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Here are the best colleges for financial aid, happiness and more

The Princeton Review released "The Best 385 Colleges," entirely based on students' feedback.
/ Source: TODAY

Fall is here, and for many high school seniors, that means it's college application season.

The Princeton Review Editor-in-Chief Robert Franek stopped by TODAY to talk about the 2020 edition of “The Best 385 Colleges,” an annual publication of the top 20 colleges across 62 different categories, entirely based on the feedback from a survey taken by 143,000 students.

Using in-depth profiles and ranking lists from the 80-question student survey, the book covers eight general areas: academics and administration, quality of life, politics, campus life, town life, extracurriculars, social scene and schools by type.

For high school students deciding their next move, the new release provides guidance beyond the usual best college rankings. For alumni looking for another reason to cheer on their alma mater, it gives some bragging rights. Here's a look at some of the top findings.

Auburn University has the happiest students.

Alabama. Samford hall university building
Auburn University in Alabama ranked No. 1 for the happiest students. A view of Samford Hall is shown here.Getty Images stock

While in college, it's important to maintain a balance between academic and social lives to stay happy — and that’s definitely not easy. Schools located in Southern and Midwestern states had an edge here, dominating the top five.

Happiest Students

1. Auburn University (Alabama)

2. Vanderbilt University (Tennessee)

3. Kansas State

4. Tulane University (Louisiana)

5. University of Oklahoma

Bowdoin College has great financial aid.

Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, took the No. 2 spots both for having great financial aid and the happiest students.Getty Images stock

With student debt coming under increased scrutiny, financial aid is a big factor in deciding where to go to school. Here are the top five ranked colleges for financial aid.

Great Financial Aid

1. Bowdoin College (Maine)

2. Vanderbilt University (Tennessee)

3. Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri)

4. Princeton University (New Jersey)

5. Yale University (Connecticut)

Washington University in St. Louis (Green Hall)
Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, has the best dorms and great financial aid, according to the latest findings.Getty Images stock

There’s so much more to consider when it comes to colleges. Here's a look at some of the other rankings in "The Best 385 Colleges."

Best Career Services

1. Clemson University (South Carolina)

2. University of Richmond (Virginia)

3. Bentley University (Massachusetts)

4. Northwestern University (Illinois)

5. Wabash College (Indiana)

Best College Dorms

1. Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri)

2. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Massachusetts)

3. Texas Christian University

4. Emory University (Georgia)

5. High Point University (North Carolina)

Best Professors

1. Sarah Lawrence College (New York)

2. Reed College (Oregon)

3. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Massachusetts)

4. Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts)

5. St. John's College (Maryland)

Biggest Party Schools

1. Syracuse University (New York)

2. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

3. University of Delaware

4. West Virginia University

5. Tulane University (Louisiana)