Although Greek life offers benefits like community and housing, the lifestyle may not suit everyone's interests, personality, or budget. Beyond this, some students may not want to attend a school whose social atmosphere primarily revolves around Greek life and the drinking or partying culture it often fosters. Luckily, those who find aspects of Greek life unappealing can explore a wide selection of great colleges that avoid Greek life. Students at these schools make friends through other avenues, such as extracurricular clubs and organizations, campus events, and intramural sports teams.
Many colleges without Greek life identify as liberal arts colleges, religious schools, or women's colleges. Most boast a relatively small undergraduate student body, resulting in a tight-knit community of learners. Rather than meeting at Greek events and parties, students connect over shared interests such as art, politics, sports, culture, recreational activities, or faith. Some of these colleges pride themselves on not offering sororities or fraternities, understanding that their students find other ways to seek out community on campus. Most make a point of offering quality programs or unique residential living situations that help students make friends and lasting connections.
A Jesuit institution, Boston College enrolls almost 15,000 students. Despite this relatively large student body, it boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of only 12-to-1. Students at Boston College live in one of 29 residence halls, including a unique kind of housing called Living and Learning Communities (LLC) that cater to students with special interests. LLCs include an all-female hall, an honors hall, a multicultural learning hall, and even housing dedicated to healthy living and sustainability. Students can also live in traditional residence halls.
Students at Boston College can get involved in more than 270 student organizations, 31 intercollegiate sports teams, and 44 intramural sports programs. Student organizations cover a spectrum of interests, including baking, philosophy, martial arts, and table tennis. Those interested in arts and culture can also find events, activities, and programs through the school's McMullen Museum of Art and the Robsham Theater Arts Center.
Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University fosters a tight-knit community through its residential college system and small classes. For example, the school boasts an extremely small student-to-faculty ratio of only six students for every one faculty member.
The residential college system forms the backbone of student life at Rice. At the beginning of each year, the school assigns all freshman to one of 11 unique colleges. Each college boasts its own social events, dorms, dining halls, faculty advisers, lecture series, intramural sports teams, and system of government. Students remain in their college throughout their tenure at Rice, allowing them to form tight connections with fellow classmates.
Rice students can also select from more than 250 clubs and student activities. A varied selection of student groups includes a Chinese theater club, a rock climbing club, a sailing club, a meditation group, and a wildlife conservation corps.
Located on 1,000 acres of land in Amherst, Massachusetts, this College enrolls fewer than 2,000 students. As a small liberal arts school, it promotes diversity and inclusivity, encouraging a sense of belonging among its students. Students can get involved in more than 150 diverse student groups and clubs, including a club for cricket, juggling, knitting, poker, video games, and mountain biking. Students can also join organizations such as Partners for Animal Welfare, Reproductive Justice Alliance, and First Generation Association.
Although a small school, students at Amherst connect and work with those in nearby institutions. As part of the Five College Consortium -- a collaboration with four nearby schools -- students at Amherst enjoy an extended community that includes Mount Holyoke, Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Hampshire. Most of the schools' clubs and intramural sports teams accept members from all five schools in the consortium. Students at Amherst can also take academic courses at the partnering schools.
University of Notre Dame
|Notre Dame, IN||
Located in Notre Dame, Indiana, only 90 miles from Chicago, The University of Notre Dame serves as home to 8,500 undergraduate students. Although it identifies as a Catholic institution, offering regular masses and employing almost 100 priests, Notre Dame also promotes diversity among its students and faculty members, welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds.
In the absence of Greek life, residence halls serve as a nexus for social life and activity at Notre Dame. All freshman live on campus, as do a majority of upperclassmen, resulting in a strong sense of community and belonging. Each residence hall boasts its own culture and style, hosting unique social events and offering its own mascot, chapel, and rector.
The school also offers an incredibly large selection of clubs and organizations. Students can choose from over 400 student groups, including hispanic engineers and scientists, a fishing club, and a club dedicated to Shakespeare.
