Most Pet-Friendly Colleges in America

Heading off to college means saying goodbye to parents, siblings, and friends. But thanks to changing rules at many universities, students don’t have to bid farewell to their pets. As more colleges and universities begin to allow pets on campus, students need to remember to pack their puppy’s belongings along with their own. Here are some things to remember if you’re an animal-loving student.

Why Bring Them?

Why are certain institutions allowing students to bring their pets along for the college experience? For many freshmen, having a companion helps them adjust to the drastic change to their lifestyle, The New York Times reported. For instance, officials from the pet-friendly Stephens College in Missouri hope that allowing pets will help provide a smoother transition for students who might be anxious about leaving home or adjusting to life on campus. “It’s harder and harder for students to leave home,” Dianne Lynch, president of Stephens, told the news source. “Bringing this particular piece of home with them may make that separation easier.” In 2010, a total of 30 incoming Stephens freshmen asked if they could bring their pets to college, according to the news outlet. This increase in requests over the previous academic year led the institution to renovate a dormitory, which has been dubbed Pet Central. A makeshift kennel on the first floor sees to it that the living space is fit for its residents, both human and canine.

College or a Zoo?

Of all the institutions that allow pets on campus, Florida’s Eckerd College might be run by the biggest animal lovers in academia. The school even has one of the oldest pets-in-residence programs in the country, according to its official website. Domestic animals are permitted in dorms as long as they are secured in a cage with a lid, according to the college’s pet policy. However, individuals who have a fear of snakes may want to consider other education options before applying to Eckerd. The reptiles are allowed in dorms as long as they measure less than six feet and are nonvenomous.

Life in the Pet House

Pet owners who enroll at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania call Monroe Hall, or the Pet House, home. In this residence, humans live alongside permitted guests from the animal kingdom, which include dogs, cats, small birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, turtles or fish, according to the school’s manual. Outside of the Pet House, the only nonhuman creatures allowed are fish. Just make sure their tank does not exceed 20 gallons.

Make Sure to Pack Your Horse

If a student enrolls in Sweet Briar College in Virginia, they might just get to take their horse to school. In order to keep these rather large companions in the on-campus stables, individuals must be a part of the institution’s riding program, according to the college’s official website.


Though not every college is comfortable having animals in its dormitories, a number are willing to make an exception for cats. For instance, both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) allow students to bring along their feline friends. Undergraduate cat owners who are enrolled at MIT must receive consent from all of their floor-mates, according to the school’s housing cat policy. In addition, pets are only allowed in what have been deemed cat-friendly areas on campus. Students would be wise to review Caltech’s housing cat policy before packing their feline friend’s belongings. According to the institute’s official website, all cats must be sterilized, wear an up-to-date collar with the proper identification and be on a long-term flea preventative program.