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CC Best Colleges Universities 1

Our 2022 Best Colleges & Universities list is a composite best colleges ranking designed to show prospective college students where their top choices rank across the board.

College Consensus rankings combine the results of the most respected college ranking systems with the averaged ratings of thousands of real student reviews from around the web to create a unique college meta-ranking. This approach offers a comprehensive and holistic perspective missing from other college rankings. Visit our about page for information on which rankings and review sites were included in this year’s consensus rankings. There are many best colleges rankings, but only one Consensus.

Regardless of size, location, form, or classification, these are the colleges and universities that have the best publisher and student ratings. It’s not mixing apples and oranges – it’s crunching the numbers, pure and simple, to see which colleges the experts admire, and which ones the students love.

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What Makes the 2022 College Consensus Best College Ranking Different?

This ranking of the best colleges will look different from other similar rankings, simply because it’s an aggregate ranking. Our ranking methodology is unique. It’s not reliant on self-reported surveys sent out to the schools, or disgruntled students reviews, or mystery shopper investigations: it’s everything, objectively analyzed and ranked. Some colleges that get overlooked in other rankings get their chance to shine; some universities that hog all the glory get their proper place in the ecosystem.

This ranking covers all of the colleges and universities in America, regardless of size, location, or classification. For students interested in online learning, see our ranking of the Best Online Colleges & Universities. Read all about our featured schools below!

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
92.9
College Consensus
99.5
Publisher Consensus
86.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

MIT – the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – ranks among the most elite schools that was founded in the 1860s. Its campus along the Charles River serves more than 33,000 students studying for academic degrees, primarily in the areas of STEM, engineering technology, and mathematics (STEM). MIT collaborates with more than 800 companies in support of its 60+ labs and research centers and carries on a legendary rivalry with Cal Tech in Pasadena CA.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
92.2
College Consensus
99
Publisher Consensus
85.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Stanford University is a private higher learning institution that was established as a junior college in 1885. Located near Silicon Valley, Stanford University is among the globe’s finest universities. The school’s 8,000+ acre campus is one of the largest and serves more than 17,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. With the high graduate salary for most students, student debt is nothing to worry about!

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
92.1
College Consensus
98.5
Publisher Consensus
85.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Princeton University was established in the 1740s as the College of NJ. About 8,450 attend this Ivy League university that is located between New York City and Philadelphia. Princeton’s academic faculty have included Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson, Toni Morrison, and Ben Bernanke, among others.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
91.9
College Consensus
98.1
Publisher Consensus
85.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Yale University, was established in the early 1700s in New Haven CT and is the third oldest in the nation. The school’s historic Gothic-style campus serves more than 12,000 students and operated as the only institution of higher learning in Connecticut until 1823. Yale, as an Ivy League school, is considered most selective in admissions.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
90.8
College Consensus
98.5
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Harvard University was founded in the 17th Century and is recognized as the oldest higher learning institution in the country. This Ivy League and space-grant school’s Harvard Yard campus is across the Charles River from Boston and home to nearly 20,000 students. Harvard has more than 20 million items in its 79 libraries – the largest of its kind.

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AVG: 0 AVG: 0
90
College Consensus
95.3
Publisher Consensus
84.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Williams College is recognized to be a private liberal arts school in western Massachusetts that was established in 1793. US News and World Report has ranked Williams College as the top undergraduate higher learning institution three times. Williams is a space-grant school with a rural campus that serves about two thousand students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
89.5
College Consensus
98.1
Publisher Consensus
81
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Duke University was established in 1838 by Quakers and Methodists and is currently recognized among the most elite universities in the nation. More than 16,500 students attend classes on the university’s large city campus. Duke University is the alma mater of Richard Nixon as well as more than one-dozen billionaires.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
88.8
College Consensus
94.1
Publisher Consensus
83.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Pomona College was founded in 1887 to rival liberal arts schools established in New England. This small school’s suburban campus serves approximately 1,700 students. Pomona is often recognized to be among the most elite liberal arts school in the western US.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
88.8
College Consensus
95.3
Publisher Consensus
82.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Vanderbilt University is considered an elite private higher learning institution that was founded as Central University in 1873 but renamed to honor Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Nashville campus of this space-grant school is home to about 14,000 students and covers 300+ acres.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
88.1
College Consensus
93.1
Publisher Consensus
83.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Cornell University is a private school that operates as a sea-, space- and sun-grant institution of higher learning and is one of the very few private schools that is considered a land-grant university. Cornell maintains three campuses in NYC, Ithaca (Upstate NY), and Qatar that serve more than 25,400 students.

