beach california

Best Colleges & Universities in California
Top Consensus Ranked Schools 2019

Consensus Ranked Califonia 2019

To identify the Best Colleges in California for 2019 we averaged the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating for each school. You won’t find a more comprehensive ranking of the top colleges and universities in California anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.

1

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

intro about
84.6
College Consensus
86.2
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

2

Pomona College
Claremont, CA

carnegie hall
83.4
College Consensus
82.6
Publisher Consensus
84.2
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

3

Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, CA

claremont campus
81.8
College Consensus
80.1
Publisher Consensus
83.6
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

4

Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, CA

Hmc dartmouth entrance
80.7
College Consensus
79.4
Publisher Consensus
81.9
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

5

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA

Caltech Entrance
79.4
College Consensus
85.4
Publisher Consensus
73.3
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

6

University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

UofSouthernCalifornia
78.7
College Consensus
78.7
Publisher Consensus
78.8
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

7

University of California-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

UCLA
78.7
College Consensus
79.7
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

8

Scripps College
Claremont, CA

scripps
77.3
College Consensus
70.9
Publisher Consensus
83.8
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

9

University of California-Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

berkeleycampus
77.3
College Consensus
77.4
Publisher Consensus
77.3
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

10

University of California-Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA

UCSB
75.3
College Consensus
69.9
Publisher Consensus
80.7
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

11

Pitzer College
Claremont, CA

pitzer
75.3
College Consensus
71.3
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

12

Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, CA

Thomas Aquinas
74.2
College Consensus
66
Publisher Consensus
82.5
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

13

Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA

santa clara
74
College Consensus
76.5
Publisher Consensus
71.6
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

14

University of California-Davis
Davis, CA

UC Davis
73.4
College Consensus
71.1
Publisher Consensus
75.7
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

15

University of California-Irvine
Irvine, CA

University California Irvine
72.4
College Consensus
69.5
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

16

Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA

LMU
72.4
College Consensus
72.6
Publisher Consensus
72.1
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

17

Occidental College
Los Angeles, CA

oxy campus
72.2
College Consensus
68.9
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

18

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA

CalPoly
71.5
College Consensus
66.4
Publisher Consensus
76.7
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

19

University of California-San Diego
La Jolla, CA

University California San Diego
70.2
College Consensus
72.1
Publisher Consensus
68.3
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

20

Chapman University
Orange, CA

Chapman University
70.1
College Consensus
67.2
Publisher Consensus
73
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

21

William Jessup University
Rocklin, CA

William Jessup University
68.6
College Consensus
61.3
Publisher Consensus
75.8
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

22

Saint Mary’s College of California
Moraga, CA

Saint Marys California
68.5
College Consensus
65
Publisher Consensus
71.9
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

23

Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA

Pepperdine University
68.4
College Consensus
63.1
Publisher Consensus
73.8
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

24

University of Redlands
Redlands, CA

redlands
68
College Consensus
61.9
Publisher Consensus
74.1
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

25

Mills College
Oakland, CA

mills
67.9
College Consensus
66.4
Publisher Consensus
69.3
Student Consensus
Accessed June, 2019

Ranking the best colleges in California is not a task for the faint of heart; no other single state has more world-class, prestigious, selective universities and colleges than California, America’s most populated, most influential state. It’s no wonder – there is a job to be done in higher education that takes place on an unprecedented scale in California, providing opportunity and career preparation for the most diverse populace in the most diverse nation in the world, in more fields and disciplines than seem possible.

Yet the best colleges in California meet all of these needs, from the major public research institutions of the University of California System and the California State University System (which boasts several of the world’s top-ranked public universities – and best campus recreation centers), to the elite liberal arts colleges in Claremont (which are also where students will find some of the state’s best college dorms). California is the home of Stanford University, the heart of Silicon Valley and the greatest rival to MIT, and to Caltech, an international STEM center. Whatever kind of education, in whatever format and whatever discipline, a student could want, is available in California.

Why Are So Many of the Best Colleges in California?

So much of American life finds its heart in California, and preparing students for leadership and service in those fields is higher education’s responsibility. In the third-largest state by land size, and the largest in population, government, law, and education in California is a labor on par with most nations – California’s economy, in fact, is the sixth largest in the world, and the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas are the second and third-largest economic centers (after New York City). California’s economy is complex; the biggest wine industry in the US, the center of the technology industry, and nearly the whole of the film and television industry, are centered in California. California’s best colleges and universities carry their weight, from UCLA’s influential entertainment programs to Stanford’s world-shaking engineering and technology.

California’s population is just as complex as its economy. From the time of the Gold Rush, California has been a land of migrants, drawing Americans from the East – first to the gold fields and the boom towns, then to the fertile farmland, and then to the growing and vibrant cities. California drew immigrants from another East, too – the Far East, where immigrants from China, Japan, and the rest of the Pacific Rim transformed the culture and society of the place. Today, more than 15% of California’s population is of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Of course, California was once part of Mexico, with Southern California sharing a long stretch of border with our neighbor to the south, and nearly 40% of Californians are Hispanic or Latinx.

From this diversity, California has crafted a culture that is many cultures. The sheer size of California means that there are many Californias (as recent attempts to break up the state have demonstrated), with Southern and Northern California as distinct as, say, Florida is from New York – though both regions are home to some of the best mountain colleges in the US. The Bay Area and Silicon Valley are worlds removed from the fertile central California, and the Mojave might as well be Arizona. Still, the best California colleges have something for everyone, from working adults to young people from underrepresented backgrounds, from environmentalists to the techno-faithful to avant-garde artists. For the first time, in 2010, people born in California outnumber people who moved to California from somewhere else; Californians are Californians.

The Future of California Higher Education

For a long time, California was the future of America, and in the 21st century, we can see what that future looks like – at least in higher education. The best California colleges have helped shape American culture, giving us some of the most influential college rock bands and game-changing, most educated rappers. And as the United States continues to change and develop, California’s higher education system is definitely going to continue to show the way: with public universities that take diversity and service seriously, liberal arts colleges that fuse tradition with innovation, and innovative research institutions that push technology and human potential forward daily.