To identify the Best Colleges in Texas 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 Texas anywhere. Read more about our rankings methodology and sources at our about page.
Texas Lutheran University
The University of Texas at Austin
Texas A & M University-College Station
Southern Methodist University
Texas Christian University
Howard Payne University
University of Dallas
Saint Edward’s University
Southwestern Adventist University
East Texas Baptist University
Abilene Christian University
St Mary’s University
Texas Tech University
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Dallas Baptist University
Texas A & M International University
Lubbock Christian University
Texas has a lot of land, a lot of people, and a lot of need for higher education opportunities to keep the state’s professionals, leaders, and workers up to date and productive. And, in grand Texas tradition, the state has done it in a big way, with no less than six public university systems that include some of the best colleges in Texas. The University of Texas and the Texas A&M systems are the largest and best-known, funded by the highly lucrative Permanent University Fund (which is fueled by oil and mineral rights on public land). Other public university systems in Texas include:
- Texas State System
- Texas Tech System
- University of Houston System
- University of North Texas System
Texas also has a wealth of private research institutions, like Rice University, an institution frequently named among the Southern Ivies, and known for one of the best campus recreation centers and some of the best college dorms in the nation). There are also a host of religious universities, from Catholic to Baptist, including the University of Dallas, Texas Lutheran University, and St. Edward’s University. Texas is known as a highly religious state, and these Christian colleges and universities are a deeply-rooted part of Texas’ educational and cultural identity.
Making the Best Colleges in Texas
As its reputation goes, Texas is a place that does things its own way, and has from the beginning. The second-largest state in the union – in population and land size – Texas could be several states, and that’s true geographically, culturally, and even politically. Texas has three of the largest cities in the US: Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth, and in these cities, urban life is at its grittiest and busiest. Then there are the vast plains and deserts, where massive, sprawling ranches, farms, and emptiness creates isolated pockets of rural life that are just as much Texas as the cities. The southern border is home to some of the fastest-growing communities in the US, especially in the Rio Grande Valley and don’t forget the Republic of Austin – one of the most distinctive, innovative, and hip cities in the world.
Texas is also a highly diverse people, with Hispanic and Latinx Americans making up 40% of the population and growing. Of course, Texas was once Mexico, and Hispanic culture is deeply ingrained in Texas life, from the Tejano music of the border region to the never-ending parade of taco trucks in Austin. A relatively small African-American population (around 11%), largely centered around Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, has led a cultural resurgence in the 21st century, drawing on a history of influence (particularly in the rodeo and blues music), and a contemporary confluence of hip-hop music, gastronomic innovation, and political activism.
The Future of Texas Higher Education
Somehow, Texas’ higher education system needs to meet the needs of all these communities, regions, and people groups – veterinary and agricultural sciences for the ranching and farming regions; engineering and business training to support the growing tech hubs around Austin (the Silicon Hills) and Dallas (the Silicon Prairie); professional services like education and healthcare throughout the state. And the best colleges in Texas have made the state a mecca for higher education, especially healthcare and technology. Thanks to Hispanic-Serving institutions like UT Rio Grande Valley, Texas has become a leading state for Latinx college enrollment, as younger generations of Latinx students claim their place in Texas culture and professional life.
Texas already has one of the best higher education systems by any measure: the sheer number of affordable public universities; the number of globally and nationally-recognized public and private research universities, which include not just some of the best universities in Texas, but in the world; the continued growth of Texas’ top cities, and the steady development of higher education opportunities in those cities; and the outreach that regional campuses and online education can provide to Texas’ rural communities, where higher education is especially in need. With initiatives like Sam Houston State University’s planned medical school, huge research grants at institutions like Texas A&M, and legislative efforts to increase public funding, the future of higher education in Texas is a bright as the Texas sun.