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AVG: 0 AVG: 0
88
College Consensus
94.2
Publisher Consensus
81.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Michigan is a research higher learning institution that was founded in 1817, two decades before Michigan became a state. The campus in Ann Arbor and its regional campuses serve more than 48,000 students. Part of the main campus is a registered US Historic District.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
88
College Consensus
91.7
Publisher Consensus
84.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Amherst College, recognized as a private school in Western Massachusetts and is a member school of the Five College Consortium in Pioneer Valley. Amherst, a highly selective college, was established in 1821 as an all-male institution but became coeducational in the mid-1970s.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.9
College Consensus
91.9
Publisher Consensus
83.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Rice University is a private school that was founded in 1912 by William Marsh Rice. Its emphasis is on research that offers students an impressive 6 to 1 student to faculty ratio. The Houston campus is home to more than 7,150 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.7
College Consensus
89.6
Publisher Consensus
85.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Notre Dame operates as a research institution founded in 1842 near South Bend, IN. The university remains affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross and serves about 12,450 students. Norte Dame is ranked among the country’s best schools.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.3
College Consensus
94.1
Publisher Consensus
80.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public school that was founded as a teacher’s college in 1919. UCLA holds the record for the most application in 2021 – 168,000 for undergraduates. This land-grant school serves more than 45,550 students.

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87.2
College Consensus
94.8
Publisher Consensus
79.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of California, Berkeley is a land-grant university that was founded in 1868 on the east bay of San Francisco. The school’s enrollment exceeds 45,000 students. UC Berkeley is ranked among the best schools on the planet, with more award-winning faculty and researchers than any other public school.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87.1
College Consensus
93.7
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Columbia University was established as King’s College in the 1750s and is one of the nation’s Colonial Colleges. This Ivy League university is recognized among the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world. The NYC campus is home to more than 33,000 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
87
College Consensus
90.4
Publisher Consensus
83.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Brown University is a private space-grant school that was established in 1764. Brown was the first school to allow students of all religions. The city campus of Brown University serves more than 10,250 students each year and is located among Colonial-era buildings listed with the federal government.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.9
College Consensus
93.9
Publisher Consensus
79.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was established in the 1890s as Throop University. The school’s midsize city campus is home to more than 2,250 students who primarily study science and engineering. Caltech’s graduates go on to earn a doctorate more than any other school.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.9
College Consensus
90.2
Publisher Consensus
83.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Washington University in St. Louis operates as a multi-campus academic institution that was founded in 1853. This private space-grant school is home to more than 15,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Washington University in St. Louis often ranks among the most elite US schools.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.8
College Consensus
92.3
Publisher Consensus
81.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Chicago was founded in the Windy City, Chicago IL, in 1890. This private research school also operates as a space-grant academic institution, with a student enrollment that is nearly 11,000. The university maintains international facilities in London, Hong Kong, and Paris, among others.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.7
College Consensus
88.6
Publisher Consensus
84.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Claremont McKenna College was established in the mid-1940s as a liberal arts college. This small, private school is a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium and was first an all-male school. CMC’s suburban campus is home to more than 1,300 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.6
College Consensus
90.5
Publisher Consensus
82.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill operates as a public research academic institution that was founded in 1789 for men only. The school became coeducation nearly a century later.  Recognized among the oldest schools and Public Ivy, UNC is home to more than 30,050 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.6
College Consensus
91.4
Publisher Consensus
81.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Dartmouth College is a private academic research institution that was founded in 1769, making it among the oldest in the nation. The college’s rural campus serves more than 6,550 students. Dartmouth’s alumni include 170 members of the US Congress.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.6
College Consensus
96.1
Publisher Consensus
77.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Founded in 1740 by Ben Franklin in Philadelphia PA, the University of Pennsylvania now operates as an Ivy League university with more than 22,350 students. The Wharton Business School at UPENN is recognized to be among the best in the nation.

