You’re gonna want to get a Snap of this ranking, cause it’s lit! #blessed
Well, you’ll have to be the judge of that, but if you’re part of the millennial generation, we do have a few suggestions for you, so listen up! Millennials are defined as all you kids who were born roughly between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s and early 2000s. A lot happened during those years, and that means that your generational cohort has some unique needs.
First, you better believe millennials have a handle on technology! In fact, some of you might not even remember the pre-iPhone era, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. This big world is a lot more connected than it was before you were born, and you’ve never known any different.
Also, we know you care about where you live. That means all the best local bars and coffee shops, sure, but you also care about how well your city is doing socially, economically, and politically. It also means being able to get around town on your fixie, by public transportation, or by walking. Some of the best metropolitan areas for millennials include Boston, Massachusetts (including Cambridge), New York (including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, New Jersey), Washington, DC (including Alexandria, VA), and San Francisco, California (including Sunnyvale and Santa Clara).
If all this describes you and you’re also beginning the college search, we’ve got you covered with our first-ever ranking of best colleges for millennials. First and foremost, if you’re in the market for the best education you can find, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to locate and get into the best school you can, period. But if that happens to be in a city that’s also one of the best places for millennials to live, that’s pretty sweet too, right?
In case you’re interested in online education instead, take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities. With an online program, you can live pretty much wherever you want—and get the degree you’re passionate about.
What are the Best Colleges for Millennials?
That’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of the top 50 colleges for millennials with your needs in mind. Here’s how we did it. First, as we said above, it’s important to identify and get into the best school you can. So we started things off by taking an objective look at the best schools in the country as measured by reputation and return on investment.
From there, we then identified which of those schools are located in metropolitan areas that rank among the best places for millennials to live. These areas are characterized by a few important things, such as percentage of residents between the ages of 25 and 34, how many millennial newcomers there are in the city, affordability, job opportunities, public transportation and walkability, and access to bars, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Our data for this ranking was drawn from a variety of public sources, such as U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, PayScale.com, Niche.com, and the U.S. Census. The end result, we think, is a list of schools that not only represent the best education you can get and a good return on investment but also a location that will meet your needs . . . as a super-savvy millennial!
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 100.00
Average Tuition: $78,300
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university that is known as one of the world’s top institutions. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and focuses on STEM subjects. This school holds regional accreditation by the MSCHE.
This university confers 11 degrees at all levels of education in over 100 major areas of study. Students often refer to their majors through numbers or acronyms alone, showcasing the individual nature that comes with learning at the school. Students may also decide to take on concurrent or dual degrees, thereby shortening their time at the school. Online courses are also available through the school and on Coursera. The top majors are:
- Computer and Information Sciences
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Biomedical Sciences
MIT differs from other schools in various ways; there is no grading system for undergraduates. Instead, they are graded on a pass/fail basis, alleviating some of the stress of trying to maintain perfect scores. Students are also required to complete the General Institute Requirements, regardless of their major, and may also be required to recite formulas and take oral examinations in lieu of traditional assignments.
College Choice Score: 99.66
Average Tuition: $65,200
Harvard University is a private, not-for-profit, Ivy League research university that is the oldest school in the country. It was established in 1636 and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is the most prestigious and selective school in the country. This school is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
Harvard confers 46 undergraduate degrees and 166 graduate and professional degrees within its 11 academic units. It is also a highly selective school and rigorous in terms of academic standards; transferring in is almost impossible and students who do transfer in are almost always behind schedule for their graduation timetable. The most popular majors are:
- Social Sciences
- Physical Sciences
Life at Harvard can be difficult, particularly considering how much emphasis is put on educational outcomes. Students often build their own internship and research opportunities and take the time to network with both classmates and faculty. Ambitious students will find the 400 student organizations to be a welcome relief from the rigors of academia, all which make up one of the best institutions of higher learning in America.
College Choice Score: 98.77
Average Tuition: $60,800
Yale University stands among the world’s top research institutions, and counts U.S. presidents, diplomats, business leaders, and countless other top achievers among its alumni. It holds regional accreditation from the NEASC.
