10 Colleges Where Getting Involved Is Easy

Delece Smith-Barrow

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

For many college students, the memories made during an extracurricular activity -- such as the student government association or a sports team -- are just as valuable as what they learn from professors. Students may gain leadership experience or skills that can boost a resume.

Many schools have more than 100 clubs for students to bond and explore campus life beyond the classroom, but only some institutions have an amount of extracurricular activities that's relative to their student body size. These schools have a low number of average students per club, making it easier for undergrads to get involved with a group they enjoy.

At a school with an average of 55 students per club, for example, it may be harder for a student to become club president or find other ways to contribute to an organization.

[Consider five reasons to get involved in college.]

Scripps College had 962 students enrolled in fall 2012 and an average of 4.81 students per club. It had 200 registered student organizations and the lowest number of students per club among the 1,194 ranked institutions that reported registered student club data to U.S. News in an annual survey.

The California school is one of many National Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that award at least half of their degrees in liberal arts fields, on the list of colleges where it's easy for students to get involved. Hamilton College in New York had 10.07 students per club out of a student body of 1,884. Farther south, Georgia's Agnes Scott College had 885 students enrolled and 8.35 students per club.

The only National University -- a U.S. News category for schools offering a full range of degrees -- to make the list is SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, with an average of eight students per club. The New York school had 300 registered student clubs for 2,401 students.

[Make extracurriculars part of your U.S. college experience.]

All institutions included in the list of schools where it's easiest to get involved had less than 2,500 students enrolled in fall 2012. They had an average of 183.9 clubs and 7.74 students per club. Of the 1,194 ranked institutions that submitted data to U.S. News, the average number of students per club was 68.6.

Below is a list of the 10 schools where it is easy for students to get involved. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School name (state) Total enrollment (fall 2012) Registered organizations Students per club U.S. News rank and category
Scripps College (CA) 962 200 4.81 25, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Haverford College (PA) 1,205 229 5.26 9, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Grinnell College (IA) 1,674 250 6.7 17, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Pomona College (CA) 1,607 227 7.08 4, National Liberal Arts Colleges
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 2,401 300 8 86, National Universities
Agnes Scott College (GA) 885 106 8.35 89, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Harvey Mudd College (CA) 783 90 8.7 16, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Davidson College (NC) 1,790 200 8.95 9, National Liberal Arts Colleges
Bethel College (KS) 472 50 9.44 19, Regional Colleges (Midwest)
Hamilton College (NY) 1,884 187 10.07 14, National Liberal Arts Colleges

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find registered student clubs and organizations, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The student enrollment and organizations data above are correct as of Nov. 12, 2013.