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AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.1
College Consensus
94.3
Publisher Consensus
77.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Northwestern University was founded in 1851 (before Illinois became a state) and is recognized as Illinois’s oldest academic institution. This space-grant research school is home to more than 21,850 students each year. The school’s endowment is ranked among the largest in the country.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
86.1
College Consensus
90.8
Publisher Consensus
81.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Virginia (UVA) was chartered in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. The Charlottesville campus is the flagship school of the Commonwealth of Virginia. This public academic institution also operates as a sea- and space-grant school with a student enrollment that exceeds 25,000.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.5
College Consensus
89.4
Publisher Consensus
81.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Wellesley College was established as an all-women’s seminary in 1870. This elite college in Massachusetts serves approximately 2,150 students and is a member of the Seven Sisters College Consortium. This space-grant college is home to a Botanic Garden and the Davis Museum.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
85.3
College Consensus
91.9
Publisher Consensus
78.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Swarthmore College was established in the 1860s as a private college. The college’s suburban campus, which is south of Philadelphia, serves more than 1,550 students. Swarthmore College is a member school, along with Haverford and Bryn Mawr, of the Tri-College Consortium.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.9
College Consensus
91.5
Publisher Consensus
78.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Florida was established in 1905 and operated as a land-, sea- and space-grant academic institution. The campus in northern Florida is home to nearly 38,000 students. The Florida Gators have won more than three dozen national titles.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.9
College Consensus
89.7
Publisher Consensus
80.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of California, Davis is a Public Ivy academic institution that was founded in 1905. The Davis campus, which is the state system’s most northernmost campus, serves more than 31,050 students each year. Several graduate degrees offered by UC Davis rank among the most distinguished available.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84.1
College Consensus
88
Publisher Consensus
80.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) was founded as a public research school in 1885 and is now a member of the state’s university system. More than 35,250 students attend classes offered by the Atlanta-based space-grant institution of higher learning.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84
College Consensus
88.6
Publisher Consensus
79.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Washington and Lee University was founded as Augusta Academy in 1749. W&L now operates as a private school that is home to more than 2,200 students and sits alongside the Virginia Military Institution in Shenandoah Valley. The university is about 180 miles from Washington, DC.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
84
College Consensus
88.6
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Bowdoin College was founded in 1784 in Brunswick, which at that time was still part of Massachusetts. At that time, it was the easternmost academic institution in the country.  This private, space-grant school’s suburban campus serves more than 1,750 students. The school is named for a former Massachusetts governor.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.6
College Consensus
91.5
Publisher Consensus
75.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore MD, operates as a private academic institution that was established in 1876. JHU ranks among the most prestigious universities in the world. JHU’s Baltimore campus is home to more than 27,000 students each year. Johns Hopkins University is organized into ten schools, including three number one-ranked schools – graduate nursing, public health, and engineering.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.4
College Consensus
87.6
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Georgetown University was established in 1789 by a Jesuit Priest and is the oldest Catholic academic institution in the nation. The university’s four campuses in the nation’s capital are home to more than 18,850 undergraduate and postgraduate students. The main campus runs alongside the Potomac River, which overlooks the Commonwealth of Virginia.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.3
College Consensus
84.9
Publisher Consensus
81.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Wisconsin was founded in 1848 as a land-grant academic institution of higher learning. This space-grant school is also the state’s flagship campus. The campus on the shores of Lake Mendota serves approximately 48,000 students each year. UW also maintains an arboretum a few miles from campus.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83.1
College Consensus
85.1
Publisher Consensus