Founded as an all women's college in 1861, Vassar College now serves nearly 2,500 men and women on its campus in Poughkeepsie, New York. As a liberal arts college, it boasts 51 majors and a student-to-faculty ratio of only eight to one.
The school works hard to promote social events for students uninterested in party culture. Students at Vassar can attend more than 1,000 engaging campus events each year, including art exhibitions, dance shows, film screenings, plays, and other performances. Students interested in sports can join one of 27 intercollegiate teams or visit the college's pool, fitness center, or tennis courts. The school also boasts more than 170 student organizations, offering everything from a card club to an equestrian team.
Outside of school, students build ties within the larger community through community-engaged learning. Almost all departments at Vassar offer community-engaged learning opportunities in which students gain practical experience working at a local agency, organization, or business doing work related to their academic interests.
Located in Vermont's beautiful Champlain Valley, Middlebury identifies as a classic liberal arts college known for its top-tier language instruction and global studies programs. With a modest student body of 2,500 undergraduates, Middlebury boasts a small student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of only 16 students. It strives to create a close-knit community of students and essential connections with faculty and staff.
Students at Middlebury can find some kind of outlet for practically any interest. The school's Student Activities Team operates more than 170 student programs, including a calligraphy club, an a capella group, a Latin dance club, and even a log rolling club. The school's location also lends itself to outdoor recreation: students can take an outdoor skills course or sign up for organized excursions like backcountry ski trips and rock-climbing expeditions. The school's Center for Community Engagement connects civic-minded students with opportunities in the Middlebury community and beyond.
As an all-female private liberal arts college located on 500 acres of land in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Wellesley College serves as home to more than 2,000 women. The school boasts a highly active student body: 75% of students participate in some kind of internship and half of all juniors study abroad.
Students can also participate in one of the school's 160 student activities or 13 athletic teams. Although a handful of the school's student organizations boast Greek letters, they identify not as sororities, but as academic and intellectual societies. For instance, students can join a classics society, a political society, a lecture society, or an art and music society. Other academia-focused student organizations focus on interest like geology, photography, neuroscience, and history. Students wanting a more active organizations can join the ice hockey, sailing, or ballroom dancing club. Harry Potter fans can even join a Quidditch club.
Located in Northfield, Minnesota, a small riverside town less than an hour from Minneapolis and St. Paul, Carleton College offers more than 60 majors and academic programs. As a liberal arts college, it boasts small class sizes and personalized support, fostering an intimate academic environment. Outside of the classroom, Carleton students enjoy traditions like silent library dance parties, free late-night breakfast before winter finals, and a common space called the Cookie House, where students can hang out and bake cookies. Overall, the school works to create a strong sense of community, identity, and belonging.
With more than 200 student-run organizations, students at Carleton can make friends without the unnecessary structure of fraternities and sororities. The school boasts a documentary club, a folk music society, late night trivia, a black student alliance, a role playing association, and a mental health awareness collective. Team sports, outdoor activities like biking and cross-country skiing, and a recreation center with a rock-climbing wall and various fitness classes appeal to students who enjoy a more active lifestyle.
Located in Grinnell, Iowa, 200 student-run organizations fosters a sense of close community through its intimate housing options and free campus events. As a liberal arts college, the school strives for a holistic experience that focuses as much on personal growth as it does on academic development.
More than 80% of students at Grinnell live in campus housing. With roughly 50-60 students per residence hall, students form tight bonds with those living around them. Students can also make connections through one of Grinnell's 100 student groups, choosing from clubs focused on multiculturalism, athletics, food, religion and spiritualism, social justice and activism, politics, and performance, art, and publications. Highlights include a beekeeping club, a queer mentorship program, an international affairs club, and a gourmet cuisine society.
To promote wellness and safety on campus, the school sponsors sexual respect workshops, wellness seminars, alcohol awareness training, and counseling services. It also employs a team of safety officers.
|New York City, NY||
As a Jesuit, Catholic university located in New York City, Fordham University encourages students to make connections both within the Fordham community and the city at large. It boasts two campuses: an eight-acre Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan that serves as home to 7,000 students and an 85-acre Rose Hill campus in the Bronx that serves as home to 6,000 students. Both campuses offer a rich student life.
