Martin Vershel, a senior theater major at Texas Christian University, always sees smiling faces on campus.

Those grins apparently earned TCU a new title: happiest university in the nation, according to an analysis of Instagram photos.

The analysis was conducted by, a company that creates résumé and cover letter  templates. The analysis is not scientific by any means, but some people on campus sure notice the happiness the survey notes.

“There’s always something happening on TCU’s campus that’ll make you just smile,” Vershel said.

TCU finished ahead of in-state rivals Baylor, which came in fourth, the University of Texas (10) and Southern Methodist University (18).

The analysis used artificial intelligence technology from Amazon to scan photos on Instagram. The AI analyzed smiles in photos tagged at universities across the country. 

The study found three in four faces tagged at TCU on Instagram were happy. 

Vershel can feel that happiness every day on campus, he said.  More than that, he pointed to TCU football’s journey to the College Football National Championship as fueling the joy’s found.

By the way, the University of Georgia – the school that walloped TCU 65-7 for the national championship  – finished No. 11 on the happiest college list. 

Happiness at TCU is different for each student. The university makes electrical engineering junior Harmann Chhabra feel at home.

Chhabra is from Indore, India. His first semester at TCU was in fall 2020 when all classes were online. Still, through a virtual environment, Chhabra made plenty of friends with his classmates, he said.

The following semester, traditional in-person classes were back. Chhabra packed his bags for America. 

After taking online classes half a world away, Chhabra was anxious and pessimistic, he said. Chhambra wasn’t sure if his friends would recognize him once he stepped foot on campus. But they did, he said. 

“Little things like these go a long way,” Chhabra said. 

Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 28 to correct the spelling of Indore, India.

Taylor Coit is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Taylor Coit

Taylor Coit is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She worked as a reporter and editor for The Shorthorn, UT-Arlington’s student publication...