81.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Colby College was founded in 1813 as a theological institution. This private school’s rural campus in Waterville serves a couple of thousands of undergraduate students each year. The campus, which covers more than 700 acres, overlooks the Kennebec River Valley.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
83
College Consensus
86.4
Publisher Consensus
79.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Texas is a Public Ivy academic institution of higher education that was established in 1883. This space-grant research university serves more than 50,900 students on its large-city campus. UT Austin is home to the Presidential Library of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.9
College Consensus
89.3
Publisher Consensus
76.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, Stanislaus is a public academic institution in central California that was established in 1957. The suburban campus of Stan State covers more than two hundred acres and serves more than 10,550 students. California State University – Stanislas is a member school of the CSU system.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.8
College Consensus
84.3
Publisher Consensus
81.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Wesleyan University was founded in the 1830s as a men’s school. Wesleyan was founded by the Methodists but is now a secular academic institution. This space-grant higher learning institution serves more than 3,000 students. Wesleyan is a member school of the Little Three – with Williams College and Amherst College.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.8
College Consensus
86.5
Publisher Consensus
79
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Hamilton College was founded in the 18th century in central Upstate New York. This small, exclusive higher learning institution is home to approximately 1,800 undergraduate students. Hamilton College is often ranked among the top liberal arts school and has been recognized by Forbes as a best-value education.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.7
College Consensus
88.5
Publisher Consensus
76.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) is a polytechnic institution of higher education that was founded in 1938. Cal Poly is one of three polytechnic schools in the Golden State with a student enrollment that exceeds 29,500 students. The school has national ranking programs in these engineering fields – aerospace, mechanical, civil, industrial, computer, and electrical.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.7
College Consensus
87.7
Publisher Consensus
77.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Illinois (UIUC) was established as a land-grant industrial school in 1867. UIUC also operates as a sea- and space-grant academic institution with a student enrollment that exceeds 55,500 students. Its large student body makes it one of the largest public colleges or universities in the United States.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.5
College Consensus
81.6
Publisher Consensus
83.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Davidson College was founded by the Presbyterian Church in 1837. This private school requires students to adhere to a strict honor code. The college’s suburban campus serves about two thousand students. The student-to-faculty ratio for this school is an impressive 9 to 1.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.3
College Consensus
86.2
Publisher Consensus
78.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Washington is an academic research institution that was established in the 1860s, making the University of Washington one of the oldest in the western US. The university maintains multiple campuses in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma that serve nearly 50,000 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.3
College Consensus
91.3
Publisher Consensus
73.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of California, San Diego was founded in 1960 as a public research academic institution. UC San Diego operates as a land-, sea- and space-grant school with a student enrollment that exceeds 42,650 undergraduate and graduate students. The San Diego campus at the University of California is ranked among the top institutions of higher education in the United States.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.8
College Consensus
83.6
Publisher Consensus
80
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Purdue University was founded by John Purdue in the late 1860s. Purdue is a sea-, land- and space-grant university with a combined student enrollment of more than 49,100 students. Purdue has the ninth-largest student enrollment of foreign learners.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.7
College Consensus
90.7
Publisher Consensus
72.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The College of the Ozarks was established in 1906 as a private college by the Presbyterian Church. The college’s Point Lookout campus covers more than 1,000 rural acres that serve more than 1,450 students each year. Students pay no tuition and work for the college in return.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.7
College Consensus
85.4
Publisher Consensus
78
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Tufts University was founded as a private academic institution in 1852. Tufts operates campuses in the greater Boston area and another internationally in France. This research school serves more than 11,600 undergraduate and postgraduate students, most on its Medford campus, which is about five miles from Boston proper.

