K-State students ranked friendliest in the nation: ‘We’re here to see each other succeed’

K-State was ranked the friendliest in the nation by the Princeton Review. Students believe the atmosphere is welcoming and supportive. (Haylee Haslett | Collegian Media)

Editor’s note: We incorrectly spelled Tamie Redding’s first name in the original online and the print edition. We have corrected the error and apologize to Redding and our readers for the error.

Based on feedback from over 160,000 students from 389 universities, The Princeton Review’s 2024 college rankings listed Kansas State students as the friendliest in the nation.

The rankings result from student survey data asking students to rate how much they agree or disagree with various statements. Students can select one of five rating scale options indicating their stance on the prompt. The question that earned K-State students their title asked if they agreed that “students here are extremely friendly.”

K-State received eight top-five rankings, also earning No. 1 for best town-gown relations, No. 2 for happiest students, No. 2 for top 20 best public schools for student internships, No. 2 for best alumni networks in public schools, No. 4 for best quality of life, No. 5 for best student support and counseling services and No. 5 for best athletic facilities.

Tamie Redding, associate director of student programs at the K-State Alumni Association and 1986 alumnae has been on campus with students for 33 years. 

“The biggest ‘wow’ factor here isn’t the university, the campus or the buildings — it’s the people,” Redding said. “When you’re walking by, you can either make eye contact and look away, or you can take another small step and make people feel welcome. Our students and faculty are amazing at taking that next step.”

Redding said she works with both current and former students to make sure K-State feels like home.

“Our students take that extra step because somebody took it for them,” Redding said.

These random acts of compassion are the traditions that make students of the past and present a family, Redding said.

“I went to college here back in the 80s, and we didn’t have the connection quite like we do now because it was still just building,” Redding said. “It started with smaller connections that we’ve created with random kindness over the years, and it keeps getting passed down.”

When Redding first came to K-State, she didn’t know where any of her classes were and was given a tour by her boyfriend — now husband — and his roommate, making her feel at home. 

“I actually then got to pay it forward and give a tour for my brother,” said Redding. “Even today I see faculty and students drop what they’re doing to show a stranger where to go.”

Mya Hamilton, senior in animal sciences and industry, also experienced students and faculty taking extra steps to make her feel welcome, especially when she was shown around campus on her first day of school.

“We’re here to see each other succeed,” Hamilton said. “Every single class I’ve taken here, everyone feels like a big family.”

Hamilton works for Chick-fil-A in the Student Union, where she enjoys interacting with students every day. 

“The best part of my job is when new students come through with questions and I get to show them the kindness that I was shown,” Hamilton said. “I love how everyone goes out of their way to show each other that we care.”

Annie Barreca, senior in business management, said she immediately knew K-State was home when she first toured campus.

“I only toured K-State and the University of Kansas,” Barreca said. “Immediately there was a big difference. Everyone I passed smiled at me and as basic as that is, it made a huge impact.”

Katie Muckerman, senior in marketing and management, had a similar experience.

“Everyone was so friendly to me, even as a touring high schooler, that K-State just felt right,” Muckerman said.

Students she didn’t know went out of their way to smile and open doors for her tour group, Muckerman said. The small acts of kindness moved her so much that she chose Manhattan as her college home.

“Everyone here just wants to help each other,” Muckerman said. “It makes this community a family; that’s why we’re ranked the best.”

K-State was ranked the friendliest in the nation by the Princeton Review. Students believe the atmosphere is welcoming and supportive. (Haylee Haslett | Collegian Media)