When it comes to college, being smart and being athletic doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
We worked with college database Niche to come up with a list of schools where students are both athletic and smart.
To create this list, Niche culled data from students at colleges around the US, who rated their schools in a number of categories, including academics and athletics.
Many of the schools on the list are big, sports-driven schools — Penn State and UConn, for example — but other, smaller ones known more for their academic prestige — like Princeton and Williams College — also rank highly not just for participating in varsity sports, but also joining intramurals, going to the gym and, of course, having team spirit.
We’ve included some quotes from students on Niche to show why each school made the list.
'I am on the swim team, which is the most developed and competitive team on campus. It's a great experience and we have a lot of alumni support. The professors respect what we do for the most part and help us to balance the workload.'
Visit Niche for more information on Kenyon College.
'Athletics are huge at IU and are a big part of the experience at Indiana University.'
'Everyone here is really good looking, but pretty smart too.'
Visit Niche for more information on Indiana University at Bloomington.
'A lot of students are involved in at least club or intramural sports. Some teams including Quidditch and Squash do extremely well each year. Others are more laid back and just for fun.'
Visit Niche for more information on University of Richmond.
Columbia, South Carolina
'Mostly all of the student body is involved with varsity athletics.'
'Most students on campus are clean cut, smart, friendly and great to meet.'
Visit Niche for more information on University of South Carolina.
Davidson, North Carolina
'It is a very fit student body and people are always working out on their own or with a club or intramural.'
'Grad schools and employers both agree that Davidson students consistently have some of the best recommendations.'
Visit Niche for more information on Davidson College.
'Almost everyone is in some way active at Wheaton, and many are involved in varsity sports. Most popular during the fall season are the men and women's soccer teams and the football team. School spirit is strong, and people attend regularly games and matches ...People here really like sports...'
Visit Niche for more information on Wheaton College.
'Everyone overall is very athletic. It seems that people do care a fair amount about their physical activity, along with their education.'
Visit Niche for more information on Villanova University.
Fort Worth, Texas
'Athletes are given plenty of opportunities to succeed and are respected amongst other students.'
'Texas Christian University has students that not only have high standards set for their academic success, but also believe in a high standard of living. (They are) prepared to take on the world at a national level as well as global level.'
Visit Niche for more information on Texas Christian University.
State College, Pennsylvania
'A lot of people are involved in sports, and football is a lifestyle here.'
'(The) majority of students are very active and are in great shape.'
'The typical student goes out regularly on weekends but also works extremely hard during finals, exams and the week.'
Visit Niche for more information on Penn State.
Hamilton, New York
'Students are the true embodiment of scholar-athletes, which is why Colgate has the highest graduation rate -- 100 per cent -- of all Patriot League schools.'
Visit Niche for more information on Colgate University.
'Athletics here are huge and it makes the school so much better.'
'In almost every case (people) are very well rounded students in the classroom and in their social life.'
Visit Niche for more information on Auburn University.
'The athletes are some of the most humble and skilled in the country.'
'Everyone is active and participates in athletics some way or another.'
Visit Niche for more information on Florida State University.
'Sports are a huge part of college life here but it isn't the most important which I really admire. School is the biggest part and then when you're done studying, there's always some type of varsity sport to watch.'
Visit Niche for more information on University of Washington.
'It's never hard to find friends in the dorms looking to toss around a football or shoot some hoops.'
'The University does a stellar job of selecting its students, therefore almost every student is well-rounded.'
Visit Niche for more information on University of Pittsburgh.
West Lafayette, Indiana
'Many students participate in a club or intramural sport simply because anyone can create a team (intramural) and they're really fun!'
'In general, both guys and girls at my campus are well put-together, intelligent, interested, and focused.'
Visit Niche for more information on Purdue University.
Clemson, South Carolina
'Clemson draws a lot of students who actively participate in or love to watch sports.'
'Their (students') interests are mainly sports, and of course maintaining their academic studies.'
Visit Niche for more information on Clemson University.
'UGA is a well-known commodity and continues to do a great job in improving its reputation nationwide. More and more students are earning Truman Scholarships, Rhodes Scholarships, and Ivy League acceptances each decade.'
'Athletics are everything here.'
Visit Niche for more information on University of Georgia.
'Everyone is athletic! So it's not uncommon to see muscle shirts in the middle of winter!'
'Both guys and girls are super athletic.'
'Everyone at Virginia Tech works very hard academically.'
Visit Niche for more information on Virginia Tech.
'People work hard -- the library is always filled with all sorts of people.'
'People are pretty athletic here whether they play a varsity sport or not.'
Visit Niche for more information on Bowdoin College.
'The general fitness of the student body's bodies can be attributed to the impromptu activities organised by the students.'
'Everyone is attractive and smart.'
Visit Niche for more information on Georgetown University.
College Station, Texas
'These kids WILL come out with a positive experience and be ready to make a difference in the workforce.'
'Texas A&M focuses a lot on staying fit and healthy.'
Visit Niche for more information on Texas A&M University.
'Intramural sports are huge, and while often dominated by Greeks, everyone participates in them.'
'At literally any hour of the day you can find somebody to study with.'
Visit Niche for more information on Baylor University.
'A lot of the students here participate in both varsity and intramural sports.'
