The 50 Fittest Colleges in America 2014 from 50 Fittest Colleges 2014
50 Fittest Colleges 2014
The 50 Fittest Colleges in America 2014
If students want to prepare for a long healthy life, or that epic co-ed pool party, they’ll need to make exercise a habit and adopt a healthy diet. Surviving solely on late night pizza runs and kegs of beer might be the easier option, but it certainly isn’t the healthiest.
This year we looked at data on more than 100 of America’s top colleges and universities. Read on to see which colleges are the fittest in America.
#50 University of Delaware— Newark, Del.
Just because the University of Delaware doesn’t have the most active varsity sports program or all organic dining options, doesn’t mean that the student body doesn’t know what it means to be fit “Most students take advantage of some aspect of athletics, whether in team form or on their own, and the gym is always crowded at peak hours,” one student wrote on College Prowler. Speaking of the gym, the school’s new fitness center features three floors equipped with almost every type of exercise amenity you could imagine, including cardio machines, a variety of weight training tools, an indoor track and a wide range of group exercise classes to choose from. As if that weren’t enough, the campus also houses its own ice arena, outdoor pool and tennis and volleyball courts.
#49 Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Cambridge, Mass.
Certainly one of the toughest universities when it comes to the admissions process, students at MIT are equally as driven in achieving their fitness goals. Though varsity teams aren’t ranked among the best in the nation, MIT does have one of the broadest intercollegiate programs in the U.S. The PE requirement ensures students are involved in either two seasons of a varsity sport or four PE classes and there’s no shortage of intramural sports to choose from at MIT.
#48 Dartmouth–Hanover, N.H.
Although varsity games here are not widely attended, the gym and facilities for students are top notch and more than 75 percent of the undergraduate class are involved in sports. There are 33 club sports that range from recreational to nationally competitive, and a wide variety of intramural sports. With some of the finest facilities, Dartmouth offers a skating rink, indoor swimming pools, fitness centers, a tennis center, golf course and a sailing facility for students. They also take nutrition seriously with healthy dining options and nutritional information for all dining items. If fitness classes are more your style, there are plenty of those offered as well, with everything from spinning to sculpting, students can stay fit on campus.
#47 Cornell University— Ithaca, N.Y.
With such a large agricultural program, it shouldn’t be surprising that this Ivy League school earned points for offering its students plenty of fresh, healthy dining options—expert chefs prepare and serve meals made with local ingredients and dining hall menus point students towards healthier choices with “eating well icons.” And while the school may not be best known for its athleticism, the students at Cornell still take advantage of the many opportunities for increased physical activity. “Almost everyone plays an intramural [or] club sport. There are also so many classes on outdoor education and athleticism. Campus involvement is amazing,” one student wrote on College Prowler.
#46 Boston University—Boston, Mass.
Recognized for it’s healthy and delicious food and wide array of recreational fitness activities, BU is big on athletics even in a city atmosphere. The campus takes advantage of the nearby Charles River to offer sailing and rowing classes to all students and the fitness center offers a variety of services, like personal training, yoga classes and specialized sports performance training.
#45 University of Washington–Seattle, Wash.
Beautifully located with views of the Cascade range and Olympic Mountains, University of Washington is a terrific place for the outdoor enthusiast. On-campus alone, there are plenty of opportunities including a climbing center, waterfront activities center, and more. The IMA Climbing Club is one of the oldest student run organizations on campus and focuses on alpine activities, backcountry skiing, mountaineering and ice climbing. There are also a variety of club and intramural sports including martial arts, archery, equestrian, cycling, rugby and much more.
#44 University of Virginia— Charlottesville, Va.
Another school that scored points for having an exceptionally active athletics program, students at UVA are passionate about participating in their favorite sports. Not only does the school boast a long and varied list of decorated teams, but for non-varsity athletes the school offers a large selection of both intramural and club sports with everything from basketball and golf to inner tube water polo and Wallyball.
#43 University of Missouri—Columbia, Mo.
The University of Missouri is most famous for their football team, but Tiger pride doesn’t stop there. Participation for intramural and club sports ranked high and the recreation center is certainly impressive. Highlights include several pools, outdoor trails and a 42-foot climbing tower designed to mimic local rock formations.
#42 University of Massachusetts Amherst–Amherst, Mass.