With more than 130 student clubs at the Rose Hill campus, and more than 50 at the Lincoln Center campus, everyone at Fordham can find a student organization that aligns with their interests or join one that stokes a new fascination. Students can join clubs focused on ballroom dancing, chess, meditation, robotics, songwriting, and deaf education and American sign language. The only student organizations with Greek letters serve as honors societies that connect academically rigorous students with similar interests.
Kalamazoo College, a four-year liberal arts school in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is home to about 1,500 students from all across the world. The school prides itself on offering an experiential education that blends class time with practical experience. It especially emphasizes civic engagement and service learning, offering course-based service learning projects and various student-led service projects such as Swim for Success and Goodwill Adult Literacy.
The school's highly active student body, all unaffiliated with Greek life, serves as a testament to the school's commitment to community engagement. Nearly one out of four students participate in some kind of student athletics; additionally, 70% of graduates study abroad, and 71% participate in a career development program. Students can also get involved in more than 70 student organizations. In addition to clubs for those interested in investment, anime, film, computer science, and even squirrel watching, Kalamazoo College offers organizations for progressive women, black students, and muslim students.
Fashion Institute of Technology
|New York City, NY||
More than just a school for fashion and design, the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City fosters creativity, global thinking, entrepreneurship, and leadership among its students. The school also encourages students to create connections with those of different disciplines and backgrounds, building a greater sense of community and partnership on campus.
In addition to community service opportunities, students at FIT can participate in more than 60 student clubs. Alongside clubs dedicated to specific areas of fashion like home products, textile and surface design, and menswear, students can also explore ceramics, international trade, film, and cheerleading. Students interested in fitness can join an intercollege sports team or take classes in dance, yoga, Zumba, pilates, and core training.
The school also remains dedicated to student safety. In addition to designated security officers in each residence hall and academic building, FIT offers an anti-violence education group and participates in both domestic violence awareness month and sexual assault awareness education month.
Founded in 1794 as a nonprofit liberal arts college, Bowdoin College enrolls roughly 1,800 students. During their first year at Bowdoin, students live in one of eight residence halls on Bowdoin's main campus in Brunswick, Maine. Known as "bricks," these first-year residence halls serve as a focal point of social activity and community engagement. After their first year, students select from a variety of housing options, including upper-class college houses, residence halls, and apartments.
Bowdoin also hosts a variety of community-building programs, such as an annual event called Dinner with Six Strangers, in which students and faculty members sit down together for a free catered meal. Students can also join an intramural sports team, go on an alternative break trip, or join one of many volunteer corps groups.
Bowdoin also prioritizes campus safety, staffing 32 officers who regularly patrol buildings and residential areas on campus. The school also offers a shuttle that students can access after sundown.
Founded more than 200 years ago in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams College now serves as home to roughly 2,000 undergraduate students. As a small, private liberal arts college, it boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of only seven to one, offering 36 undergraduate majors and two graduate programs in development economics and art history.
The school began to phase out fraternities in 1962. First-year students live in residence halls, while upperclassmen can choose from campus residence halls and senior co-ops. Although the college prioritizes residential housing, it allows some seniors to live off campus. This emphasis on residential living helps solidify the school's sense of community. Students can also connect through the school's many registered student organizations. As the college formerly denounces hazing, no organizations can legally practice it.
Located in Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College identifies as an all-women's liberal arts college. Although it only admits women as undergraduate students, its graduate programs remain open to both men and women. Despite a relatively small undergraduate student body of roughly 2,500 students, learners at Smith enjoy the larger community of nearby colleges Holyoke, Amherst, Hampshire, and the University of Massachusetts -- institutions that constitute the Five College Consortium.
