THE TOP TEN Schools with the Least Happy Students
Article provided by The Princeton Review
So, they may not be full of smiles and high fives, but it's because these hardworking students have decided that buckling down now means enjoying the spoils a little later in life. The Princeton Review's survey of 120,000 college students for "The Best 368 Colleges: 2009 Edition" revealed the top 10 schools with the least happy students. Read excerpts from the students' responses to the survey below.
Article provided by The Princeton Review So, they may not be full of smiles and high fives, but it's because these hardworking students have decided that bu...  more


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United States Merchant Marine Academy

Kings Point, N.Y.
"Producing the highest caliber of professional mariners in terms of character and ability" is what it's all about at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. The USMMA is not a carefree experience; the workload is intense. Life at USMMA is rugged and highly regimented. It's especially difficult for first-year students (called "plebes"), who "are on lockdown most of the time" and "who clean everything. Rather than having a janitor service for the barracks, the plebes clean, and if cleaning isn't done well, we get in trouble with the upperclassmen." While many underclassmen jokingly compare the plebe experience to being "in jail," they also praise the way the experience of being a plebe molds character. All students participate in a daily regimen of reveille, morning inspection, colors, classes, muster, more classes and drills. Another thing that makes the hard work worthwhile is the prospect of "incredible options when you graduate." Students who considered United States Merchant Marine Academy also looked at United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy and United States Military Academy.


New Jersey Institute of Technology

Newark, N.J.
Mathematics, science, technology and architecture offerings all shine at New Jersey Institute of Technology, but "you have to be serious about studies if you are choosing NJIT. There is no time for fun and games." Students groan about the demands made on them but also recognize the benefits; "NJIT is an intense academic university that allows students to be prepared for the working world," explains one architect. NJIT is "not the best school socially, but few engineering schools are," students here concede. Since "a lot of classes give amazing amounts of homework, it is hard to have a normal social life. Most nights are spent doing homework late, then getting a few hours of fun before passing out." When asked in what ways his school could stand to improve, one succinct information technologist wrote "girls," reflecting a sentiment running through much of the student body. The male-to-female ratio is about 4-to-1. Students who considered New Jersey Institute of Technology also looked at Drexel University; Rutgers University -- Rutgers College, The State University of New Jersey; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


State University of New York -- Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, N.Y.
Students in the science and tech majors describe the school as "challenging but worth it." Nearly half the undergraduates here pursue traditionally punishing majors such as biology, computer science ("one of the best undergraduate computer science programs," according to at least one student) and engineering. Stony Brook's administration "may consist of nice people, but it's pretty poorly organized. When there is some sort of paperwork involved, nothing ever goes right the first time around. Also, nothing is convenient, and you'll usually have to go in circles to get something done." Most students find the difficulties worth enduring and focus instead on how the school delivers "a great education for a reasonable price." While "a lot of students complain that there's nothing to do on campus," others counter that "the problem is that students aren't willing to put in the effort to find those activities." Hometown Stony Brook "is basically suburban. It is not the best college town. There are a few clubs and bars in the area that some students go to on Thursday nights. However, you have to have a car to get there. . . . If I want to have fun, I generally have to go into the city [NYC]. The city is about two hours away by train." Students who considered State University of New York -- Stony Brook University also looked at New York University, State University of New York at Albany and State University of New York at Binghamton.


Fisk University

Nashville, Tenn.
At a school as small as Fisk, "campus life can be boring," and many students say they are "sheltered and separated from the real world." With fewer than 1,000 undergraduates and limited finances, Fisk must focus its efforts on a few key disciplines. Departments that track to health care careers -- biology, physics, chemistry, nursing and psychology -- fare well here, as do computer science and business administration. For some (especially freshmen, who are not yet fully integrated into campus life and often lack automobiles), free time consists of little more than "going out to the yard to throw the football around or hanging in the lounge playing spades, pool or watching TV. Just enjoying one another's company is making our own fun." Nashville, however, is a great music town and offers quite a few tourist attractions. Students who considered Fisk also looked at Belmont University, Hampton University, Morehouse College and Spelman College.


Tuskegee University

Tuskegee, Ala.
A sense of history pervades Tuskegee's "beautiful" campus in eastern Alabama, and that's fitting; "Tuskegee is the only HBCU [Historically Black College or University] named by Congress as a National Historic Site." Academics are "challenging" here, with "excellent engineering and vet programs," setting especially high standards. The administration is an entirely different story. Let's just say that "if you can learn to deal with the administrative staff at this school, you will be able to handle anyone in the real world with class and grace." The biggest gripe from the students is that "registration is a hassle. It just doesn't run smoothly at all." About halfway between Montgomery and Auburn, off I-85, lies the sleepy little town of Tuskegee. "It's a great study environment" because "there are very few distractions." Many students believe "the closest place to go for fun is at least 20 minutes away, and a car is needed. It's in another city and no campus transportation is given." That other city is Auburn, where "you can always mingle with the Auburn University students," "go bowling, or do a little shopping." For those heading in the other direction, there actually is a school shuttle that goes to "Wal-Mart in Montgomery and a small mall." Even with all these options, some Tuskegee students still say, "Life is boring except for football games." Students who considered Tuskegee also looked at Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, Hampton University, Spelman College and Clemson University.


