workshops, field studies, or retreats at 9,000 feet above sea level.

5. University of Idaho: Most Likely to Take Over The World With An Army of Robot Butlers

University of Idaho alumni and friends gather to go rafting in Riggins, Idaho.
University of Idaho Photo Services
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

When it comes to revolutionizing wellness, it’s tough to beat the University of Idaho. The school employs a fleet of food delivery robots that can bring students a smoothie or salad (or other foods) whenever they’d like a li’l treat. It also boasts a robust outdoors program with various treks and adventures throughout the Idaho panhandle.

6. Johns Hopkins University: The “Let’s Unpack That” Award

Johns Hopkins University
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

Johns Hopkins University‘s world-famous medical programs extend to its students. This is true in all aspects of health—but the mental health offerings are especially noteworthy. Students can enroll in a Nutritional Therapy program, which allows them to work with an on-campus dietitian or nutritionist, or participate in mental health workshops or group and individual therapy with no out-of-pocket cost.

7. University of Mississippi: More Athletic Services Than There Are Letters in “Mississippi”

healthiest colleges in america | students using the climbing wall at ole miss
Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services / Thomas Graning
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

At Ole Miss, there’s no shortage of ways to stay active. In fact, some (namely, us) would say the school offers more athletic services than there are letters in the word “Mississippi.” On campus, you’ll find two huge recreation centers with weights, training services, CrossFit equipment, and more than 50 group fitness classes per week. There’s also an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a climbing wall. Once you’ve mastered these offerings, you can also get your personal training or yoga teaching certification on campus. 

8. Yale University: The Sensitive, Self-Aware Ivy

Jon Tyson / Unsplash
Leslie An / Sydney Knego

Yale isn’t like the other Ivies. It’s the soft, sensitive, and self-aware one, thanks to Yale Well. This is its on-campus wellness center that teaches students how to, you know, be well in all aspects, from eating to moving to caring for sexual and emotional health. Yalies can also meet with on-campus dietitians and play a variety of intramural and club sports, including squash. (Hey, we can’t bust all those stereotypes at once.)

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