Top 10 Most Beautiful College Campuses

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most beautiful college campus picture

Oxford University is no. 2 on the list. Credit: Corbis

Hey, parents -- as your high schoolers start sending in their college applications, it's time to think about academics, athletics and, in our opinion, aesthetics. After all, don't you want to spend Parents' Weekend strolling beautifully manicured quads and admiring striking Gothic architecture?

With its stone walls that date to the 11th century, Oxford University in England is spectacularly beautiful, while Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, located on the former site of the Qing Dynasty's royal gardens, provides students with a breathtaking walk between classes.

But the most beautiful campus in the entire world is in the United States. Ohio to be exact. Kenyon College in Gambier was named the No. 1 most beautiful campus by a panel of architects and campus designers interviewed by Forbes magazine.

The top 10 most beautiful college campuses in the world:

1. Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio
The pastoral setting of this tiny liberal arts college boasts sweeping trees, vast expanses of green and classic Gothic architecture. Most beautiful of all is The Middle Path, a 10-foot-wide trail that is not only the campus' central walkway, but also a village green.

2. Oxford University in Oxford, England
A labyrinth of quads, cloisters and archways evoke a centuries-old sense of elegance and tradition. The 11th-century stone walls enclose the spectacular campus that Notre Dame architecture professor David Mayernik calls "an architectural wonderland."

3. Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
The imposing old gray stone buildings, many of which are covered in ivy, intersect with footpaths, archways and plazas that were designed to inspire spontaneous discussion and learning.

4. Scripps College in Claremont, California
The campus of this women's college, which was founded in the 1920s, was constructed with a clear artistic connection between the buildings and landscape. The Mission Revival-inspired architecture is enhanced with rows of liquid amber trees, as well as tulip trees, sycamores, almond and orange trees and rare shrubs.

5. Stanford University in Palo Alto, California
Despite extensive growth, Stanford has stayed true to its architectural roots, managing to blend very modern and high-tech elements with the timeless aesthetics of the campus' early California Mission Revival architecture. Most notable is the dramatic entrance via Palm Drive.

6. Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland
Trinity is often compared to Oxford--except it's a gentler campus on a more human scale. The most celebrated building is the Old Library, founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1592. The famous Book of Kells is kept here under lock and key.

7. Tsinghua University in Beijing, China
Founded in 1925, Tsinghua's beauty comes naturally. It is located on the former site of the Qing Dynasty's royal gardens. The campus also features artificial ponds with stone benches and floating lotus blossoms.

8. United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Leave the Gothic look to Kenyon and Princeton. The Air Force Academy is a masterpiece of American Modernism, says Kevin Lippert, publisher of the Princeton Architectural Press. Many of the buildings are clad in aluminum to give the look and feel of the skin of airplanes.

9. University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy
This is the oldest university in the Western world and appears to be embedded in Bologna, a beautiful city that dates to before the Roman Empire.

10. University of California, Santa Cruz, California
Located on the site of a former ranch that overlooks the Pacific with panoramic ocean views, the campus has open meadows and redwood forests. The architecture is tucked into the natural landscape. The favorite place to study? Outside!

(Source: Forbes magazine)

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