These days, cramming four freshmen into one teeny tiny dorm room with bunk beds, cinder block walls, and a communal bathroom down the hall are long gone. Colleges all across the nation have stepped up their game to meet the changing demands of a brand new generation of students by entering into an “amenities arms race.” In order to successfully lure the best and brightest to their campuses, various schools are now offering numerous resort-quality perks that further pamper high school kids with often outlandish modern conveniences that’ll have even parents wanting desperately to flock back to their undergrad years.
Ever-so-posh on-campus living has become the ultimate norm—a 2006 study published by the Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers even found that “poorly maintained or inadequate residential facilities” were one of the top reasons students rejected enrolling at certain institutions. Today, luxury is at its insane best in both private and public universities, with drool-inducing amenities from rooftop pools, volleyball courts, and spas, to requisite granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, custom designed furniture, and walk-in closets. Yet while many of these vacation-like schools sounds more like Club Med than actual “college institutions,” there are still plenty of buildings all around campus with private study rooms and dedicated quiet floors geared specifically towards what matters most—learning. So don’t worry (the additional amenities just happen to be a super awesome extra bonus)! Here are ten college campuses in the U.S. that look (and feel) like resorts.
1. Michigan State University – East Lansing, MI
MSU has it all. From coffee houses, cybercafés, and serene art galleries to relax and work on group projects in, to indoor/outdoor fireplaces, gourmet BBQ grills, well stocked gyms, heated year-round pools and saunas, tanning beds, dog parks, and even an ice-skating rink just for students—yes, you read right, an i-c-e-s-k-a-t-i-n-g rink— college has and never will be this much fun.
What’s more is that private shuttle buses take students to and from classes during the weekdays and are promptly driven to and from nightlife hot spots on the weekends. Gourmet dining options run aplenty as well, as students with more refined palates can appreciate the award winning culinary excellence offered at North Quad’s dining hall. The internationally themed menu features unique items like lamb and shark that are always plated to pure perfection. High school graduation can’t come soon enough because come September, we are so there.
Michigan State University is located in East Lansing, Michigan at 220 Trowbridge Rd.
2. University of Central Florida – Orlando, FL
Historical buildings and palm trees can be seen everywhere on this stunning campus, which literally resembles a luxury-style vacation resort featuring putting greens, fitness centers, aerobics rooms, lap pools, running tracks, swings, tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, as well as six-themed lounges for students to hang out in. These awesome hotspots include “Joe’s Diner,” a fifties-themed diner, “The Upper-Deck,” a rec room with plasma screens, “The Spotlight,” a karaoke lounge, and “The Morgue,” a quiet room to hit the books in, among others.
Plus, most of the school’s state-of-the-art, Mediterranean-style educational buildings include over-the-top high-tech classrooms, computer labs, executive education centers, and easy-access Internet bars with both Apple and PC stations. There’s also a 200-seat training dining room and bar to check out, a 400-seat auditorium, a beer and wine laboratory, and various test kitchens. Yum.
University of Central Florida is located in Orlando, Florida at 4000 Central Florida Blvd.
3. Texas A&M - College Station, TX
Surrounded by on three sides by crystal blue waters, this Texan student favorite allows for both an inland and coastal college experience that anybody is sure to love. It’s been deemed as “The Island University,” and along with a wide assortment of stellar programs, including Business, Education, Health and Nursing, Science and Technology, among many others, the magnificent campus seems very much like a Hamptons resort, especially with the two-story clubhouse with wood-shingle exterior that’s visibly on site.
Plus, A&Mers are always encouraged to take advantage of the numerous amenities that are offered, such as tanning beds, pet-washing stations, walking/hiking trails, poolside jumbo screens, on-site yoga and fitness studios, and more than enough tennis and sand-volleyball courts to play in. There’s even a horseshoe and cornhole pit for those looking for something a little different.
Texas A&M University is located in College Station, Texas at 1266 Tamu #157.