Get Moving UMass is an outreach program created by Campus Recreation to educate and encourage healthy lifestyles within the campus community. The initiative has an entire website dedicated to keeping students informed and active with biking routes, nutrition tips of the week, outdoor activities and local events, and ways to get moving. They post tips for active students, such as the recent article on beating the heat, “Cool Summer Workout Tips.” Along with the program, there are opportunities for all fitness levels including group fitness classes, club and intramural sports and a competitive Varsity sports program.
#41 University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Neb.
This Midwestern college ranks at number 13 on The Princeton Review’s list of “Jock Schools,” which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the Division 1 Cornhuskers have earned their fair share of national championship titles in a handful of sports and three of the school’s football players have gone on to win the Heisman Trophy. And the jock stereotype doesn’t apply to varsity athletes only. “Even if they’re not on a sports scholarship, many UNL students are active in their own sport, whether through one of the many popular intramural sports offered or through one of the best recreational centers in the nation,” student author Mandi Pflasterer wrote on College Prowler.
#40 University of Colorado—Boulder, Colo.
Boulder took the number one spot on our fittest cities list this year and with access to so many outdoor activities, it’s no wonder that a college in this town would rank as one of the fittest in the nation. The University’s prime location gives students easy access to more than 45,000 acres of preserved nature, some of the best climbing in the country and hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. On campus, The Outdoor Program rents gear and offers instruction for everything from ice climbing to SCUBA. CU also made it into the top ten on College Prowler’s Healthy Dining list.
#39 Georgetown University–Washington D.C.
Men’s basketball continues to dominate at Georgetown. And while varsity sports are nationally respected, the intramural and club teams are also very popular within the school. There is a common term associated with the active students of the school, Hoyas. One College Prowler user explains, “Hoyas are, as a rule, active people; working out at the on-campus gym has come to rival Catholicism as the most-practiced religion.” As a whole, the student body of Georgetown is an athletic bunch, and the campus fitness center, Yates Field House, offers everything from racquetball and squash courts to a pool with a separate diving well to help them stay fit.
#38 Yale University—New Haven, Conn.
Happiness has a lot to do with healthiness, which is why Yale landed a spot on our list. This Ivy League school is ranked at number 14 on The Princeton Review’s list of schools with the happiest students. The site also gave this university a 96 (out of 100) quality of life rating, and while academics may take priority over sports, the student body is far from inactive. With more than 30 teams to choose from and a yearly battle for the Tyng Cup amongst them, intramural sports are a somewhat of celebrated tradition at Yale.
#37 University of Pittsburgh—Pittsburgh, Pa.
Pitt’s varsity sports set a precedent for on-campus fitness and students certainly have every opportunity to rise to the challenge. 24-hour fitness centers are located in residence halls, to accommodate even the busiest schedule, and Trees Hall recreation center houses a dance studio, an Olympic-size pool and an indoor driving range and putting green. Fitness assessments and exercise plans are free to all students, as is use of all the fitness facilities.
#36 University of Miami–Coral Gables, Fla.
The UHealth Fitness & Wellness Center is a 60,000 square foot facility that includes fitness floors with over 100 pieces of state-of-the-art Life Fitness cardio and strength equipment, group fitness classrooms, a cycling room and a Mediterranean restaurant. The center offers many different fitness classes year round. There is also a popular intramural and club sports program, as well as the intensive Varsity sports leagues. Intramural sports include everything from soccer to basketball to cornhole. It attracts not only super athletic types, but anyone who wants to stay active.
#35 University of Maryland—College Park, Md.
This university’s campus exudes all the important components of a healthy and fit lifestyle. From its state of the art Eppley Recreation Center (equipped with racquetball courts, an indoor track, a swimming pool and a full-fledged gym, just to name a few highlights) to the campus bike shop and an adventure program that offers students regular opportunities to partake in hiking, rock climbing and kayaking trips, it’s clear that College Park is adamant about encouraging an active life on campus. Not to mention, the school is also home to one of the country’s most active varsity sports programs; ranked at number 39 on College Prowler’s list for this category.
#34 University of Southern California—Los Angeles, Calif.
School spirit is top priority at USC where all athletes—varsity, intramural and club—take pride in bringing their best at each and every game. The school mascot, the Trojan, was given to the USC by a Los Angeles Times sportswriter. He wrote that the fighting spirit of USC teams was similar in ferocity to that of ancient Trojans. Fitness facilities open to all students include a climbing wall, sand volleyball courts and a jacuzzi and the university offers almost 59 club sports. “Overall, sports are an integral part of a student’s life at USC,” said one student author on College Prowler.