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AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.6
College Consensus
86.6
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of California, Irvine was chartered in the mid-1960s in southern California. The university’s campus covers more than 1,500 acres and serves more than 35,100 students. UC Irvine is recognized to be a public Ivy league academic institution.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.6
College Consensus
84.5
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

William & Mary was founded as the Royal College in 1693. This research facility also operates as a space-grant and sea-grant institution of higher learning with a student enrollment of nearly 9,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Distinguished alumni for this 2nd oldest school in the nation include three US presidents.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.5
College Consensus
84.7
Publisher Consensus
78.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Emory University was founded in the 1830s as an academic research institution by the United Methodist Church. The school serves more than 15,500 students, which includes the largest healthcare system in the Peachtree State. Emory is considered a highly selective institution of higher education.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.4
College Consensus
83.6
Publisher Consensus
79.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of California, Santa Barbara is a land-grant academic institution that was founded in the 1890s as Anna Black School. This public school is now a member of the UC system and a land- and space-grant university with a student body that exceeds 25,200 each year. US Santa Barbara is the UC system’s 3rdoldest institution of higher education.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.4
College Consensus
78.7
Publisher Consensus
84
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Bryn Mawr College operates as a women’s college in eastern Pennsylvania that was established in the 1880s. The private school serves more than 1,700 students and is a member of the elite group of the Seven Sister Colleges. Bryn Mawr holds the distinction of being the first all-women’s school to award a doctorate academic degree.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.3
College Consensus
80.6
Publisher Consensus
82
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Vassar College, located an hour or so from NYC, was founded in 1861 as an all-female college. This college was the second to offer women academic degrees in the nation. The school’s suburban Poughkeepsie campus is home to nearly 2,500 students at the undergraduate level.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.3
College Consensus
77.7
Publisher Consensus
84.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Carleton College, founded in the 1860s as a college in Northfield, Minnesota, has ranked among the top teacher’s schools by US News and World Report. The space-grant college’s small-town campus covers more than 1,000 acres and serves more than 2,100 students. Carleton College also maintains an arboretum of more than 800 acres.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.3
College Consensus
84.2
Publisher Consensus
78.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Colgate University, located in upstate New York, is a small academic institution that was founded in the 1840s as Madison University. This highly selective admissions school has a student enrollment that nears 3,000 students yearly. Colgate University is considered both a Little Ivy and Hidden Ivy.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81.1
College Consensus
87.3
Publisher Consensus
74.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, Fullerton was founded as Orange County College in the late 1950s but now operates as a CSU system member – one of 23 academic institutions. CSU Fullerton is a recognized Hispanic-serving higher learning institution that has a student enrolment that exceeds 41,100 students on its urban campus.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
81
College Consensus
82.5
Publisher Consensus
79.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Middlebury College, was founded by Congregationalists as a liberal arts school in 1800. The college, which is known for its progressive teaching methods, holds the distinction of being the first operating academic institution in Vermont. The college’s rural campus covers more than 300 acres and is home to more than 2,500 students each year.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.9
College Consensus
85
Publisher Consensus
76.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Carnegie Mellon University is a private academic institution that was founded in 1900 as a technical school by Andrew Carnegie. This private space-grant school is home to more than 15,600 undergraduate and postgraduate students yearly. IN addition to the main Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon maintains various academic locations on six continents.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.8
College Consensus
86.3
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, San Bernardino is a public research school that was founded in the mid-1960s. The suburban campus of this sun- and space-grant school is home to approximately 20,000 students each year. CSU San Bernardino is a Hispanic-serving institution of higher education.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.5
College Consensus
81.6
Publisher Consensus
79.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Barnard College was established as a college for women in 1889. This space-grant school is a member of the Seven Sisters Consortium and a private space-grant college with a student enrollment that exceeds 2,500 students yearly. Barnard College is one of Columbia University’s undergraduate colleges.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
80.2
College Consensus
80.6
Publisher Consensus
79.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Southern California was founded as a private academic institution that was founded in 1880. This private school operates as a space- and sea-grant institution of higher learning with a student enrollment that nears 50,000 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.9
College Consensus
77.6
Publisher Consensus
82.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Harvey Mudd College, a small elite college in Claremont, was founded in 1955. The college is highly selective and serves less than 1,000 students each year on its suburban campus in California. The school offers baccalaureate degrees in math, physics, chemistry, computer science, biology, and engineering.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.9
College Consensus
81.1
Publisher Consensus
78.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Texas A & M University was founded in the 1870s as a land-grant and military college. The College Station campus covers more than 5,000 acres and serves more than 72,700 students each year. TAMU is home to the GHW Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.6
College Consensus
76
Publisher Consensus
83.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) is a public, academic institution that operates as a senior military college as well as a sea-, Land- and space-grant higher learning institution. The college-town campus is now home to more than 36,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.5
College Consensus
73.7
Publisher Consensus
85.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Bates College was established as a liberal arts college in the mid-1850s in Lewiston, ME. Bates offers programming with WashU in St Louis, Columbia, and Dartmouth. The few local campuses operated by Bates College serve approximately 1,800 students yearly.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.4
College Consensus
78.6
Publisher Consensus
80.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo was founded in 1901 and is recognized as part of the Golden State’s CSU system. This space grant institution in San Luis Obispo is home to more than 22,100 students each year. Two years after opening, California Polytechnic State University became a coeducation school.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.3
College Consensus
81.1
Publisher Consensus
77.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, Dominguez Hills, was founded as South Bay State College in the early 1960s. The university is a member school of the CSU system and holds the distinction of having the largest African American student enrollment of all CSU members schools.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.2
College Consensus
79.7
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, Chico was founded in the 1860s as a branch campus in the northern part of the state’s teacher’s college. The school’s campus in Chico is home to more than 16,500 students. The school is organized in to eleven colleges/schools.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
79.1
College Consensus
81.5
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Boston College is a multi-campus, Roman Catholic academic institution that was founded in 1863. This private research school serves nearly 15,000 students. Notable alumni include Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright scholars, plus a US Secretary of State.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.4
College Consensus
79.7
Publisher Consensus
77.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Lafayette College was founded as a liberal arts college in 1828. The school’s main campus (and a satellite campus in New York City) is home to more than 2,500 undergraduate students each year. Lafayette College is recognized and honored to be a Little Ivy and a Hidden Ivy.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.4
College Consensus
75.9
Publisher Consensus
80.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Northern Iowa is a public academic facility that was founded as a teacher’s college in the 1870s. It now operates as a space-grant institution of higher learning. UNI’s urban campus in Cedar Falls is home to nearly 11,000 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.3
College Consensus
75.3
Publisher Consensus
81.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Wake Forest University was established as a private academic institution that was historically a Baptist university. WFU now operates as a nonsectarian school with a mid-city-sized campus in North Campus that is home to nearly 8,800 students each year. Notable alumni include May Angelou and several elite athletes.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.1
College Consensus
78
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