Yale offers 80 majors. Most of these majors have a senior requirement that requires one-on-one work with a professor for at least one semester, giving students a taste of research before moving on to professional or graduate-level work. Each year, the school offers approximately 2,000 total courses, most of which enroll fewer than 20 total students. With a 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Yale students can be confident that they will receive excellent instruction. The four most popular majors are:
- Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
- Computer Science
As one of America’s oldest universities, Yale has many student traditions. One of its best-known traditions is the operation of secret societies, such as the Skull and Bones, Scroll and Key, and Sage and Chalice, on campus. It also has numerous student organizations, including 60 cultural associations, more than 50 performance groups, and nearly 100 athletic teams. More student groups form regularly.
College Choice Score: 98.55
Average Tuition: $64,000
Columbia University is a private, not-for-profit, Ivy League research university that is located in the heart of Manhattan, New York City, New York. It was established in 1754 and is the oldest colleges in the state. This school holds regional accreditation by the MSCHE.
There are 20 schools associated with Columbia, including professional and graduate schools; together, the campus confers over 200 degrees at all levels of education, including terminal degrees for a select number of professions. The school also has global satellite campuses in the MENA region, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The top degree programs are in the following areas:
- Social Sciences
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services
Columbia is the home of the Pulitzer Prize; it is therefore not a coincidence that so many of the faculty who have been awarded these prizes are also alumni. The school has also produced five of the founding fathers of the country, Supreme Court Justice, and U.S. Presidents.
College Choice Score: 98.51
Average Tuition: $51,367
Brown University is a private, not-for-profit, Ivy League research university that is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. It is one of the nine Colonial Colleges that was founded before the American Revolution. This school holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This school confers over 40 degrees at the undergraduate level, 28 graduate degrees, and 51 doctoral degrees. These include professional degrees in the realm of engineering, public health, and medicine. There are a variety of dual degrees available as well; while the school does not currently offer fully online degrees, online courses are slowly becoming available. The dual degree program also features specialized education in:
- Visual Media
Brown University has many traditions that mark the school year, one of which is the Spring Weekend, a music festival that has featured famous musicians such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen among others. The school also has Greek life, societies and clubs, as well as intramural sports teams and more for students to enjoy.
College Choice Score: 98.24
Average Tuition: $70,800
Stanford University is a private research university that is headquartered in Stanford, California. It is one of the largest campuses in the country and covers over 12 square miles. The school is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
This university offers over 100 degrees at all levels of education, including professional degrees, across seven different schools. Stanford houses its own medical and law school, meaning that undergraduate students in these areas of study can move onto advanced study through their alumni. Currently, the school’s majors with the highest enrollments numbers are STEM subjects. They include:
- Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
- Computer and Information Sciences
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Stanford has over 650 student organizations that are represented on campus, including religious groups, political organizations, sports clubs, and more. Greek life is also a large part of life on campus, and traditions help create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 97.90
Average Tuition: $50,410
Johns Hopkins University is a private, not-for-profit, research university that was founded in 1876. It was named after the abolitionist Johns Hopkins, who founded and established the university as a medical school. This university is located in Baltimore, Maryland, and operates centers all over the world, including in Italy and China. This school holds regional accreditation by the MSCHE.
This university offers every way possible to get a degree; traditional, hybrid, part-time, evenings, and online degrees are all available here. There are over 50 degrees at the undergraduate level and more than 150 degrees available at the graduate and professional levels, all available for students in ways that fit their needs the best. The most popular programs tend to be STEM subjects and medical degrees. Other top programs are:
- Public Health
- International Relations and Affairs
Johns Hopkins is best known as a medical research school. Research is a large part of the undergraduate education here; over 80 percent of all students perform independent or team research alongside faculty and staff. In fact, the school’s research is often the most cited in the medical and science world, attracting more than one million citations over a ten-year period. It is the school to attend for students interested in medical research.
College Choice Score: 97.82
Average Tuition: $65,700
Princeton University is a private, not-for-profit, Ivy League research university that was founded in 1746 and is one of the oldest schools in America. It is associated with producing a large number of US politicians, Nobel Laureates, Rhodes Scholars, and Marshall Scholars. This school is located in Princeton, New Jersey, and holds regional accreditation by the MSCHE.
This school offers degrees in 31 areas at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Certificate programs, as well as some select online offerings, are also available for ambitious students. The most popular programs at this school include:
All students have guaranteed placement during their undergraduate years at Princeton. Students also have access to a variety of traditions, cultural events, and even the Model United Nations Conference, all on campus. Students are also encouraged to become members of any one of the 250 student organizations that are represented on campus.