#33 Georgia Institute of Technology–Atlanta, Ga.
Georgia Tech’s campus recreational center is an absolute beauty. The olympic-size pool in the Campus Rec Center (CRC) was actually built for the Atlanta Summer Olympics. One College Prowler student adds, “Since many of the facilities have been recently constructed, athletics is a huge part of the campus experience. Most everyone has either attended an athletic event and/or participated in sports. Whether club, intramurals, and/or varsity sport, everyone has an idea about the athletic scene.”
#32 Boston College—Chestnut Hill, Mass.
“I was never really an active person until attending BC. I rarely ate a salad until I was greeted by a humongous salad bar every day and found that salads can actually taste good. Instead of watching television, hanging out became playing Frisbee on the lawn, walking around the reservoir or taking a group fitness class at the plex. As someone who was always mediocre, at best, at most sports, I didn't have a shot at a varsity or club sport, but there was never a lack of options to stay active and healthy on campus.
—Angela Barraco, Boston College alumnae, Class of 2008
#31 Vanderbilt University—Nashville, Tenn.
Although Vanderbilt is one of the top academic universities in the country, students at Vandy have proved they’re more than just book worms. Taking a top spot on Princeton Review’s Happiest Students list is a good indication that this school values more than just academics. Recent improvements to the recreation center, more than 60 group fitness classes available to all students and fitness assessments done by professional staff help ensure students have access to all the fitness resources they need.
#30 University of Oregon–Eugene, Ore.
UO has been designated a silver-level Bike Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists since 2011. It’s no wonder UO stays so fit, with over 6,500 students, staff, and faculty members riding their bikes to campus everyday. The UO Bike Program lets you rent commute-ready bicycles for a day or semester, along with maintenance help and workshops. And the Bike Program is just one small branch of the UO Outdoor Program which brings students on mountain biking, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and hiking trips.
#29 University of California—Berkeley
“The food is a great price, and the variety is amazing. I love that there are vegan and vegetarian options everywhere; it is easy to stay healthy while staying satisfied,” one student wrote in an online review of Berkeley. This description of the school’s campus dining make sense given its menus underwent a complete overhaul back in 2006. Now, the school offers students meals created by top-notch chefs and organic salad bars at every dining hall. And while Berkeley isn’t most well-known for its athletics, the school still provides its student body with top of the line fitness facilities. “The [recreational sports facility] is beautiful, and the new gym facilities are even better. It's nice that a lot of the facilities are opened up for both student athletes and non-athletes,” said another student in a separate review.
#28 Rice University—Houston, Texas
Best known for quality academics, top-notch varsity programs and a healthy and happy student population, Rice University easily earns a spot on our list. Intramural programs offer everything from fencing to water polo, while their outdoor recreation program teaches students how to navigate in a canoe or an open-top kayak. Rice came in second on Princeton Review’s Quality of Life ranking and their Lifetime Physical Activity Program, founded in 1912, has ensured that educating students on healthy habits remains a top priority.
#27 Duke University–Durham, N.C.
As one of the biggest basketball schools in the country, Duke is no stranger to an active athletic fan base. The campus has three gyms on each end of the campus. A Junior on College Prowler claims, “Wilson, the gym on the West, is the one of the best athletic facilities I have ever used. Better than some in NYC and in Chicago. It has three-levels with dozens of cardio machines, a brand new weight room, a cycling room, a rock-climbing wall, and offers gym classes throughout the week.” There are also a number of intramural and club sports including aquatics and outdoor adventure.
#26 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor—Ann Arbor, Mich.
Out of 100, The Princeton Review gives University of Michigan at Ann Arbor a 89 quality of life rating. This high score is not only thanks to the campus’ health-conscious cafeterias, which, according to College Prowler strive to provide students with a variety of healthy meal choices including highly-rated vegetarian and vegan fare, but also because of the physically fit lifestyle that many students peruse thanks to an athletic program that’s one of the most successful in all of the country. What’s more, students can embrace fitness on a much deeper level by studying within the school’s Kinesiology program and aside from traditional sports, healthy campus opportunities also include an outdoor skills program and bike rental services.