North Carolina State University operates as a public, land-, sea- and space-grant higher learning institution that defines one of the three schools that form the Research Triangle in North Carolina. The Raleigh campus of North Carolina State University serves more than 36,000 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
78.1
College Consensus
79.3
Publisher Consensus
76.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Richmond was founded as Dumlora Academy in 1830. The private university’s campus in Richmond is home to approximately 4,000 students each year. The University of Richmond is primarily a residential school that is organized into five colleges/schools.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.9
College Consensus
74.8
Publisher Consensus
81
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Appalachian State University was established in the late 19th century as a teacher’s college. Appalachian State University is a member school of the UNC system, with a student enrollment that exceeds 20,300 students each year. Appalachian State University is organized into eight colleges and schools that offer more than 200 undergraduate and graduate major options.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.6
College Consensus
72.2
Publisher Consensus
83
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The College of the Holy Cross was founded in the 1840s as a Jesuit school and is recognized as New England’s oldest Catholic College. More than 3,000 undergraduate students attend classes offered by the school – located about forty miles from Boston.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.5
College Consensus
76.3
Publisher Consensus
78.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Lehigh University was founded in the 1860s and now operates as a private research higher learning institution. The school’s 7,000 students attend classes offered by Lehigh’s five colleges/schools offering programs in engineering, arts/sciences, business, education, and health. Lehigh University’s student-to-faculty ratio is an impressive nine to one.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.5
College Consensus
73.1
Publisher Consensus
81.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Georgia, established in the 1780s, is a public research academic facility. UGA is the recognized flagship institution of higher learning in Georgia. The University of Georgia operates several campuses in Georgia. More than 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students attend classes at this land-, sea- and space-grant school.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
77.3
College Consensus
81.3
Publisher Consensus
73.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, Northridge was founded in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles in the 1950s as a public, academic institution. This campus of CSU is among the most diverse campuses in the country, with an active alumni network that exceeds 350,000.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.6
College Consensus
74.6
Publisher Consensus
78.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Northeastern University is a w0rld-class academic research institution that began humbly with evening classes at a local YMCA. The school is known for its innovative cooperative program and its green ecological campus efforts. More than 27,550 students attend classes on its urban campus or online.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.6
College Consensus
73.3
Publisher Consensus
79.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Grinnell College was established by the United Church of Christ in the 1840s. The rural campus for this private liberal arts school covers more than 100 acres and serves more than 1,600 students yearly. Many areas within the campus of Grinnell are listed as Historic Places.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.4
College Consensus
69.3
Publisher Consensus
83.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Augustana University was founded in 1860 as a seminary. Augustana University now operates as a private academic institution established by the Lutheran Church. The urban campus in Sioux Falls is home to a student enrollment that exceeds two thousand. This private school ranks among the best in the Midwest.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.3
College Consensus
75.5
Publisher Consensus
77.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Virginia Military Institute was founded in the 1830s as a public senior military college. VMI’s small-town campus is home to more than 1,550 students. Lincoln called VMI the West Point of the Southern United States. Notable alumni of VMI include a Secretary of State, Secretary of the Army, and Secretary of Defense, among others.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.2
College Consensus
72.6
Publisher Consensus
79.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