College Choice Score: 97.71
Average Tuition: $56,700
Tufts University is a private, not-for-profit, research university that was founded in 1852 by Christian Universalists. The school is best known for its international programs and study abroad experiences. This school is located in Medford, Massachusetts, and holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This school confers over 175 degrees at all levels of education, including first-professional programs and certificates and endorsements. The school is best known for its engineering and medical programs alongside its international relations programs, all of which have been individually ranked by prestigious associations. Other notable programs are in:
- National Security Studies
- Community Health and Preventative Medicine
- Computer Science
Tufts enjoys a large study abroad program that more than 500 undergraduates participate in every year; one of its largest partnerships is with the University of Oxford, which is located in London. Other options include traveling to Paris, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, and other countries around the world; short terms and full semester terms are also available.
College Choice Score: 97.58
Average Tuition: $56,800
Boston College is a private, not-for-profit, Jesuit Catholic, research university that is a member of the 568 Group and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The school remains affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and the Jesuit Order. The school, which is located in Chestnut Hills, Massachusetts, is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
This school confers over 150 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels among its nine schools and colleges. Online programs are also available for working professionals. BC has been designated one of the “25 New Ivies” by Newsweek and has other top-tier rankings by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. Top programs are in:
- Speech Communication and Rhetoric
One of the most unique programs at BC is AHANA, a program that offers opportunities to students of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent. It is a term that has been trademarked by the school and is officially used for over 50 organizations across the country.
College Choice Score: 97.41
Average Tuition: $57,800
Northeastern University is a private, not-for-profit research university that holds classification from the Carnegie Foundation. It offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees to its nearly 25,000-strong student body. This school is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
This school confers more than 60 degrees at the undergraduate level and over 125 programs at the graduate level as well as various online programs for working professionals. This school operates on an experiential-based teaching module, allowing students to incorporate service learning, research, and global experiences into their education. Northeastern is also known for its co-operative education program, which places about 5,000 students with employers in and around the Boston area each year. Top majors here are:
- Health Professions
Northeastern is known for having a robust student life; the school currently sponsors over 19 varsity teams and over 30 intramural teams, 200 student organizations, Greek Life, and student-run media organizations, all of which students are welcome to take part in. Volunteer and community service programs are also available.
College Choice Score: 97.09
Average Tuition: $55,400
A private, not-for-profit university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Georgetown University stands as the oldest Jesuit school in the United States. Accredited by NCACS THLC, Georgetown has a reputation for excellence. It offers coursework in 15 areas of study, ranging from technology to philosophy, with many degree and concentration programs in each.
Georgetown students operate both the country’s largest student-run business and largest student-run financial organization. These organizations compete with other student-run businesses, such as those operated by Columbia University and Harvard University students, and working in one of these businesses often draws attention from potential future employers. Top majors at Georgetown include:
- Foreign Languages
Georgetown also proudly performs research in many areas. Its location offers opportunities to work with major scientific centers and policy think tanks. Researchers from Georgetown, including both students and faculty members, work on research in cancer, neuroscience, public policy, social justice, and numerous other issues.
College Choice Score: 96.98
Average Tuition: $51,800
Boston University is a private, non-profit, nonsectarian research university that enjoys a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. This school is a member of the Boston Consortium for Higher Education and the Association of American Universities. This school is located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, and holds regional accreditation by the NEASC.
Boston University confers over 250 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, professional, and specialist levels of education. The school also houses a strong online program for busy students. There are also minors, graduate certifications, endorsements, and dual degree programs for students to choose from. BU has a reputation for an exemplary faculty, which currently includes Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners among the faculty and staff. Top degree programs include:
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Public Administration and Social Service Professions
- Social Sciences
- Computer and Information Sciences
Life is never boring at Boston University. This school has everything from honor societies and ROTC to graduate workshops and a community service center. To date, there are over 200 student organizations recognized by the school and many more that are sponsored by various departments. This school is also a great choice for students interested in living and interning in the Boston area.
College Choice Score: 96.93
Average Tuition: $47,100
Brandeis University is a private, not-for-profit research university that was founded in 1948 by the Jewish community. It is named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court. The school is a member of the Association of American Universities and the Boston Consortium. It is located in Waltham, Massachusetts and is regionally accredited by the NEASC.