#25 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—Champaign, Ill.
The crown jewel of this university is in the two newly renovated and expanded recreation centers. A massive 470,000 square feet is dedicated to every conceivable fitness and wellness tool. Multiple pools, a climbing wall and an indoor track are just some of the highlights. Other notable fitness facilities include an ice rink, an outdoor adventures center and several fields. These astounding facilities earned Illinois the top spot on Princeton Review’s list of Best Athletic Facilities. As one student put it, “If you are looking for a college where athletics are equally or more important than academics, this University [is] it.”
#24 UCLA–Los Angeles, Calif.
The UCLA Department of Cultural and Recreational Affairs holds true to their mission statement: “Inspiring the UCLA community to foster active, healthy lifestyles and life-long learning.” From varsity and intramural sports to club activities, athletes of all levels can enjoy playing their game while staying in shape. The school actively promotes wellness on campus through it’s FITWELL program with group exercise programs, state of the art facilities, personal training, yoga and more.
#23 Florida State University—Tallahassee, Fla.
Another school that scored points for its very athletic atmosphere, Florida State is widely celebrated for its competitive and enthusiastic sports teams. In fact, it ranked number 6 on The Princeton Review’s list of “Jock Schools” this year and number 14 on their “Everyone Plays Intramural Sports” list, too. “Almost everyone on campus participates in athletic events and shows support to all the sports,” one student wrote on College Prowler; meaning physical fitness and an active lifestyle are appreciated by the large majority of students on this campus.
#22 University of Wisconsin—Madison, Wis.
At first glance, varsity teams may take center stage at UW, but there are many more ways for the average student to stay fit at this top school. In addition to great fitness facilities and an intramural program that offers more than 40 sports and events each year, UW also has an entire office dedicated to outdoor recreation. There are outdoor clubs for everything from mountaineering to SCUBA and if students are around in the summer they can join the sailing club, too. At UW students know that overall fitness is more than jogging on a treadmill and staring at a tv screen.
#21 Stanford University–Stanford, Calif.
The Stanford women’s basketball team continues to be one of the strongest women’s programs in the country. Among 34 other varsity sports and 20 club sports, the student body is filled with an athletic bunch. The recreation department offers a wide variety of programs to appeal to however students choose to stay fit. They also have a YouTube channel called ‘Stanford Recreation’ that gives tips and workouts to students, including the ‘Workout of the Week’.
#20 Notre Dame—Notre Dame, Ind.
Of course, Notre Dame is most renowned for its historic, championship-winning football team, and the university’s men’s basketball team garners quite a lot of well-deserved attention, too. But with 19 other varsity sports teams—which garner participation from 10 percent of the male undergrad population and 7 percent of the female undergrad population—it’s not just the football and basketball players who deserve credit for keeping fit. Plus, students who aren’t varsity athletes are likely part of an intramural or club team (the school ranks 67th on College Prowler’s “best intramural sports” list) and the campus recreational sports program features the Rolf Sports Recreation Center which caters to everything from personal training and outdoor adventures to club sports and group exercise classes.
#19 Indiana University—Bloomington, Ind.
Indiana University Bloomington is another school infamous for it’s varsity program, but that dedication to fitness has bled over for the rest of the student body. IU hosts fit events, has an online nutrition plan and, of course, their two gyms offer just about anything a fit freshman could want. Stop in for the Little 500, the largest collegiate bike race in the U.S., and know that the money donated at the event is going to a good cause—scholarships for working students.
#18 University of Georgia–Athens, Ga.
The UGA campus includes a 440,000-square-foot Student Center for Physical Activities that continues to be one of the largest and most comprehensive fitness facilities in the country. Their strong community of outdoor enthusiasts come together to participate in many activities including the on-campus UGA Challenge Course. The school also offers gear rental from camping gear to scuba gear. Students can take that easily accessible gear on school sponsored outdoor trips including paddle boarding, rafting, yoga, backpacking, hiking and so much more.
#17 Syracuse University—Syracuse, N.Y.
Despite its reputation as a party school (which, if we’re all honest is a quality that tends to come along with many schools that have competitive sports teams with large followings), Syracuse landed a spot on our list thanks to the very fact that many students at the school consider sports, whether varsity, intramural or club, a big part of campus life. Of course, the university is probably best known for its persistently successful Division 1 men’s basketball team. However, their many championship titles shouldn’t overshadow the fact that as a whole, the school’s varsity teams have brought home 28 national championships total, including 14 for men’s lacrosse, six for men’s crew and two for cross country.
