48 Work Hard and Play Hard Colleges

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Where Students Balance Learning and Letting Loose

Hard work and dedicated study is surely an important part of succeeding in college, but as the proverb goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Many of the best schools throughout the nation understand the importance of balancing a rigorous curriculum with a fun and lively campus environment and put great effort into creating a space for students to relax, make friends, explore their interests and let loose a little.

The schools that follow are in the top 25 percent when it comes to graduation and freshman retention rates, and produce some of the highest-earning graduates. They also provide students with enriching campus lives, including sororities, fraternities and athletic programs. Students looking for a premium education and exciting campus culture: Read on.

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Spotlight: 48 Colleges That Work Hard and Play Hard


    Our rankings are a combination of academic data available from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the Department of Education, a Greek chapter list from GreekPages.com and crime statistics from Campus Safety and Security (CSS), which is also a Department of Education service.

    Minimum requirements to be considered as a school that Works Hard:

    • Be in the top 25 percent for graduation rates
    • Have a top 25 percent Freshmen retention rate
    • Report within the top 50 percent on student earnings after graduation

    What is considered when measuring the Play Hard component?

    • Schools have a large college athletic program presence in at least three major sports
    • Active chapters of a nationally recognized Greek Organization
    • Campus alcohol-related incident reports

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