College life doesn't have to be limited to attending class, consuming junk food (among other vices), and cramming for tests until the sun rises. For students who wish to attain a more well-rounded collegiate experience, schools offer a myriad of extracurricular activities. These aren't only welcome distractions from daily drudgery, but can allow students to hone skills that may be important to their career, like working for a student newspaper, expanding their knowledge of international relations in a model United Nations, or simply meeting like-minded people who share the same interests, like badminton.
U.S. News has examined data related to extracurricular activities available to students on campus. Schools report how many organizations are registered on campus in their annual survey responses to U.S. News. Major public institutions like the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor, the University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign, and Ohio State University--Columbus have far more organizations than most smaller schools, each boasting at least 950 organizations registered on campus. However, these groups must serve student bodies that exceed 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
With that in mind, U.S. News calculated which schools had the most activities relative to their student population. The results showed that small liberal arts colleges tend to offer students the most extracurricular opportunities. On average, for every on-campus organization there are 83.4 students, among the 1,242 schools that provided both organization and enrollment data in the 2010 survey. There are fewer than 10 students per organization on the campuses that placed highest on the list, including Grinnell College, Fisk University, and Haverford College, all liberal arts colleges with enrollments under 2,000.
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Measuring the number of students per organization isn't necessarily the best indicator of the ability to participate in an extracurricular activity on campus, but it can give students a sense of where they'd have more opportunities in a leadership role in a group, college admissions consultants say. Larger schools that did not make this list tend to have a more diverse set of organizations to choose from thanks to their larger student bodies. "Having a vast array of options regarding extracurricular activities can be positive for the type of student that is able to navigate many options, network, and really connect well with others," says Claudine Vainrub, principal of EduPlan, a college admissions consulting firm. "[But] having too many club options might not work for someone who gets lost in a crowd."
|School Name||Total Enrollment||Registered Organizations||Students Per Club||U.S. News Ranking & Category|
|Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering||337||58||5.81||Unranked|
|Grinnell College||1,688||250||6.75||18, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Fisk University||636||85||7.48||122, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Haverford College||1,190||144||8.26||9, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Harvey Mudd College||757||90||8.41||18, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Bethel College (Kan.)||437||50||8.74||137, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Agnes Scott College||868||99||8.77||67, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Bethany College (Kan.)||592||65||9.11||44, Regional Colleges (Midwest)|
|Carleton College||2,009||196||10.25||8, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Pomona College||1,550||150||10.33||6, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Davis and Elkins College||1,743||165||10.56||27, Regional Colleges (South)|
|SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry||2,199||200||11.00||79, National Universities|
|Illinois College||894||81||11.04||158, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|St. John's University (Minn.)||2,020||180||11.22||62, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Claremont McKenna College||1,237||110||11.25||11, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Cooper Union||990||85||11.65||2, Regional Colleges (North)|
|Wesleyan University||3,148||270||11.66||12, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Kenyon College||1,633||140||11.66||32, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Randolph-Macon College||1,246||104||11.98||131, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Sweet Briar College||756||61||12.39||101, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
Don't see your school in the top 20? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find alumni giving rates, complete rankings, and much more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,700 colleges and universities for our 2010 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 comes 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.