When you’re sober, choosing a college is about more than just its academic offerings. You also want to make sure it’s an environment that is conducive to your recovery. Unfortunately, college life is often characterized by heavy drinking and drug abuse. It’s a part of the college culture and this can make it hard to maintain your sobriety and be a successful student, especially when you’re faced with the rigors and stresses of everyday college life.
If you’re looking for colleges with lower rates of substance abuse in the U.S., the Princeton Review put together a list of some of America’s most sober colleges in the U.S. to help you. Here’s a quick look at the top 10 sober colleges in America, in ascending order, based on student ratings concerning the use of alcohol and drugs at their school, the number of hours they study each day outside of class time, and the popularity of fraternities/sororities at their school.1
- City University of New York–Baruch College (NY)
City University of New York—Baruch College is located in New York City and is primarily a commuter school. Students from all over the world attend this university and enjoy the perks of going to school in the midst of an exciting and bustling city. Most students don’t have the traditional college experience associated with living on campus, but there are many activities and organizations that serve as opportunities to be social while maintaining a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.2
- Grove City College (PA)
Grove City College is located in Grove City, Pennsylvania, about an hour from Pittsburgh. It is known for being one of America’s most rigorous Christian colleges and alcohol and drugs are not permitted on campus. Legal-age students are allowed to consume alcohol off-campus but are highly encouraged to do so responsibly and not to return inebriated. The college offers a vibrant social scene and affordable tuition, with 41 percent of students graduating debt-free.3
- United States Air Force Academy (CO)
The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado is a well-known and well-respected academy and all students are held to a high standard. Students adhere to a very regimented schedule and there is little room for leisure activities. However, when the time is available, most students take advantage of the nearby outdoor activities and the sights and activities offered in Denver, Colorado Springs, and other nearby destinations.4
- Gordon College (MA)
Gordon College is a Christian college in Wenham, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. It is a drug and alcohol-free campus and maintains conservative values and expectations regarding the behavior and conduct of its students.5 The beautiful campus and many outdoor recreational activities nearby provide many other options and activities to fill leisure time and many students travel into Boston by train or car (a quick 40-minute trip) weekly.
- Calvin University (MI)
Calvin University is a Christian university in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While alcohol is not allowed on campus, students who are of age may consume it off-campus but are encouraged to drink responsibly.6 Most Calvin students work hard but extracurricular activities like swing dancing, backpacking, sporting events, and attending the Grand Rapids downtown market are popular ways to spend leisure time.
- Wheaton College (IL)
Wheaton College is a Christian school located in Wheaton, Illinois. Adults- (including faculty, staff, and graduate students) are asked to use “careful and loving discretion in any use of alcohol.” But they’re asked not to drink when undergraduates are present.7 Many students spend their leisure time attending music events on campus, playing intramural sports, geocaching or attending campus events like lip-synching battles or art festivals. The college is also just a short train ride away from Chicago, which offers plenty of exciting activities.
- United States Naval Academy (MD)
The United States Naval Academy is located in Annapolis, Maryland and keeps students busy with a very regimented and full schedule of classes, military training, mandatory events and meetings, sports and more. Students here have a very small amount of leisure time, let alone time to party or drink. The abuse of alcohol and drugs is not tolerated and students find many other ways to spend their free time, especially because there are many outdoor activities to enjoy in the Annapolis area.8
- Thomas Aquinas College (CA)
Thomas Aquinas College is a private Roman Catholic-affiliated liberal arts school in Southern California. Alcohol consumption is not tolerated on campus and other rules such as the dress code and curfew strongly reflect the college’s Catholic identity.9 Students here are much more likely to head off campus for parties or fill their leisure time with sober activities like casual waltz or swing nights, monthly themed dances, and hanging out at the coffee shop.
- College of the Ozarks (MO)
College of the Ozarks is a conservative private Christian University located in Point Lookout, Missouri with a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol.10 Students here value their education and are willing to work hard for it, as the college offers a work education program that allows students to work while they learn and pay off their tuition. Undergraduate students at College of the Ozarks describe their fellow students as extremely “driven” and “always willing to go the extra mile and accomplish their goals.”
- Brigham Young University (UT)
Brigham Young University is a private Morman university located in Provo, Utah. Due to the high conduct standards it holds for its students, this school tops the list. Students are required to adhere to an honor code that is in line with the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This honor code includes maintaining academic honesty, avoiding extramarital sex, and not consuming drugs, alcohol, coffee, tea, or vaping.11
If you’re a student in recovery looking to continue your college education, going to a stone-cold sober school like one of the above isn’t necessary, but it can be helpful.
|Additional Resources: How to Stay Sober in College: A Detailed Guide for Students|
Eudaimonia Recovery Homes offers recovery support services like educational planning and employment assistance for sober living residents in Austin and Houston. Nearby universities like the University of Texas and the University of Houston as well as Houston Community College and Austin Community College can provide a convenient and high-quality education for students who are living in sober living homes. Call (512) 605-2955 to learn more about our sober living program options.