College and food are two pretty important things in life. For all of you high school seniors out there debating where to go to school, worry no more. Coursework, class size and location shouldn't be your only criteria for picking the school that's best for you. Food keeps you alive and the food you eat at college should keep you happy.
I found the best college in each state based on food (from research done by Niche, so yeah that website is the real OG here) and compiled a list of results into one big, beautiful list.
1. Alabama: University of Alabama
Ranked #85 nationally, the University of Alabama is the top in the state. With eight meal plans and countless eateries including Chick-Fil-A and late-night favorites at Lakeside Diner, it is said that their "campus food never gets old."
2. Alaska: Alaska Pacific University
Alaska Pacific University is a teeny-tiny school with limited, but good food options. The university tries to make use of local ingredients which is why I chose this university to be #1 in Alaska. The quality of food is the top-rated category for this university.
3. Arizona: Prescott College
With a total enrollment of only 464 students, Prescott College is a private institution in Arizona that ranks 68th for best food nationally.
The college's dining cafe is known to offer healthy, vegan and vegetarian-friendly options in a relaxing atmosphere.
4. Arkansas: Hendrix College
Located in Conway, Arkansas is Hendrix College. Although Hendrix only has two eateries on campus—the Dining Room and the Burrows—it still ranks #25 nationally.
A college sophomore from Hendrix said, "the food is one of the best things about this campus...And the caf workers are absolutely the best." Doesn't sound like this campus dining can be beat!
5. California: California Baptist University
#6 nationally. Let that sink in. California Baptist University offers dining options such as their own originals—Brisco's and Wanda's—but also chains such as Subway and Chick-Fil-A. Convenience and variety score CBU high points.
6. Colorado: Colorado College
With a 15.8% acceptance rate and enrollment of just over 2,000 students, Colorado College is small and selective. Their food, however, offers a wide variety of entrées to accommodate any dietary need. The food is known to be fresh and local, even in the main dining hall, Rastall.
Colorado College ranks #43 nationally. Not bad, not bad at all.
7. Connecticut: Yale University
Not surprisingly, Yale ranks as the top school in Connecticut for food and #47 nationally. The Ivy League focuses heavily on including organic and sustainable ingredients in their recipes along with providing many vegan, vegetarian and ethnic options.
Of course the dining halls are aesthetically pleasing at Yale. Dressed with chandeliers, fireplaces and wooden walls, Yale's elegant dining quarters do not go unnoticed.
8. Delaware: University of Delaware
The state of Delaware didn't have a #1 ranked school, so I took it upon myself to decide.
After looking into reviews, University of Delaware seems to have the most options since it's the largest university in the state. Students say the food is hit or miss, but after time you can figure out which dining hall cooks what food is best. Plus, they have their own creamery!
9. Florida: Rollins College
Ranked right behind Yale at #48 nationally is Rollins College. Rollins students are not strangers to their own Domino's Pizza on campus.
You can satisfy more than just pizza cravings at Rollins by swiping your R-Card at the college's main dining hall, The Marketplace. To thwart the late-night munchies, students frequent The Grille which serves as the campus's top snacking venue.
10. Georgia: University of Georgia
The University of Georgia must have some bomb food to rank #8 nationally. Despite the menus being the same in each dining hall, students still have their fan-favorite cafeterias.
Bolton is known as the freshmen hall, but some will trot to O-House for better quality. Snelling is open 24 hours and is packed during lunch hours. Best (and most remote) of all is The Village Summit located on East Campus which provides fresh fruit smoothies and personal pizzas.
11. Hawaii: Chaminade University of Honolulu
Hawaii is another state that doesn't have a #1 school, so I chose Chaminade University of Honolulu. The all-you-can-eat buffet easily attracts students, even if the options do become more of the same.
12. Idaho: The College of Idaho
At Simplot dining hall, the food is prepared right in front of you and is all organic. Maybe that's why The College of Idaho is ranked #17, the students know exactly what they're about to consume when they sit down to eat.
The ice cream served at the dining halls is made by students, but I have to wonder if it's as good as the Creamery at my own university, Penn State.
13. Illinois: Wheaton College
The dining halls at Wheaton College are catered by Bon Appétit, therefore making this college one of the most highly ranked in the country based on food.
Home-grown apples and bananas and health-conscious recipes easily give Wheaton College the #16 national spot.
14. Indiana: Purdue University
Purdue has some loyal fans of their dining halls and many must-try foods on and off campus. Ranking #35 nationally can be credited to the university's multiple menus, variety of choices and easy accessibility.
It is not uncommon for upperclassmen to have underclassmen swipe them into the dining halls to fill their stomachs (and nostalgia) with a campus-cooked meal.