University of California -- Riverside

Riverside, Calif.
Life at Riverside can be "very calm, and the school's atmosphere in general is very quiet." Although the city of Riverside has "very little to offer in the way of entertainment," students compensate by joining various clubs and student organizations, including sororities and fraternities, which have a noticeable presence on campus. The school also offers "countless events, including free movie screenings, concerts, academic discussion forums, plays and trips." Popular campus hangouts include "a great rec center," "the student commons" and "a campus movie theater, where some of our classes are held." Students seem to agree, however, that "intercollegiate sports need more student support." Those with cars leave campus relatively frequently on the weekends, finding plenty to do outside of town; one student explains, "Within an hour's drive you can ski in the mountains, go sunbathing at the beach, visit a major theme park or even hang out in Hollywood for a day." Students who considered University of California -- Riverside also looked at University of California -- Berkeley, University of California -- San Diego and University of California -- Los Angeles.


United States Coast Guard Academy

New London, Conn.
If you're ready to "deal with military rules and discipline along with a rigorous engineering education" so that "in four years you get the job you've always wanted," the United States Coast Guard Academy may be the place for you. The workload is considerable. Cadets note that "It's like a cup of boiling hot chocolate: It smells good, you know it tastes good, but you have wait a long time to let it cool down in order to enjoy it fully." Others simply say that the demands make USCGA "a great place to be from but not always the greatest place to be." Life at USCGA, unsurprisingly, is highly regimented. One student sums it up: "We have to wake up at 0600 every day whether we have class or not. We have to have our doors open whether we're in our rooms or not from 0600 to 1600. They tell us exactly what we can and can't do, and what we can wear and what we can't. We have military training period from 0700 to 0800 and class from 0800 to1600. We all eat lunch together at the same time in a family-style fashion. Sports period is from 1600 to 1800. Military training period from 1900 to 2000. Study hour from 2000 to 2200. We all have to stand duty and play sports and get a certain number of community service hours. We can't drink on base, and we can't leave during the week. We have to make our own fun, which involves some creativity sometimes (and demerits), but our fun wouldn't appeal to most college students because it's silly and doesn't involve alcohol." Students who considered United States Coast Guard Academy also looked at United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Military Academy and United States Merchant Marine Academy.


New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology

Socorro, N.M.
New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology is not your standard-issue, state-run engineering and science degree factory. Entering students should expect "an intense, rigorous academic experience" designed "for serious students with a love for all things scientific, electronic or just plain nerdy." Surviving at Tech "involves a lot of work, and so students are usually very busy." Undergrads typically immerse themselves in their studies; they "think about school and getting smarter. That's all anyone thinks about. When you walk by people in the cafeteria, they're talking about algorithms. That's not a joke." Social life -- perhaps because the school is "located in the middle of nowhere" -- "is not so great. Every weekend, people leave town to go home or they get drunk. There are clubs to join and some things to do, but those activities are limited and often stop around midterms." Hometown Socorro offers "absolutely nothing to do" according to some, although others report that "there are a few cool hangouts if students really want to get out." "Males outweigh females heavily. As a male student, the male-to-female ratio feels like 15-to-1!" Students who considered New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology also looked at California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


State University of New York at Albany

Albany, N.Y.
The administration, as at most state-run schools, "is basically an over-bloated bureaucracy. Students are sent from department to department in each of their endeavors. It is advisable to avoid [the] administration if at all possible." A sizable group primarily complains about the cold weather and asserts that "there's nothing to do in Albany." One happy student also points out that "you have your unmotivated kids [who] complain, don't go to class and blame a bad grade on the professor (when really it is because they crammed the night before and didn't go to class)." Students who considered State University of New York -- University at Albany also looked at State University of New York at Binghamton, State University of New York -- Stony Brook University, State University of New York at Buffalo, State University of New York -- New Paltz and Syracuse University.


Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology "is all about the demanding work and promised payoffs" students report, warning that "the IIT experience is focused on the career afterwards. There is very little pizzazz about the atmosphere (it was designed by Mies van der Rohe, after all) and virtually no social life." Not that you'd have time for much of a social life here anyway, since "classes are difficult and lots of studying is required." Professors "in certain classes may barely speak English, or may be awesome teachers, it varies greatly," -- and sometimes, they're both. In the past, IIT has earned a reputation for having a dreary extracurricular life; the situation has improved somewhat, as "the school has put forth a great effort and a vast amount of money to create a school-sponsored program every single weekend." IIT's frat scene "offers numerous chances for social activities from sports to parties and community service," which, we're told, "makes life a lot more enjoyable." Others leave campus whenever they can spare the time away; ITT is only "five miles south of downtown Chicago." A lopsided male-to-female ratio means there are "barely any women on campus." Students who considered Illinois Institute of Technology also looked at Washington University in St. Louis, University of Michigan -- Ann Arbor and Case Western Reserve University.

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