I suggest looking at two readily available, reliable hatchbacks - the Honda Fit or Chevy Sonic. Both have a relatively fun to drive factor in that they are fairly zippy and handle nicely. Bonus for college student is lots of space for your stuff.
The Sonic with the Turbo engine will be faster thus more fun to drive. The Fit's Magic Seats provide a more spacious / flexible cargo area .
As a former Fit owner I can vouch for the Fit's fun to drive factor, reliablity & good fuel economy - with reasonable driving habits it can easily exceed the EPA mileage estimates. My 2011 averaged 33-36 in urban driving & 38 to 41 highway (need to keep it under 70 mph to exceed 40 mpg). I have not driven the Sonic but it gets pretty good reviews also.
Give 'em both a try & see which you prefer.