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Best Colleges & Universities in Pennsylvania
Top Consensus Ranked Schools 2018

Pennsylvania consensus badge

To identify the Best Colleges in Pennsylvania for 2018 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 Pennsylvania anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.

1

Swarthmore College

79.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
84
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

2

University of Pennsylvania

79
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
79.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

3

Haverford College

78.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
79.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

4

Bryn Mawr College

77.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
74.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
80.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

5

Bucknell University

74.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
74
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

6

Lafayette College

73.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
73.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

7

Franklin and Marshall College

72.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
74.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.2
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

8

Gettysburg College

72.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
67.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
77.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

9

University of Scranton

71.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
64.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
78.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

10

Villanova University

71.4
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
67.8
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

11

Dickinson College

70.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
70
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

12

Lehigh University

70.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
65
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

13

Carnegie Mellon University

69.5
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
66.9
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
72
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

14

Saint Joseph’s University

68.8
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
63.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
73.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

15

Muhlenberg College

68.6
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
62.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

16

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

67.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.9
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
79.4
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

17

Allegheny College

67.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
58.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.5
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

18

Juniata College

66.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
57.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
75.6
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

19

Misericordia University

66.2
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.3
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

20

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

65.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
54.9
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
76.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

21

Washington & Jefferson College

64.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
74
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

22

Saint Francis University

64.3
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
60.7
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
67.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

23

Messiah College

64.1
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56.3
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

24

Lebanon Valley College

63.9
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
56
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

25

Geneva College

63.7
COLLEGE CONSENSUS
55.5
PUBLISHER CONSENSUS
71.8
STUDENT CONSENSUS
Accessed July, 2018

Known as the Keystone State – thanks to its centrality in the early days of the American colony – Pennsylvania is one of the most diverse states in the union. It’s not only a highly diverse population, one of the first melting pot in the United States; it’s also a complex mix of urban industry, high finance and banking, agriculture and tourism, with vast countryside, mountains, and forests to attract tourists and nature lovers. In the beginning of the Republic, Pennsylvania was a center of the Revolution (as the site where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed), but Pennsylvania isn’t just history – it remains the nation’s 6th-largest economy and a leader in business and culture.

Pennsylvania’s best colleges and universities are hallmarks of American higher education, from pioneering women’s colleges to the Ivy League. With its roots at the very heart of the American Revolution – site of the writing of Declaration of Independence and the Constitution – and the influence of the 18th century Enlightenment, Pennsylvania has been a leader in higher education since before there was a US, and played critical roles in educating Founding Fathers and the earliest American business, religious, and educational leaders. From front to back, Pennsylvania’s best colleges and universities define “best.”

Why are the Best Colleges in Pennsylvania So Great?

The best colleges in Pennsylvania are some of the world’s most prestigious. They include the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, a globally-recognized private research university founded by Benjamin Franklin, and Carnegie Mellon University, one of the world’s foremost institutions for STEM and the arts alike. Both of these universities began as pioneering and experimental institutions; unlike its Ivy League peers, Penn was rooted in Franklin’s Enlightenment philosophies, focusing on the most current scientific and intellectual developments of the era (rather than religion and classical philosophy). Carnegie Mellon, on the other hand, was built to provide educational opportunity to the working classes of Pittsburgh, though over time, it grew into an elite, globally influential research institution. With the highest level of resources (including one of the best campus rec centers in the US), Penn and Carnegie Mellon represent the potential of higher education.

Like other colleges in the Northeast, Pennsylvania’s higher education system is heavy on small liberal arts colleges, including Little Ivies like Bucknell University and Lafayette University. They include the renowned Quaker Consortium, with Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and Haverford College, institutions that dominate rankings of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation (and feature some of the best college dorms and best college dining halls in the nation). In addition, the names of Founders and Revolutionary War heroes are spread across the state: Franklin & Marshall College, Washington & Jefferson College, Dickinson College. Whether in the humanities and the arts, or professional and technical studies, the best colleges in Pennsylvania are some of the best in the world (including several institutions where students can go to college for free).

Starting with Penn State University, Pennsylvania’s public higher education network is one of the biggest and best in the US. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is composed of 14 public colleges and universities (along with 4 state-supported institutions that are not part of the PSSHE, and 15 community colleges). Penn State has become not only one of the nation’s top-tier public research universities, but also a leader in online education with the Penn State World Campus, which has helped the university reach out to far more students than ever possible. All of the state’s regional campuses add to the potential for advancing the careers of working professionals and career-changing adults, including those in Pennsylvania’s former manufacturing centers who are moving into managerial and service professions.

Into the Future with the Best Colleges in Pennsylvania

In recent years, thanks to transportation and development, Philadelphia is coming back as a real competition to New York City for attracting professionals and commuters. Pennsylvania’s higher education system has been a large part of helping cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh turn their historical strengths into 21st century innovations. The state’s growing minority population also correlates with a growing population of minority students who are using education to create social mobility and political influence. The old manufacturing urban centers, as in other states, are moving to service and professional bases, and the best colleges in Pennsylvania will continue to lead the way to new ways of making a living.