4. Arizona State University – Tempe, AZ
Students will very likely forget all about ‘school’ with this perk-filled desert campus that features everything from a 1,200-bed student-housing community to an oversized outdoor movie screen, an array of sauna steam rooms, golf simulators, and a 300-foot-long "lazy river" water feature that’ll leave you too dazed and confused to remember when exactly your next class happens to be. Beware, my friends, because ASU is resort-worthy and utterly too tempting to handle.
Arizona State University is located in Tempe, Arizona at 1711 South Rural Rd.
5. Pepperdine University - Malibu, CA
Breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean aside, the picturesque campus of this Californian favorite boasts a truly vibrant atmosphere with lush landscapes and buildings constructed in a Mediterranean Revival style that will have you awestruck for years upon end. Seriously, college in Malibu already sounds amazing. Add on some hotel-style living, and you have yourself a nice Hawaiian-like resort that also just happens to offer a faith-based learning experience and rigorous academic standards-- along with the already bountiful array of student perks.
Pepperdine University is located in Malibu, California at 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy.
6. University of Hawaii at Manoa - Honolulu, HI
When you think of colleges on the beach, this one is sure to come quickly to mind. Yes, the campus is an island that’s surrounded by miles of beautiful beaches and bordered by lush green landscapes that contribute even further to its vivid, happy-go-lucky atmosphere. With gigantic mountains on one side, the Pacific Ocean on the other, and some Japanese gardens at the school's East-West Center right smack dab in the middle, UH is the ultimate place for students hoping to cruise through four years of gorgeous nature-filled fun.
University of Hawaii at Manoa is located in Honolulu, Hawaii at 2500 Campus Rd.
7. Boston University - Boston, MA
Luxury style condominium dorms. Need we say more? This popular Massachusetts institution offers some of the swankiest housing options students will ever dream of living in-- even after they graduate. The various tall and gleaming glass structures on campus offer sweeping views of the university Hub, and has been described by the Boston Globe as some of the “most opulent residence halls to ever grace the local college landscape."
Each "dorm" features private bathrooms, walk-in closets, lounges with flat screens, soundproof music rehearsal spaces, and washers/driers that can alert students via computer when their loads of laundry are fluffed and done. Forget flimsy shower curtains, mini-fridges, and bunk beds, kiddies, because living is so much more better at BU. It may even be more rad than the big bad real world you’ll be thrust into once getting that diploma. So enjoy it while you can.
Boston University is located in Boston, Massachusetts at One Silber Way.
8. University of Missouri - Columbia, MO
It’s no huge surprise that Mizzou’s recreational center was named by Sports Illustrated as the best this country has to offer-- the 293,000 square foot gym cost $50 million to build and offers students everything from a palm-tree-shaded lazy river with a waterfall and over a hundred cardio machines, to the resort-quality “Tiger Grotto” that’s complete with whirlpools, saunas, hot tubs, and a cave-like swimming pool inspired by the infamous grotto at the Playboy Mansion. Good Lord have mercy.
University of Missouri is located in Columbia, Missouri.
9. Michigan Technological University - Houghton, MI
This one’s got an on campus ski resort. Yes, no kidding. MTU boasts a real-life ski resort right in the heart of its already stunning campus. The “hills” are basically free for all attending students, which, in itself, is already a major score. Choose to major in Latin or Poly Sci, but minor in something epic like ‘shredding the gnar.’ Plus, there’s always Mont Ripley, one of the snowiest "mountains" in the U.S., which offers 112 acres of ski terrain, 24 runs, and two chairlifts. Yes, please.
Michigan Technological University is located in Houghton, Michigan at 1400 Townsend Dr.
10. University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH
This one’s the ultimate dream come true for all those upperclassmen fitness nuts who’ll no doubt have a blast in a rec center filled with over two hundred machines, an Olympic-sized lap pool complete with a current channel (i.e. an indoor river for those hoping for an upstream workout), a suspended indoor track, a six-court gym, and a 40-foot climbing wall.
When it comes to luxury living, things get even better. Private bedrooms run amuck all over campus, as well as super convenient on-campus stores and “taste stations” offering student with all-too-many dining options that beat out that typical old cafeteria hall food you can’t wait to get away from. What more could you want and need?
University of Cincinnati is located in Cincinnati, Ohio at 2600 Clifton Ave.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.