In addition to 11 varsity sports teams, the school also boasts various club and intramural programs. Students can participate in 120 different clubs and organizations, most of which welcome all students from the Five College Consortium. Students can get into synchronized swimming, participate in social-justice and institutional-change organizations, or join a Celtic music ensemble. The Office of Student Engagement also puts on a variety of student events and programs, such as concerts, mixers, and dance parties.
Harvey Mudd College
Unique among liberal arts colleges, Harvey Mudd identifies as a top-tier college for math, science, and engineering. In order to blend the disparate worlds of STEM and the humanities, the school infuses all nine of its science-related majors with a core of humanities and social science courses. The Mudders Care for Mudders program evinces the school's dedication to community and well-being, ensuring that no student goes without the support that they require.
Harvey Mudd enrolls fewer than 1,000 students. As a result, nearly all students live on campus, resulting in a close-knit community of learners and educators. Students live in one of nine residence halls, each with its own unique culture. Dorms feature courtyards and lounges where students can hang out and socialize. People also get together as part of the school's many clubs and organizations. Highlights include a Nerf club, a horror games club, an ice cream club, and a jam society. Set in Claremont, California, students can also find limitless activities in the areas surrounding campus.
Located in Lewiston, Maine, Bates College boasts small class sizes and almost 40 different majors. Founded in 1855 by abolitionists, it now serves as home to 2,000 active undergraduate students, nearly a quarter of whom come from underrepresented backgrounds. Despite the campus' rural location, the school's multicultural center ensures that all students feel comfortable and welcomed. The school also offers a specialty program called Bobcat First! that fosters community among first-generation college students. It also hosts monthly faculty dinners that connect students and professors.
As a school that prides itself on its commitment to diversity and equity, all student organizations remain open to anyone who expresses interest. With more than 90 student organizations, including a multilingual creative writing club, a real estate club, and a triathlon club, students of all backgrounds can connect with others who share their interests.
Bryn Mawr College
|Bryn Mawr, PA||
Located 11 miles outside of Philadelphia in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College serves an undergraduate class of 1,350 women and a graduate class of 400 women and men. As a women's college, Bryn Mawr creates close connections and lasting friendships between students. The college's connection with the nearby colleges of University of Pennsylvania, Haverford, and Swarthmore further augment students' social circles.
The school explicitly prohibits fraternities and sororities on campus, believing that "students are better served by the numerous non-exclusive student clubs and organizations which exist on campus." In this spirit, students can choose from a diversity of clubs and organizations. They can help with the community garden, join the Egyptology club, or celebrate their love of tea with the Dao Cha tea club, which holds regular tea sessions and related events like mug-making workshops. Students can also join a sketch comedy troupe, a dance club, and sports clubs dedicated to skiing, snowboarding, swimming, rowing, ping pong, or badminton.
Mount Holyoke College
|South Hadley, MA||
Located on 700 acres in South Hadley, Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke identifies as one of the Seven Sisters -- seven women's liberal arts schools that, during the time of their founding, served as the equivalent to the male-dominated Ivy League schools. Today, Mount Holyoke houses more than 2,200 students from all over the world. More than a quarter of students come from other countries, while another quarter belong to a minority group, resulting in a vibrant and diverse student body. The school also boasts a nine-to-one student-to-faculty ratio, creating an intimate, close-knit community of learners.
More than 100 student organizations cater to the student body's diverse set of interests. Students can choose from academic clubs, sports clubs, political clubs, entertainment and performing arts clubs, and cultural and ethnic organizations. Special-interest clubs include the Conscious Poets Society and a role-playing club called the Renegades. The office of student programs also hosts a variety of programs; these include Pangy Day, a campus-wide celebration that coincides with Earth Day.
Located in Amherst, Massachusetts, Hampshire College participates in the Five College Consortium, meaning students enjoy access to a larger selection of clubs and programs offered at neighboring colleges. On campus, residential housing functions as a nexus of social life. Students can choose where they live according to lifestyle preferences like quietness and cleanliness. They can also join a living and learning community in which they live with other students committed to certain interests, such as sustainable living or wellness.