15. Iowa: University of Northern Iowa
Pizza is a hit at the #71 nationally ranked University of Northern Iowa. Ice cream is served at every meal and there is a DIY taco bar as well. Don't let that freshman 15 catch up to ya, with this list of helpful tips you have nothing to worry about.
16. Kansas: University of Kansas
The two most popular eateries on the University of Kansas's campus are The Union and Underground. The Union has a lot of seating, so it's often used as a workplace for students. Sandwiches, pizza, salads and fruit bars make for pretty typical dining experiences at this university.
17. Kentucky: Murray State University
Students of Murray State feel that the convenience of hours is top-notch at their university.
41% of students vote that Troom is the best food on campus, but following Troom is Winslow dining hall where you can find many first-year students dining. Murray State ranks #55 nationally, not too shabby, huh?
18. Louisiana: Southeastern Louisiana University
Favorites such as Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks and Panda Express can all be located on a map of Southeastern Louisiana University.
Ranking #77 nationally, this university is best known for its convenient hours and variety of food. The Mane Dish, an eatery in the student union, even has a menu that can be customized to your preference.
19. Maine: Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College coming in hot at #4 nationwide! Making your own omelets, decorating your own cupcakes and squeezing your own orange juice are only a few of many reasons to love the dining at Bowdoin.
The Bowdoin waffles (ingrained with Bowdoin's emblem from the waffle maker) are a definite must-have.
20. Maryland: Goucher College
With top ratings in healthy, ethnic and kosher foods, Goucher College comes in at #23 nationally.
Heubeck dining hall is the best on campus and I can't help to think it may be because this hall offers the student-favorite sushi dish.
21. Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts - Amherst
One UMass student said, "I like the food better at school better than at home" so there's that. At #3 nationwide we have the University of Massachusetts - Amherst.
Berkshire is the student's favorite traditional dining hall on campus, but if you're not into dining halls don't worry because there is also a Pita Pit. Say whaaat?
22. Michigan: Michigan State University
Totally Takeout is an accommodating food service for students at Michigan State. Plus, who doesn't love a corny, catchy name like "totally takeout"? I know I do.
At #22 nationwide, Michigan State has your typical dining hall food, but ask any student and they'll tell you that the Gallery or the Shaw Hall cafeteria are the best eateries at which to spend your meal points.
23. Minnesota: Gustavus Adolphus College
I can't say I heard about Gustavus Adolphus before this point in my life, but I wish I would've because this college ranks #7 nationally based on food.
From steak night on Thursdays to toasters available for crisping up your pizza or subs to personalized omelets, Gustavus Adolphus seems to have all the essentials, amiright? The Market Place is the go-to spot to catch a bite on campus.
24. Mississippi: Mississippi State University
Getting a 7/10 in the quality category is Mississippi State. Variety is lacking, but hey, at least what is being served tastes above average.
25. Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis
If food rankings were like the Olympics, Washington University in St. Louis would receive the silver medal. In other words, this university ranks #2.
It's rumored on campus that you can't have the same meal twice at this university, and when asked the best eatery on campus students agree there are too many great options to just pick one.
26. Montana: University of Montana
Two words: Food Zoo. Food Zoo is known to be the top dining spot on campus with a vegetarian line even attracts meat-eaters.
Not an underclassmen anymore? Lucky for you, UM has an equally delicious and variety-filled food court in UC Commons including Chinese, Mexican, a salad bar not to mention a vendor for local restaurant Doc's Sandwich Shop.
27. Nebraska: Union College - Nebraska
28. Nevada: University of Nevada - Las Vegas
University of Nevada - Las Vegas ranks #1 in Nevada by yours truly.
What is the students' eatery of choice? Balance Café in the Recreation and Wellness Center. So there ya go, workout and get yourself some ~healthy~ food afterwards.
29. New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire
At UNH, students are encouraged to write "napkin notes." These notes are comments/suggestions from students written on a napkin and dropped into a box outside of the dining halls. Each note is responded to via the napkin note board. UNH keeps the stomach's of their students happy, which in return rewards the university with a #15 ranking nationwide.
30. New Jersey: Princeton University
Freshmen and sophomores are required to have meal plans, so after two years most students are sick of the #DiningHallEats. Many students opt to join food clubs or co-ops their junior year in attempt to get some variety and avoid having to cook independently.
Princeton ranks #30 nationally—how is this university so good at everything?
31. New Mexico: Eastern New Mexico University
Students at ENMU can't decide whether The CUB or Ground Zero is the best dining option on campus, but one thing they do know is the food is easy to get sick of after first semester.
The food at ENMU is said to be best in the state because it has a real taste rather than a processed one.
32. New York: Cornell University
Coming in at #9 in the country is Cornell. The chefs at this university take pride in the food they prepare for the students and even upperclassmen tend to gravitate back to campus dining halls.