James Madison University was founded as a teacher’s school for women in 1908. Through many name changes, James Madison University is named to honor the US President. The university’s college-town campus is home to more than 21,300 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76.1
College Consensus
72.8
Publisher Consensus
79.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The Ohio State University is the flagship academic institution and a member of the University System of Ohio. Founded in 1870, OSU now operates as a land-, sea, and space-grant higher learning institution was a student enrollment across its campuses that exceeds 67,700 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
76
College Consensus
73.8
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Trinity University was founded in 1869 in San Antonio as a small liberal arts school. The university’s urban campus is home to more than 2,650 undergraduate and postgraduate students each year. Trinity is ranked among the best regional universities by US News and World Report.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.9
College Consensus
75.6
Publisher Consensus
76.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Years before Minnesota became a state, the University of Minnesota was founded in 1851 as a land-grant school. The University of Minnesota now also operates as a space-grant academic institution. The Twin Cities is ranked among the best colleges in the west and a best-value school. Its campus serves more than 52,000 students every year.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.8
College Consensus
81.3
Publisher Consensus
70.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, Los Angeles is a public academic higher learning institution that was founded in the 1940s. Cal State LA operates as a space-grant school with more than 25,000 students. Cal State Los Angeles is organized into nine colleges and schools.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.8
College Consensus
71.3
Publisher Consensus
80.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Florida State University was established in the 1850s as the Florida Institute. This research university operates as a sea- and space-grant school that is home to more than 45,400 students each year. The school is home to a variety of libraries and museums.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.8
College Consensus
67
Publisher Consensus
84.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Brigham Young University was established by the LDS Church in 1875. This private research, a space-grant academic institution, is home to a student enrollment that exceeds 33,400 students. Students attending Brigham Young University are required to comply with BYU’s strict honor code.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.8
College Consensus
73.3
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

California State University, Channel Islands is a member school of the CSU system that was established in 2020. The rural campus in Camarillo serves approximately 7,000 students each year. CSU Channel Islands is recognized as a Hispanic-servicing institution of higher learning – the only four-year HIS in Ventura County.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.5
College Consensus
75.8
Publisher Consensus
75.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The University of Connecticut (UCONN) is a land-grant public, academic institution that was founded as an agricultural school in 1861. The University of Connecticut is considered the state’s flagship school, a Public Ivy, plus a sea- and space-grant institution of higher education.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.4
College Consensus
75.1
Publisher Consensus
75.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Boston University was historically operated by the United Methodist Church but now operates as a nonsectarian academic institution. The urban campus along the Charles River is home to more than 33,550 students each year. The BU men’s hockey team has won several national titles.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.4
College Consensus
75.2
Publisher Consensus
75.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Keene State College was established as a teacher’s normal school in 1909. The college now operates as a public liberal arts college. Keene State College is also now a member school of the University System of New Hampshire that serves more than 3,050 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
75.1
College Consensus
67.2
Publisher Consensus
83.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

Whitman College was founded as a small seminary in the late 1850s but abandoned its religious affiliation about five decades later. It now operates as a liberal arts college in Washington State with a student enrollment that exceeds 1,500 students.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.9
College Consensus
70.4
Publisher Consensus
79.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

DePauw University was founded in Greencastle as the Indiana Asbury University. This liberal arts university’s small-town campus serves approximately 2,200 students each year. DePauw University is consistently recognized as the best liberal arts school in the Hoosier State. The school offers an impressive 9 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio.