'I like going to a smart kid school because it makes me feel like less of a nerd.'
Visit Niche for more information on University of Minnesota at Twin Cities.
New Haven, Connecticut
'The academic environment is collaborative, challenging, and overall superb.'
'Yale integrates intramural competitions with the residential college system, so everyone is always part of a team.'
Visit Niche for more information on Yale University.
'They don't call Storrs, CT the basketball capital of the world for nothing. Everyone knows our basketball programs have the greatest support out there, and students ooze school spirit.'
'Most (students) are pretty athletic; the gym is a very popular place.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Connecticut.
'Everyone is a bit nerdy, but in a good way.'
'Intramural sports between the colleges are a big part of campus life and widely participated in.'
Visit Niche for more information on Rice University.
'The athletics here are wonderful. Both varsity and intramural sports are shown much respect.'
'Free classes are offered to all students, ranging from cycling to kickboxing. Many people participate in intramurals, and almost everyone goes to some form of sporting event consistently.'
Visit Niche for more information on Ohio State University.
College Park, Maryland
'Maryland eats, sleeps, and breathes sports. Everyone participates and supports the teams.'
'Most guys and girls work hard to get their schoolwork done and do well on tests.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Maryland at College Park.
'Texas football is great, and the gyms for students have a lot of great equipment and are open at convenient times.'
'Sports are part of everyday life in Austin. We have our own local channel just for the university.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Texas at Austin.
'Both guys and girls got into UF because they are smart, so there is much studying and homeworking being done. There is a good balance between social and work life.'
'Our school spirit is ridiculously high, we literally bleed orange and blue.'
'Student involvement in intramural sports is greatly encouraged. Some of our varsity players actually double up and play on intramural sports teams!'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Florida.
'Students spend a lot of time on their studies, but still like to have fun and relax when time permits.'
'Campus is electric when the team is winning.'
'Intramural sports are pretty big on campus. It's a fun and relaxed way to get involved in a sport, without actually having to be too amazing.'
Visit Niche for more information on Northwestern University.
'Games are always fun and there are many traditions that make going to games a unique experience.'
'There is a club sport for everyone out there.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Coral Gables, Florida
'There are so many options for intramurals, everything from soccer to basketball to cornhole and ultimate Frisbee. A lot of people are involved, and it's open to everyone, not only athletic types.'
'Everyone seems to be working out at any time of the day and the wellness center is amazing!'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Miami.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
'Students are generally smart, friendly, attractive, and social.'
'Non-athletes also have plenty of resources and opportunities to express their athletic interests and abilities.'
Visit Niche for more information on Wake Forest University.
'Intramural sports are going on all the time.'
'The athletic facilities work very well for both students and athletes.'
'BYU has top notch academics that can't be rivaled.'
Visit Niche for more information on Brigham Young University.
Los Angeles, California
'Students here are very proud of UCLA and that is especially visible among students that attend sporting events. A lot of people are also involved in club and intramural sports.'
'Everyone seems to be really good looking and in shape!'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of California at Los Angeles.
'Smartest people you will ever meet.'
'Great mix of intellectual energy and creativity.'
'Since many of the facilities have been recently constructed, athletics is a huge part of the campus experience. Most everyone has either attended an athletic event and/or participated in sports.'
Visit Niche for more information on Georgia Institute of Technology.
'Intramurals are very popular and really fun! There are also club teams for people who miss the level of competition (or a higher level) they had in high school and the feeling of being on a serious team.'
'You will not leave a class without having learned something.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of California at Berkeley.
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
'There are so many great and smart people here who are passionate about learning and making a difference.'
'Club sports are our version of Greek life.'
'We are especially known for our championship hockey team. Those games are exciting with the arena backed and all the fans chanting and cheering.'
Visit Niche for more information on Boston College.
'Everyone who gets into UVA is smart, involved, and ambitious.'
'People have a lot of school spirit and are really involved in the athletics.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Virginia.
Los Angeles, California
'Most of the people there are really passionate about something which really creates a great school environment.'
'USC is an athletic hub, so even if students don't play for the university, they find ways to stay involved athletically.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Southern California.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
'Michigan athletics are the best! Tradition and excellence create a fun, energetic environment for students and fans.'
'A lot of students are involved in sports on campus, and our varsity teams do extremely well.'
'All the students care about what they're studying and put in a lot of work.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
'Vandy is a top tier school full of friendly, intelligent, and interesting people.'
'Football games are extremely fun, and the athletic facilities are fairly accessible and up-to-date.'
Visit Niche for more information on Vanderbilt University.
South Bend, Indiana
'Intramurals and dorm sports are super fun and many people get involved.'
'ND is a very sporty place and makes it easy to watch and play several different types of sports.'
Visit Niche for more information on the University of Notre Dame.
Durham, North Carolina
'Duke is great, fabulous school where the students study hard and play hard.'
'There is nothing quite like Duke basketball; just do a Google image search of 'Cameron Crazies,' and you'll get a taste of the spirit Duke students have. Sports give the campus a unified feeling, and create a really strong community.'
Visit Niche for more information on Duke University.
'Very athletic culture -- even the non-athletes find being fit very important.'
'Everyone on campus is athletic and the sports are the best in the nation.'
'Best professors and students in the world.'
Visit Niche for more information on Stanford University.
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