Brandeis confers undergraduate degrees in 43 majors; there are 46 minors that students can also choose from to complement their studies. There are also over 65 degree programs at the graduate and postgraduate levels, including some majors, such as Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, that are rare among universities. Like many other universities, this school also provides the opportunity to enroll in dual degree programs as well as online courses. Here are some popular majors:
There are over 270 active student groups on the Brandeis campus at any given time, including Greek life, honor societies, and political groups. The school also has a strong arts-focused student life; there are 11 acapella groups, six theater companies, and one comedy troupe. Activism groups also feature heavily here, with organizations devoted to feminism, LGBTQ, and anti-racism agendas.
New York University
College Choice Score: 96.88
Average Tuition: $55,700
New York University is a private, not-for-profit research university. It is considered to be one of the world’s leading research universities and has been ranked by Times Higher Education, U.S. News and World Report, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities as one of the top 25 institutions in the word. It is located in Manhattan, New York City, New York, but operates satellite campuses all over the world.
NYU is one of the best online universities in the country, sharing the same reputation with its on-campus programs. There are over 200 programs offered at this school at all levels of education. Many of these programs are rarely found anywhere else and include:
- Luso-Brazilian Language and Literature
- Musical Theater Writing
- Near Eastern Studies and Business
NYU is home to over 450 student clubs, organizations, Greek life fraternities and sororities, honor societies, and sports teams. The school also has a variety of student-run media groups, such as newspapers, literary blogs, comedy magazine, tv station, and a radio station. Because of the school’s location within Manhattan, students will never have to wonder about getting bored: everything they could ever hope to find is located within the five boroughs.
University of California Berkeley
College Choice Score: 96.37
Average Tuition: $60,500
The University of California at Berkeley, one of California’s public, land-grant, state research institutions, leads the University of California system. Berkeley holds accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission, and is often ranked as the best public university in the United States and even the world. It has the number one public research university library in the country, and research forms the core of its mission.
This commitment to research has earned Berkeley a reputation for innovation and leadership in science. Major discoveries in multiple fields, including the flu vaccine, the wetsuit, and the discovery of carcinogens, trace their lineage back to Berkley.
Berkeley offers hundreds of degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, and professional degrees. The school comprises 14 colleges and schools, and many of its offerings can be found online as well. For students interested in pursuing medical degrees, Berkeley offers a joint program with the University of California at San Francisco.
University of California Davis
College Choice Score: 95.70
Average Tuition: $51,800
The University of California at Davis is a public, land-grant, space-grant, state research university that is a member institution of the University of California System. It has been designated a Public Ivy and holds Carnegie classification as a comprehensive doctoral research university. This school is located in Davis, California, and holds regional accreditation by the WASC SCUC.
UC Davis confers more than 100 undergraduate degrees and 96 degrees at the graduate and postgraduate level. This school has a vested interest in research, agricultural and animal science; to this end, the school has its own Department of Viticulture and Enology as well as the Agricultural and Resource Economics Program. The most popular programs at this school are firmly in the natural and agricultural sciences. Other popular programs are:
- Business/Managerial Economics
- Neurobiology and Anatomy
- Political Science and Government
What makes UC Davis unique from other schools on this list is their devotion to agricultural science. The school houses its own dairy and meat-processing plant, an experimental farm, a vineyard, and an equestrian facility. There is also an arboretum available for students who need it for research purposes, making this the top college for those interested in the natural sciences.
Stevens Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 95.64
Average Tuition: $65,600
Steven Institute of Technology, which is known as SIT to students, is a private, not-for-profit research university. It has the distinction of being one of the oldest technologically focused schools in the country and to be the first institution dedicated to mechanical engineering. This school is located in Hoboken, New Jersey, and holds regional accreditation by the MSCHE.
SIT is home to one of the best online colleges in America, but it is best known for its on-campus programs. This school is hailed as one of the best colleges for students interested in engineering programs; there are over a dozen concentrations in that field alone at the undergraduate level. There are also over 20 programs available and the graduate and postgraduate levels. Take your pick from some of the following engineering programs:
- Mechanical Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
The school also has a reputation for its research centers. The National Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce, the National Systems Engineering Research Center, and the Atlantic Center for Innovative Design and Control of Small Ships have all been recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence.
College Choice Score: 95.51
Average Tuition: $50,500
Founded by the Catholic Diocese of New York in 1841, Fordham University is the oldest Catholic institution in the northeastern United States and New York’s third-oldest institution of higher learning overall. It approaches education from the Jesuit perspective, including its principles of cura personalis, magis, and homines pro aliis. These principles encourage respect for students’ individual natures, a desire to strive for excellence, and a sense of service to others.