#16 University of Alabama—Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Home to one of the top ten winningest football programs in the country’s history, the University of Alabama has made fitness a school-wide tradition. If their stunning fitness center (complete with a rock wall and indoor/outdoor pools) wasn’t enough, the university also provides students with online resources like interactive maps to the best outdoor recreation in the state and online nutrition information. Bama Bikes, the school’s bike share program and the university’s very own bike shop sweeten the deal for cyclists and just about every other fitness-focused undergrad.
#15 Michigan State University–East Lansing, Mich.
This year, Michigan State took home the Rose Bowl defeating Stanford 24-20. While strong in varsity athletics, their major strength is being one of the largest intramural sports programs in the nation. Some intramural sports offered include sand volleyball, flag football, dodgeball, 3-on-3 basketball and many more. Along with three intramural facilities, the school also has golf courses, tennis facilities, a boat house, pools, weight rooms and a number of stadiums. The Recreational and Fitness Services Department strives to create a convenient environment to stay fit by providing land- and water-based exercise activities to all students.
#14 University of North Georgia—Dahlonega, Ga.
Students can enroll at UNG as undergrads or cadets; of course cadets are required to maintain a certain level of fitness but the school scored points because the university is dedicated to creating an atmosphere that makes it easy for the entire campus community to lead healthy lives. Take for example the UNG 2014 Fitness Challenge; a five week wellness program aimed at encouraging all students, faculty and staff to spend more time exercising. During the challenge, teams of 3 to 5 members will compete to earn points by participating in physical activities. Members can earn one point for every 15 minutes spent exercising and POWER points are awarded for those who attend weekly educational presentations about health related topics.
#13 Virginia Polytechnic Institute—Blacksburg, Va.
From food to fitness to quality of life, Virginia Tech is one of the most well-rounded colleges out there. Placing in the top ten on both College Prowler’s Healthiest Dining list and Princeton Review’s Best Campus Food ranking, this university has made organically-grown, sustainable food a priority. Health doesn’t stop at the kitchen doors—their intramural program sees more than 13,000 students participate each year and their varsity teams have some notable wins, too. Finally, happiness is integral to overall health; Virginia Tech tops Princeton Review’s list on Quality of Life.
#12 University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill, N.C.
Though the Tar Heels are most commonly known for their competitive sports teams, winning over 40 NCAA team championships in six different sports, they offer plenty of accessible facilities to their students who are not varsity athletes. With group fitness classes, speciality fitness programs and personal training, the workout facilities are great places to stay fit throughout the school year. Students have access to outdoor facilities, pools, gymnasiums, workout facilities and even a climbing wall. For staying fit outside of facilities, the Campus Recreation website lists detailed routes and mileage for walking, jogging or cycling.
#11 Ohio State University—Columbus, Ohio
Thanks to is consistently successful and extremely competitive varsity sports roster, this year Ohio state jumped up several spots on our list. One of the school’s biggest draws is its top-notch athletic program, which apparently helps to permeate enthusiasm for physical activity across the entire campus. “It's OSU, of course there are great gyms and athletics programs,” one student pointed out in an online review. “The pools and gyms are wonderful, and there are plenty of physically active clubs to join.”
#10 Virginia Military Institute—Lexington City, Va.
Nicknamed the “West Point of the South,” VMI is a senior military college and requires that all students enroll as military cadets, which means they must complete four years of ROTC courses and physical training. Though it is not a requirement that students join one of the armed forces, roughly half of the students join after graduation. Despite their rigid training schedule, many cadets still find time to compete at the varsity level in one of 18 Division 1 sports.
#9 Norwich University–Northfield, Vt.
Norwich University is the oldest private military college in the U.S. Cadet’s are faced with a number of mental and physical challenges. Upon acceptance, they receive a letter that communicates the physical fitness requirements, what their training should include and what they should expect when they arrive. Norwich offers a number of varsity sports and beautiful facilities including a hockey arena, 25-yard pool, football and soccer fields, and fieldhouse. Their athletics website offers a list of original strength and conditioning exercise videos made by Cadets.
#8 California Maritime Academy—Vallejo, Calif.
