To identify the Best Colleges in Ohio 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 Ohio anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
Oberlin CollegeOberlin, OH
Kenyon CollegeGambier, OH
Cedarville UniversityCedarville, OH
Denison UniversityGranville, OH
Ohio State University-Main CampusColumbus, OH
Ohio Northern UniversityAda, OH
Case Western Reserve UniversityCleveland, OH
Xavier UniversityCincinnati, OH
University of Mount UnionAlliance, OH
The College of WoosterWooster, OH
Marietta CollegeMarietta, OH
John Carroll UniversityUniversity Heights, OH
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityDelaware, OH
Otterbein UniversityWesterville, OH
University of DaytonDayton, OH
Franciscan University of SteubenvilleSteubenville, OH
Miami University-OxfordOxford, OH
Baldwin Wallace UniversityBerea, OH
Ohio University-Main CampusAthens, OH
Defiance CollegeDefiance, OH
Ursuline CollegePepper Pike, OH
Capital UniversityColumbus, OH
Wittenberg UniversitySpringfield, OH
The University of FindlayFindlay, OH
Muskingum UniversityNew Concord, OH
When you think “Ohio,” you think solid, core American values – hard work, stability, and calm, thoughtful problem-solving. In many Americans’ eyes, Ohio is a watchword for old-fashioned American good-heartedness, and people from the Buckeye State are proud to live up to it. Ohio used to call itself “The Heart of It All,” thanks to its central location, and in many ways, Ohio is the heart of America: an equal mix of Northern, Southern, and Midwestern, with the best qualities of all of them, and a lot fewer of their hang-ups. Truly, the worst most anyone can say about Ohio is that it’s a little boring – if you like drama, go somewhere else. (Although Ohio does have some of the best river and lake colleges, and some of the best campus recreation centers, if students are looking for some fun.)
The people of Ohio can thank their higher education system, in large part, for their good nature and stability. The United States’ first real frontier region, Ohio could be called the new country’s first big project; the state didn’t develop without direction, but with real oversight and foresight. Part of that process, at the very start, was higher education, with the first college chartered by an act of Congress (in 1787): Ohio University. Today, Ohio is a center for higher education. From Christian colleges (both Catholic and Protestant) to major public research universities, legendary liberal arts colleges to STEM giants like Case Western Reserve, Ohio’s higher education landscape has it all – all the better for prospective Ohio students.
The Best Colleges in Ohio: Some of the Best Anywhere
Entering the Union in 1803 as a free state, Ohio early on picked up a reputation for Midwestern liberality and common sense. Many of its early liberal arts institutions, like Kenyon College, Oberlin College, and Otterbein University, were founded as some of the most progressive of their time, admitting women and African-Americans on an equal basis. Part of it is a strong religious tradition, carried by people who escapes persecution and welcomed others; part of it is the struggle of having to make a living on the prairie, carving out a space. Whatever the case, the best colleges in Ohio are known for service. Many of Ohio’s colleges and universities are highly ranked for community engagement, providing outreach, service, health, and education beyond the buildings and landscape of campus. Just as Ohio is known for homemaking and hospitality, student life is a priority at many of Ohio’s colleges, which offer some of the best college dorms and best college dining halls in the US.
Ohio’s best colleges and universities value quality and accessibility over all else; nearly all of the top Consensus Ranked schools have been ranked as best values. After all, Ohio was a land of settlers and immigrants, many seeking peace and a home, from religious minorities to escaped and freed slaves. The Ohio State University, in particular, has made openness and accessibility its credo, and for opening up education to as many students as possible, has become both one of the nation’s largest universities, and one of its more dynamic, earning accolades for innovation and entrepreneurship. As far as affordability, an education doesn’t get more affordable than going to college for free, as students at Antioch College learn, with the school’s commitment to making sure students are able to graduate with no student loans.
Ohio’s Best Colleges and the Future of Higher Education
It would be easy to say “Just keep doing you, Ohio; you’re good,” and leave it at that. Despite what Ohio’s native sons in Devo (devotees of de-evolution, and one of the top college rock bands) might have to say about it, Ohio’s general drift has always been toward progress. A stable, middle-class population, with a strong tradition of higher education, low unemployment, and a business-friendly economy, Ohio has all they need to continue their forward momentum for generations. Between its excellent small colleges and a wide system of regional universities, the best colleges in Ohio provide opportunity for all.