Newsweek Magazine named UC Davis the 10th happiest school in the nation out of 25 schools ranked.
According to Newsweek, the ranking was based on six categories: dining, housing, nightlife, amount of sunny days per year, student-teacher ratio and the average indebtedness at graduation.
Using z-values, a measure of whether a value is above or below the average, Newsweek was able to calculate the happiest schools in the country. It used College Prowler to find dining, housing, and nightlife grades, Sperling’s Best Places to find the number of sunny days per year and College Board for student-teacher ratios and average indebtedness at graduation.
UC Davis was given an A for dining, an A- for housing and a B for nightlife. The school also has approximately 267 sunny days per year, a student-teacher ratio of 15:1 and $16,659 indebtedness at graduation.
When asked why she believed UC Davis was considered a happy campus, Chancellor Linda Katehi said the school offers various activities and clubs that allow students to freely express their interests.
“To begin with, we have a beautiful campus, typically bathed in sunlight, a lively intramural athletics program and exciting Division I athletic competition and our famous Aggie Pack ensures students get involved in all things Aggie,” Katehi said in an e-mail. “Our campus is home to a world-class performing arts center and, with some 500 clubs, our students can get involved.”
The diverse range of academics also allow for students to vary their academic pursuits.
“There is the extraordinary breadth of academic choices available to [students] – more than 100 majors – and the interdisciplinary richness afforded by our rare constellation of programs in human and animal medicine, engineering, law, management, education, the biological and physical sciences and the arts and social sciences,” Katehi said. “We offer considerable opportunities to conduct undergraduate research, study abroad and help shape public policy.”
Although the objectivity of a happiness ranking is controversial, some students were pleasantly surprised to hear about the ranking.
“It’s interesting to hear that there is such a thing as a happiness ranking and I think it’s awesome that our school was able to be ranked among other prestigious universities,” said Crisol Jimenez, a sophomore psychology major.
Another student believed the ranking was too subjective and unnecessary.
“Although I am proud to say that UC Davis is considered a happy school, this type of ranking is more for entertaining the masses,” said Smriti Shamapant, a sophomore neurobiology, physiology and behavior major. “I don’t regard this ranking very seriously, truthfully.”
Other UC schools were also on the list. UCLA and UC San Diego placed 14th and 25th, respectively.
“So really, our students are happy because there is something for each one of them to feel inspired and contented,” Katehi said.
CLAIRE TAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.