Though it's a liberal arts college, Bucknell also boasts strong engineering, science and business programs. The university's roughly 3,500 students choose from about 60 majors, among them East Asian studies, neuroscience and management. All classes are taught by faculty, not graduate students, and they tend to be small, with an average class size of 20 people.

Players on the school's Division I teams excel academically, as well: The graduation rate for athletes is among the nation's highest. On the historic, tree-filled campus, which sits on a branch of the Susquehanna River, Greek life and student government tend to dominate.

Every January, Bucknell first-years celebrate the end of their first semester with First Night, an event during which they present their newly designed class crest and serenade the university president at his home. First-year students also take part in Candlelighting, a tradition where the school’s president lights a candle, symbolizing knowledge, and proceeds to “spread” the light to all incoming students.