33. North Carolina: High Point University
You know you made a wise decision whenever your school has a bakery on campus. To no surprise, The Great Day Bakery is the student's favorite eatery at HPU. Oh, and not to mention, there's also a Steak House and Farmer's Market.
Is this place a college or a 5 star resort? I think HPU should be ranked #1, but I guess #39 nationwide isn't too bad either.
34. North Dakota: North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University...Another school chosen by me.
West Dining Center is the place to dine because if you don't like the buffet options, you can always get pizza. If you're gonna eat pizza might as well do it in college, right?
35. Ohio: University of Dayton
Accessible and delicious is the way that food is described from the #18th best foodie college in the country, University of Dayton.
The main complaint is that the meal plan is overpriced, but ya gotta pay the price (ha, get it? Price, please laugh) for yummy food.
36. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma
Want to score points with upperclassmen? Offer to take them to the Caf (AKA the main dining hall on campus). It's said that the only students to avoid or dislike the Caf are the ones who prefer to cook for themselves.
The University of Oklahoma ranks #39 according to the taste buds of college students.
37. Oregon: Lewis & Clark College
Who doesn't love a good omelet bar and fresh fruit? Students at Lewis & Clark University sure do! You can find these breakfast necessities at Fields Dining Room, nicknamed "the Bon," which is the main dining hall on campus.
Lewis & Clark comes in nationally at #61.
38. Pennsylvania: Gettysburg College
Quality of food at Gettysburg College gets a solid 8.8/10. I think it's safe to assume that's why this school is ranked in the top 20 nationally at #14.
This college has three eateries: Servo, Ike's and the Bullet Hole. You'll find traditional dining at Servo, Mexican cuisine at Ike's and fast-food at the Bullet Hole.
39. Rhode Island: Roger Williams University
#21 in Rhode Island is Roger Williams University. The Lower Commons was rated the best dining option on campus, and quality was the most highly-rated category.
Roger Williams uses Bon Appetit as their dining service to provide students with a variety of food choices.
40. South Carolina: South Carolina State University
61% of students at South Carolina State voted that the PIT is the best place to grab a bite on campus, so if I were you, I'd hit it up before Cafe or Pizza Hut.
41. South Dakota: Black Hills State University
TBH, I'm not too sure how this university got top rankings in the state because the reviews say the food is either 1) not thoroughly cooked or 2) freezer burnt. Totally different extremes, huh?
42. Tennessee: Vanderbilt University
Aye Vandy, comin' in at #34 nationwide—I see you. With 12 dining options on campus, I'd say it's pretty easy to keep your stomach full with foods you like. The top rated eatery on campus is The Commons.
43. Texas: Rice University
At Rice University, there are 11 on campus residences equipped with commons areas that act as dining halls and serveries that act as kitchens.
According to the students, the cooks aren't just cooks, they are true chefs. Rice ranks #12 nationally, so let's drink to that—at their top-rated eatery, The Coffeehouse.
44. Utah: Utah State University
Aggie Marketplace is the spot to hit on Utah State University's campus, according to students. Food seems to be pretty average at this university, but hey, it still earned the title best in the state of Utah.
45. Vermont: University of Vermont
Best parts of UVM? The quality and taste of food. The worst parts of UVM? An overpriced menu and lack of kosher variety.
So take it or leave it, UVM has its pros and cons. One thing students can all agree on is that the points plan is better than the unlimited food plan.
46. Virginia: Virginia Tech
This is the moment you've all been waiting for: Virginia Tech is the #1 ranking university in the country based on food. So all you foodies at a university other than VT, I feel for ya.
VT has a Qdoba on campus. ON CAMPUS. Yeah, I'd say VT deserves to be #1.
47. Washington: Seattle University
What do foodies rave over the most at Seattle University? The healthy and organic options. This category receives an 8.5/10 #ballin.
Seattle ranks in the top 50 nationally holding onto spot #38 like it's their job.
48. West Virginia: Marshall University
If you're hungry in Huntington, WV and happen to be on the campus of Marshall, students vote the Student Center Cafe to be top dog. Each dining hall at Marshall serves the same food, so you gotta take what you can get.
49. Wisconsin: St. Norbert College
With just under 2,100 students, St. Norbert just has one dining hall, but still ranks #29th in the country. How is this so? I think we can credit the vendors for this one.
Ed's is an on-campus coffee shop located in the library, Phil's stands as a grill and convenient store and Dale's is your sports lounge.
50. Wyoming: University of Wyoming
Panda Express, although a chain restaurant, is the top pick for students at the University of Wyoming (which is partly why I gave this university the #1 spot in Wyoming). Coffee shops are also a frequent sight on campus, so no need to worry about getting your caffeine fix.
Put dem eatin' pants on, boys and girls. College is where you'll spend four years studying, making friends and (most importantly) eating, so it'd be wise make a decision that your taste buds won't resent you for.