Jun 25, 2011

The Most Beautiful College Campuses in the World—Maybe

What could be more subjective than a beauty contest among colleges? And yet, it’s no secret that how a campus “looks” is of more than passing importance to most college-bound students.

“I really don’t like colonial-looking colleges,” said one local high school junior. “Jeffersonian doesn’t do it for me.”

So much for UVa, the College of William & Mary, and the University of Mary Washington.

Other students focus on how surroundings affect campus feel. “I could never go to school in a city,” mused another prospective college student. “Suburbs are okay, but I want a real campus and not a series of city blocks.”

Could she have been referring to NYU or George Washington? Then again, beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder.

While studies have attempted to connect the quality of student life to campus beauty, the premise is flawed by sincere differences of opinion about what constitutes beauty.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop “experts” from trying to rank and judge campuses on this most subjective of qualities.

For what it’s worth, here is the Forbes list of the most beautiful college campuses in the world (note that only Princeton and Wellesley also appear on the equally subjective Princeton Review list of most beautiful campuses):

  • Kenyon College

  • Oxford University

  • Princeton University

  • Scripps College

  • Stanford University

  • Trinity College

  • Tsinghua

  • US Air Force Academy

  • University of Bologna

  • UC Santa Cruz

  • University of Cincinnati

  • University of Virginia

  • Wellesley College

  • Yale University

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