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JoAnna Lou
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Collegiate Canines
Petside.com ranks the top 10 pet-friendly schools.
Dogs in dorms--good idea?

For high school students, the deadline for applying to colleges is quickly approaching. This means many of those students, like I did, will soon have to leave their beloved pets behind to pursue a higher education.

Pets are a big responsibility, particularly for busy college students, but they can be great way to reduce stress and ease homesickness.

Fortunately, more and more colleges are realizing the benefit of allowing students to bring pets on campus. But it’s not easy to find out which schools allow animals, so Petside.com put together a list of the top 10 pet-friendly colleges in the United States. 

The ranking was based on factors such as the type of pets allowed, housing options, required deposits and weight/breed restrictions.

10. Lehigh University - Lehigh Valley, Pa.
9. SUNY Canton - Canton, N.Y.
8. MIT - Boston, Mass.
7. University of Idaho - Moscow, Idaho
6. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Urbana, Ill.
5. Caltech - Pasadena, Calif.
4. Principa College - Saint Louis, Mo.
3. Washington & Jefferson College - Washington, Pa.
2. Stephens College - Columbia, Mo.
1. Eckerd College - Saint Petersburg, Fla.

Unfortunately, not all colleges are as pet friendly as these ten, and of course there are certainly other reasons for choosing a school. But, there are other ways to enjoy the company of animals while away at college. 

When I first arrived on campus, I started an animal shelter volunteer group made up of all the students who missed their pets. We visited the local shelter to help socialize the animals on weekly basis. It was a great way to help out, while getting our pet fix and meeting fellow animal lovers without the responsibility. In fact, I know many people post-college who volunteer to get their pet fix, often limited by non-animal friendly apartments or busy schedules.

There is certainly a risk to allowing animals into bustling dorms. Many college students may not realize the full responsibility of a pet. But as long as there’s a good application process in place, I’m glad that more colleges are accommodating pet lovers. I only wish that I had a list of animal friendly schools when I graduated high school!

What do you think? Should more colleges allow pets in dorms?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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