Fordham has three primary campuses: the 8-acre Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan, the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx, and the Westchester campus. It also has two additional locations: the Louis Calder Center, a biological field station, and the London Center, a global campus in London, England.
At Fordham, students participate in more than 60 undergraduate and more than 130 graduate degree programs. One graduate program to note is its law program, which offers eight specializations, including fashion, intellectual property, and corporate compliance, among others.
University of Washington
College Choice Score: 95.17
Average Tuition: $55,100
The University of Washington at Seattle is a public flagship research university that is a member of the Association of American University. It is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast and was established in 1861. It is located in Seattle, Washington and is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
There are over 140 different degrees available at this school at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. They are split up into 18 schools and colleges, including the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and the School of Oceanography, both of which are well respected. Online courses and programs, although few, are also available at UW. Here’s a look at some top majors:
- Biological and Biomedical Sciences
- Management and Marketing
- Health Professions
This university is well known for the sheer number of rankings it appears on. Select schools have appeared on rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Forbes, The Princeton Review, and Washington Monthly. It is one of the most well-regarded institutions, particularly for its health sciences programs, including its medical and nursing degree programs.
George Washington University
College Choice Score: 94.93
Average Tuition: $49,500
The George Washington University is a private, not-for-profit research university that is the largest college or university in the D.C. Area. It was established in 1821 and is named after the country’s first president, George Washington. This school is located in Washington, D.C., with campuses all over the capitol. The school holds regional accreditation by the MSCHE.
The school confers over 150 degrees, certifications, and endorsements across ten different colleges and schools. Dual degrees are also available from most of the schools and colleges on campus. Students will find that a variety of complementary programs, such as Study Abroad or internships, are offered as well to give them a well-rounded experience prior to moving into the professional world. Hot-item majors include:
- Health Professions
GWU is known to be one of the most politically active schools in the country; this is no doubt due to the fact that students are living and studying in the country’s capital, surrounded by politicians and activists all year round. It will come as no surprise, then, that out of the 300 student organizations available at the school, the political organizations are the most popular.
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
College Choice Score: 94.36
Average Tuition: $60,600
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is a public, sea-grant, space-grant, public institution that is a member of the University of Michigan System. It is a member of the Association of American University and is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.
Michigan, as the school is known, confers over 275 degrees at all levels of education. This includes certifications, endorsements, and non-degree executive education programs. The school also has a stated interest in online education; this is one of the pioneering online universities and already hosts over 20 degrees available 100 percent online. The top four popular undergraduate degrees are:
- Computer and Information Sciences
- Business Administration and Management
- Experimental Psychology
Michigan is one of the most prestigious research universities in the country and holds a “doctoral university with very high research” designation by the Carnegie Foundation. The school is best known for its focus on STEM fields at the postgraduate level and has been ranked by the Princeton Review, U.S. News and World Report, and the Financial Times for these programs.
College Choice Score: 94.21
Average Tuition: $46,100
The American University (AU), located in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., was chartered by an Act of Congress in 1893. AU fulfills the dream of the founding fathers of a national university, established in the country’s capital, albeit a century later. While it offers degrees in numerous fields, it was designed to help train the next generation of public servants, and continues in this tradition to this day. It operates eight schools and colleges, covering arts and sciences, business, communication, education, international service, public affairs, professional and extended studies, and law.
AU firmly believes in its role as a leader in American progress. It admitted women as students before they gained the right to vote, and admitted African Americans during segregation. In 2017, it appointed its first female university president, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Matthews Burwell.
University of Minnesota
College Choice Score: 93.27
Average Tuition: $51,700
The University of Minnesota at Twin Cities is a public, land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant research institution that serves as the flagship for the University of Minnesota system. It is one of the largest campuses in the country, enrolling more than 50,000 students annually. This school is located in the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, and holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.
This school confers over 140 degrees at the undergraduate level and an incredible 200 degrees at the graduate, postgraduate, and specialist levels. The school is also home to three branches of the Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, and is known for being one of the nation’s top research facilities. Here’s a glimpse into a few popular majors:
- Agricultural Education
- Child Psychology
- Special Education
- Civil Engineering
The school houses the Minnesota Student Association, which is the undergraduate student government at the school. It works closely with the school to ensure that students have an abundant amount of activities and personal interest groups to participate in while they are at the campus. This include student-run media, sports intramural teams, and more.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 92.94
Average Tuition: $57,100
The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), situated in the University Heights neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, sits squarely in the greater New York metropolitan area. From its campus, one can walk to downtown Newark, and can reach New York City in less than half an hour by rapid transit.