AVG: 0 AVG: 0
74.9
College Consensus
67.6
Publisher Consensus
82.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2022

The Citadel, which is formerly known as The Military College of South Carolina, was founded in the 1840s in Charleston. The Citadel is a public, sea-grant school that is also a senior military college. The Citadel’s student enrollment nears 3,700 students, with 80% of students studying as cadets.

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What Do the Best-Ranked Universities in the US Have in Common?

pexels andrea piacquadio 3768911One of the biggest complaints about US university rankings is that the same schools always end up at the top of rankings like U.S. News and the Princeton Review. This year’s rankings look like last year’s rankings. How do you find schools if the system is rigged?

Obvious leaders like Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, and Stanford University have an edge other schools can’t catch up to. But the best colleges for undergraduate education have a few things in common – and it’s not student debt.

There are a lot of reasons that we continually see the usual suspects in university rankings, but it tends to correspond to how Americans measure institutional success. Factors like graduation rates, enrollment, job placement, net price, financial aid, and other outcomes are important, but so are intangibles like job market reputation and brand recognition. It’s more than the National Center for Education Statistics can number.

The best-ranked universities in the United States have positive outcomes for their undergraduate education students. A student should be able to expect support from their alma mater to find a job or get started in their career. The universities with the highest ranks also look into the accomplishments of the alumni to measure success after school as an average among all of the students. If the college has a high rate of success among alumni, then the school has a high ranking.

Other factors rankings often look for are financial. Data such as financial aid, funding per student, and endowment (the cash reserves or investments of a college) tell ranking publications something about what resources a college can provide. College affordability has become crucial, according to current education statistics.

pexels julia m cameron 4144096Many college rankings are based on surveys of experts, which is where they can determine things like reputation, loyalty, and trust. Unlike education statistics like graduation rates, or even financial data, these factors are subjective. If enough experts agree on a college’s reputation and trustworthiness, though, those factors essentially become “real” – which is to say, employers, colleagues, and employees will take your degree more seriously.

What Makes the Most Prestigious Colleges in the World Stand Out?

pexels edmond dantès 4347366When you look for the most prestigious colleges in the world, you want to understand the factors that make the university stand out for prospective students. The top colleges in the world have a few key factors that stand out from other programs beyond just department of education statistics, like the SAT scores of their applicants or the amount of financial aid offered. The Ivy Leagues, for instance, are known for their financial aid packages, which helps increase their graduation rates. They make sure students make it through – without student debt, most of the time.

According to BBC News, branding plays a key role in prestige among four year colleges and universities. Schools that have a reputation for research and prominent faculty members have a higher rating than other universities. The history behind the school also plays a role in their reputation. When a 4 year school has a long history of excellence and influence, as well as academic success, it impacts the school’s reputation and their place in best colleges rankings.

The most prestigious colleges in the world also stand out for their wealth – referred to as an institution’s “endowment.” Prestigious schools also have power due to connections in the government and private industry. These connections help the college or university gain access to funding that can provide more resources for research, more prominent faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and financial aid. That, of course, continues the cycle of prestige, making the most prestigious more prestigious again.

What are the Pros and Cons of a College Degree?

pexels mikhail nilov 6893948The most obvious advantage of university education is the career opportunity it provides you. A college education helps you network and build your credentials for a successful career. You have more opportunities and you may find that you are able to increase your earnings potential after graduation to pay your student debt. Most students are more concerned with career success than academic success today. The best school for you might not be as prestigious as other schools, but a good fit is more important than a colleges ranking.

Average salary for college grads has always been higher than non-grades, but average salary is only part of the story. It’s also about long-term success. Your SAT scores might help you find schools, but degree from a good college has a real value.

Of course, students must consider the return on investment. An undergraduate degree takes around four years to complete, and graduate education may take longer. Tuition costs have been steadily rising at a much higher level than inflation for two decades. So has financial aid and student debt. College affordability is an issue. You want to look into the details of your career goals before you assume that you need to attend a college or university for your career. Information like average salary for graduates, average student debt, and graduation rate are important.

College Consensus originally published its first Best College ranking in 2018.

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