The school boasts more than 160 student groups, offering everything from a biochemical baker's collective to a Harry Potter club. Students can also get involved in the school's outdoor programs, recreation, and athletics offerings, pursuing team sports and other interests like whitewater rafting, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and martial arts. Because the area around campus offers exceptional mountain biking trails, the school boasts a bike shop where students can borrow a bike. The campus also features a pool, sauna, climbing wall, and tennis courts.
As a Catholic, Dominican liberal arts college, Catholic values inform the culture, academics, and daily life at Providence College. Students attend mass on the school's campus in high numbers and the school employs a large percentage of Catholic faculty. That said, the school welcomes students of all faith backgrounds, including those who do not subscribe to any organized religion.
Located in Providence, Rhode Island, Providence College serves as home to nearly 5,000 students, including undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. To create a sense of community, belonging, and fun, the school's Office of Student Activities and Cultural Programming puts on a number of events that bring students together, such as trivia nights, "bubble" soccer games, and open mics. Students can also connect through more than 100 clubs and organizations, including a guitar ensemble, outdoor adventure club, and students for social action.
A private, residential, all-women's liberal arts school, Scripps College rests on 32 acres of beautiful land in Clareland, California. As part of the Claremont Colleges -- a consortium of five other colleges in the Claremont area -- students at Scripps participate in sports programs and student organizations with students from these associated schools. As a result, students at Scripps gain the benefits of an intimate, all-female cohort while still enjoying the larger community provided through the other Claremont Colleges.
As a residential college, nearly all students at Scripps live on campus. The school offers a variety of housing options, including residence halls, houses, living learning communities, and thematic communities. Students can live in a STEM and pre-health living learning community, a "bridges living learning community" that focuses on cultural experiences. Outside of housing, students can join one of the school's many clubs and organizations, including a club that knits for charity, an outdoor women's' leadership group, and an ocean initiative club.
Located 11 miles outside of Philadelphia in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College offers a private liberal arts and engineering education. The school's campus comprises more than 400 acres of rolling hills and hiking trails. The idyllic setting coupled with intimate classes (a student-to-faculty ratio of eight to one), creates a nurturing environment for roughly 1,600 students. As a result, more than 95% of students live on campus.
Students at Swarthmore stay busy with more than 100 student clubs and organizations. Some highlights include a Chinese music ensemble, a writing and spoken-word collective, and a tricking and gymnastics club. As part of The Good Food Projects, students can learn about sustainable food while gaining practical experience working on the campus farm. Active students can join a rugby, fencing, badminton, and ultimate frisbee team, while civic-minded students can connect with peers and discover volunteer opportunities at The Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility.
University of Portland
More than 4,000 students in Portland, Oregon, call the University of Portland home. Nicknamed "The Bluff" due to its unique location overlooking the city and the Willamette River, the school encourages students to commit to residential living. With almost 95% of students living on campus, the school brings students together through intramural sports, outdoor recreation, ministry programs, and volunteer opportunities.
Each year, the school puts on an activities fair where students can discover new opportunities for fun and recreation on campus. With more than 80 clubs and organizations, including sports clubs, ROTC clubs, diversity and cultural clubs, and academic clubs, everyone can find something to fits their interests. Students can join a feminist discussion group, an ultimate frisbee team, a Hawai'i club, a Native American association, or a board games club. The only Greek letters belong to the school's co-ed business fraternity.
Hood College rests on 50 acres in the vibrant town of Frederick, Maryland, less than an hour from Washington D.C. and Baltimore. With only slightly more than 1,000 undergraduates and less than 1,000 graduate students, Hood College fosters a sense of close community among its student body. The average class size hovers around 15, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 11 to one. As an independent liberal arts college, it offers more than 30 majors and pre-professional concentrations for those interested in veterinary science, medicine, law, and dentistry.
Without Greek life on campus, students stay busy with events, clubs, sports, and activities. While the school does support more than a dozen organizations with Greek letters, they all serve as honors societies, connecting students with similar academic interests. Students can also connect through nonacademic clubs like music theater, Russian culture club, and an electronic music production and DJing club.