NJIT’s offerings include 126 degree programs spread across six schools and colleges, including bachelor’s, master’s, PhD, and professional degrees. Its Honors College serves as the platform for most professional programs, which operate through partnerships with nearby institutions like Rutgers Medical School and Seton Hall Law School.
NJIT invests strongly in research, with more than $150 million in funding given to research work at the school each year. The school’s Office of Research provides support and services to all who perform research at the university, including students, faculty, non-faculty staff members, and external research partners.
College Choice Score: 92.64
Average Tuition: $50,200
Rutgers University operates three campuses in New Jersey, including one in New Brunswick, one in Newark, and one in Camden. It also operates additional facilities across the state, serving more than 50,000 undergraduate students and 20,000 graduate and professional students. It employs 9,000 faculty members within more than 150 departments.
Rutgers University’s mission consists of three key components. It provides for the instructional needs of New Jersey citizens through its educational offerings, conducts research that contributes to the well-being of the state and the country, and performs public service in support of the citizenry. It considers each of these to reinforce and support the other elements in a culture of service and learning.
Some of the offerings at Rutgers can be completed entirely online. As of 2019, it offers 16 degree programs that can be completed without setting foot on a Rutgers campus, of which three are bachelor’s degrees and 13 are master’s degrees.
University of Wisconsin
College Choice Score: 92.55
Average Tuition: $50,800
The University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-Madison), headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, dates back to 1848, the same year Wisconsin achieved its statehood. This Higher Learning Commission-accredited public research university serves as the flagship campus for the broader University of Wisconsin system, and remains the state’s largest public university as well as its oldest. UW-Madison provides an experience comparable to the Ivy League universities, and is one of the few American public universities to do so. It enjoys a budget of more than $3 billion, and was the sixth highest ranked university for research expenditures in the country as of 2017.
UW-Madison’s student body comprises nearly 45,000 students as of fall 2018, with more than 30,000 of them enrolled in its undergraduate programs. About 5,000 students participate in its special and professional degree programs, with just under 9,000 studying in master’s and doctoral programs.
University of Texas at Austin
College Choice Score: 92.49
Average Tuition: $53,400
The University of Texas at Austin is a public, space-grant research university that is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. It is also a member of the American Association of Universities and is a major center for academic research in the South. This school is located in Austin, Texas, and is just a mile away from the state capitol. It holds regional accreditation by the SACS COC.
UT Austin has been named one of the best institutions in the country by U.S. News and World Report. This is in part because of the school’s academic offerings: there are over 100 undergraduate degrees and 170 graduate and postgraduate degrees to choose from, including dual-degree and impacted majors programs. There are also eight honors programs that students can participate in, most of which reside within STEM majors. Some of the most popular majors include:
- Supply Chain Management
- Public Relations
- Athletic Training
- Civil Engineering
UT Austin is known for its great student life, especially considering that Austin is the home of the SXSW Festival and Austin City Limits, but it is also known for something much more interesting: STEM research. The school attracts more federal research grants than any other university in the country except MIT. It currently focuses on STEM research, specifically engineering and physical sciences. There are also over a dozen research centers on campus that offer student research opportunities to interested undergraduates and graduates.
University of San Francisco
College Choice Score: 92.33
Average Tuition: $51,100
The University of San Francisco (USF), a Jesuit Catholic university in California that has operated for more than 150 years, stands on a 55-acre campus between the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. Its primary campus, known as The Hilltop, rests on Lone Mountain, one of the most distinctive geographic features in San Francisco. Its current motto, Cura personalis, reflects the school’s proud Jesuit history.
USF comprises five colleges: Arts and Sciences, Law, Management, Education, and Nursing and Health Professions. It has nearly 500 full-time faculty members across these colleges, as well as another 685 part-time faculty members, with more than 90% of these instructors having the terminal degree within their field.
USF performs prodigious research within its 18 centers and institutes. Topics of study include child and family development, criminal justice leadership, public service, nonviolence, and many others.
Carnegie Mellon University
College Choice Score: 92.02
Average Tuition: $69,400
Carnegie Mellon University is a private, not-for-profit research university that was founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie. It merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in 1967 and has consistently earned top-tier placement from U.S. News and World Report. The school is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and holds regional accreditation from the MSCHE.