In addition to maintaining the fit and active lifestyle associated with studying as a cadet, students continually note that athletics also tend to be a big part of campus life at California Maritime Academy. Despite a small roster of sports to choose from, the school’s athletic program continues to stand strong with a nationally ranked women’s rugby team, a championship sailing team and a Head of the American Regatta first place men’s crew team.
#7 University of Florida—Gainesville, Fla.
The University of Florida is best known for its impressive varsity win record—31 National Championships and 267 Individual National Championships in their history—but fitness isn’t only a priority for the varsity-level Gators. Students can join any of the 45 club teams, which include several martial arts clubs, skimboarding, ultimate frisbee and even paintball. The intramural league offers many options, as well and their fitness center has space and equipment for every kind of training program. But with the Florida sunshine, heading outside is always an option, too.
#6 University of Texas–Austin, Texas
Since the start of the Big 12 Conference league, Texas has claimed more titles in men’s and women’s sports than any other school and ranks second in the NCAA for all-time victories for football. There have been more than 80 Olympic medals won by current and former students. According to the school website, about 90 percent of all UT students participate in recreational sports programs and activities. The school works to promote a healthy lifestyle through its Fitness/Wellness Program which offers group classes, clinics, personal training and more.
#5 Pennsylvania State University—University Park, Pa.
Moving up four spots from its rank at number nine last year, Penn State scored high on our list thanks to its A+ athletic programs, which offer students seemingly endless opportunities to participate in a variety of different sports at all levels. According to College Prowler, Penn State ranks 17 in the site’s most active varsity sports category, and with top-of-the-line fitness facilities it’s easy, even for non-athletes, to make exercise an important part of campus life. “I have had very good experiences in the gyms and athletic facilities. They are clean, well manned, well stocked, and very accommodating,” one student wrote in an online review.
#4 The Citadel—Charleston, S.C.
Another of the six senior military colleges, The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina requires all full-time undergraduate students to be cadets, participate in ROTC and live on campus for all four years. The physical training is demanding but students still make time for intramural sports and cadets are also able to be part of the varsity, Division 1 sports teams.
#3 United States Naval Academy—Annapolis, Md.
With one of the broadest sports programs in the nation, Navy Varsity Sports include everything from football and rowing to squash or rifle. Along with a number of varsity and club sport athletes, each student is expected to meet the physical rigors of military life. For admission to the school, each candidate must successfully complete the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA). The CFA includes six test events including, basketball throw, pull-ups, shuttle run, crunches, push-ups, and 1-mile run, which are administered consecutively in less than 40 minutes.
#2 USMA West Point— West Point, N.Y.
They say it outright on their admissions homepage: not only is this highly selective military college looking for the most academically inclined students, but also the most physically fit. To be considered as an eligible candidate at West Point applicants first must pass a medical exam and the Candidate Fitness Assessment comprised of six tasks including, a basketball throw, cadence pull-ups, a 40-yard shuttle run for time, abdominal crunches and push-ups (scored based on how many you can complete in two minutes), and a one-mile run for time. Of course, prospects that successfully prove their physical fitness and eventually gain admissions are then required to maintain and improve upon their strength and agility as they work towards earning their degree and preparing for commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. Whether varsity, club or intramural, all USMA cadets are required to participate in a sport and mandatory classes include “Military Movement,” Boxing, Combatives, Fitness Leadership, Survival Swimming and Lifetime Sport, just to name a few.
#1 Texas A&M University—College Station, Texas
The 2,550+ cadets in the corps, the overwhelming involvement in varsity and intramural sports and one of the most remarkable fitness centers in the country earned Texas A&M the top spot on our list. One of six senior military colleges in the U.S., Texas A&M has a top-notch voluntary Corps of Cadets program. The program is the oldest student organization on campus and involves mandatory ROTC courses and physical training. Though military service is not a requirement at the end of the program, roughly half of the students graduating from the corps go on to serve in a branch of the U.S. military.
Outside of the corps, the school is well known for its elite varsity athletics and wide-reaching intramural sports—each year more than 12,000 students get involved in more than 34 sports clubs and intramurals. For students looking to get in some solo exercise, A&M is home to a 400,000 square foot recreational sports center. The space includes a swimming pool (housed in its own building), a rock wall and an archery room, in addition to some of the more standard gym features: a track, 14,000 square foot weight room and more than 60 cardio machines.