This school confers over 125 degrees at all levels of education, including specialist and professional degrees. Certifications and endorsement programs at the graduate level are also available, as are a select number of joint degree programs. The school is best known for its STEM programs; over 60 percent of all graduates earn a degree in one of these fields. Here’s a look at a few top majors:
- Medical Management
- Civil & Environmental Engineering
- Materials Science and Engineering
Carnegie Melon has a strong international reputation, operating satellite campuses around the country and the world. The school currently houses a College of Engineering campus in Kigali, Rwanda, an Entertainment Technology Center in Portugal, and other campuses in Athens and Japan. Programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels at many of these campuses; however, spaces are limited, so students are encouraged to apply early.
George Mason University
College Choice Score: 91.68
Average Tuition: $52,100
Not too far from Washington D.C. is where you’ll find George Mason University. The public, co-educational university started out in Fairfax, VA with fewer than 20 students in 1957 but today enrolls more than 34,000. Approximately 6,300 students live on campus, but the majority of attendees are commuters. Mason is one of youngest schools in Virginia and also the largest. The student to faculty ratio is 16:1.
A forward-leaning education that prepares students to serve their communities and tackle the world’s biggest problems is the goal of George Mason University. Students are urged to complete an internship at places like the White House, the Justice Department, or ESPN. There are over 200 degree programs at Mason for the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. A few of the generally popular majors are:
- Political Science
- Biomedical Science
Considered as one of the top 15 innovative universities nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University also placed #71 among all public institutions, and its law school placed #41. Additionally, Mason is widely thought to be a best value by Kiplinger’s and Forbes. Upon graduation, Mason students earn the highest salaries on average of those who attended Virginian universities.
University of Denver
College Choice Score: 91.62
Average Tuition: $47,800
The University of Denver has served Colorado for more than 150 years, and is the oldest independent private university in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. This university offers both graduate and four-year degrees, and enrolls about 12,000 students across all programs.
The University of Denver helps students build the connections they need to succeed after graduation. The University of Denver does its best to provide students with personal attention and advising, with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio and average class sizes under 21 students. It also provides opportunities for students to work with academics and professionals in the Denver area, so many students end up staying close to the city after graduation.
The programs at the University of Denver turn an eye toward solving real problems. Its students, faculty, and outside partners work together to address issues like aging and sustainability through cutting-edge cross-disciplinary research.
University of Chicago
College Choice Score: 91.23
Average Tuition: $53,000
The University of Chicago is a private, not-for-profit research university that is a top-tier national university. It is located in Chicago, Illinois and is known for the wealth of professional schools it houses on its campuses. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.
This school confers 50 undergraduate degrees and more than 150 graduate and professional degrees among its 13 schools and colleges. The professional schools, including the UC Medical Center and the UC Law School, are some of the most prestigious in the country. Online degrees and courses are also available at this school. Here’s a look at some top majors:
- Computational Analysis and Public Policy
- Global Studies
- Molecular Engineering
UC is known for its scientific research and has been designated a center with “the highest research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation. The school operates more than 140 research centers and institutes on campus. It is also well known for student-involved research that has resulted in developments within sociology and economics.
College Choice Score: 91.05
Average Tuition: $56,800
Northwestern University is a private, not-for-profit, research university that has a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church that dates back to its establishment in 1851. It is a comprehensive doctoral research university that is designated an “Ivy Plus” school. This university is located in Evanston, Illinois, with satellite campuses in and around the country as well as overseas in Qatar. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC.
Northwestern currently confers over 250 degrees at all levels of education; online courses and degrees are also available. The school is also part of the Chicago Star Partnership, a City Colleges Initiative that provides scholarships to students who have graduated from a public Chicago school and received their associate’s degree from an accredited college. Here are some of the top majors:
- Earth and Planetary Sciences
- Industrial Engineering
Student life at this school is marked by traditions that the entire school celebrates; this includes Dillo Day, the 30-hour Dance Marathon, and the Painting The Rock events. Students are also treated to a plethora of annual productions put on by student-led organizations, including improv groups that list Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Seth Meyers as alumni.
St. John's University
College Choice Score: 90.60
Average Tuition: $48,500
Founded by the Congregation of the Mission in 1870, St. John’s University (SJU) currently calls Utopia Parkway in Hillcrest, Queens, New York home. When it was originally founded, however, it was in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, with its relocation happening eight decades after its initial establishment. It holds accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
St. John’s comprises six graduate schools and five undergraduate schools. Between the two, it has more than 21,000 students, including 16,766 undergraduate students and 4,580 graduate students as of 2017. These students study in more than 100 programs, including accelerated three-year bachelor’s programs, five-year bachelor’s-to-master’s degree programs, and two six-year programs that start with undergraduate coursework and terminate in doctoral degrees.
St. John’s University has a strong international component. In addition to its four New York locations, it also maintains campuses in Italy, France, and Ireland, enabling students to study abroad while still receiving a St. John’s education.
University of Pittsburgh
College Choice Score: 90.13
Average Tuition: $53,300
The University of Pittsburgh is one of the older institutions on our list, having been founded in 1787. Its undergraduate population is just shy of 20,000, and Pitt is widely recognized for many of its programs, including the School of Medicine, School of Education and Swanson School of Engineering.
The School of Medicine, which works in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is particularly well regarded, and the institution receives one of the highest amounts of funding from the National Institutes of Health. Pitt alumni can be found in nearly every industry, and the university is well known for its environmental sustainability initiatives. Some of the top majors here include:
- English Literature
- Supply Chain Management
- Athletic Training
Pitt offers a bachelor’s program in just about any subject you can imagine, and its resources are wide-ranging. It offers seven major areas of study in addition to five certificate programs in the area of business, for instance. Students at Pitt participate in a number of hands-on learning opportunities, such as case studies, internships, competitions, and collaborative projects in addition to global learning opportunities. The Pittsburgh metro offers students countless additional opportunities for learning from leaders in a variety of industries.
University of St. Thomas
College Choice Score: 89.93
Average Tuition: $49,100
The University of St. Thomas, a private liberal arts and archdiocesan university, operates in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul. This university enrolls more than 10,000 students, and is Minnesota’s largest private not-for-profit institution. It offers more than 150 undergraduate majors and minors, as well as more than 55 graduate degrees.
St. Thomas’s campus provides many opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue within its eight schools and colleges. It counts students from 73 nations among its student body. It also operates a campus in Rome, Italy, giving students the chance to see the greater world.
St. Thomas’s relationship with the Minnesota business community has given its students excellent outcomes. More than 90% of top public companies in Minnesota recruit from the St. Thomas student body, and 93% of graduates find employment or acceptance at a graduate school within eight months of graduation.
Seattle Pacific University
College Choice Score: 89.31
Average Tuition: $47,200
Seattle Pacific University (SPU) is a private liberal arts university in Seattle, Washington, founded in 1891 in conjunction with the Oregon and Washington Conference of the Free Methodist Church as the Seattle Seminary. It became the Seattle Seminary and College in 1913, adopting the name Seattle Pacific College in 1915, and took its present name in 1977.
Seattle Pacific is the only private university in the Pacific Northwest to make the 2017 U.S. News and World Report’s Best National Universities list. SPU joins the University of Washington and Washington State University as the only three institutions from Washington state named to the magazine’s list. The university sits on a 43-acre campus at the northern end of Queen Anne Hill, approximately four miles north of downtown Seattle. Here’s a look at a few majors:
- Global and Urban Ministry
- Music Therapy
- Global Development
SPU offers a four-year alternate series of general education classes for honors students called University Scholars that revolves around a Great Books reading list and the writing of a lengthy senior dissertation. Along with literature classes, the curriculum includes two Faith & Science classes and a Christianity & Scholarship class. The work load is generally very rigorous.
College Choice Score: 87.95
Average Tuition: $61,300
Duke University is a private, not-for-profit research university that is located in Durham, North Carolina, and is part of the state’s Research Triangle. It is known as one of the best universities in the world. This school holds regional accreditation by the SACS COC.
This school offers over 100 degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including professional programs. The university is best known for its professional schools, including the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and the Fuqua School of Business. Online courses are also available; however, there are no online degrees. Unique undergraduate majors at Duke include:
- Brazilian and Global Portuguese Studies
- Medieval and Renaissance Studies
- Theater Studies
- Evolutionary Anthropology
Duke students are required by the school to live on campus for the first three years of their undergraduate career; it has been mandated in order to make students feel more a part of the campus. The school also offers more than 400 clubs and organizations that are recognized by the student association, as well as civic engagement activities and traditions.
Ohio State University
College Choice Score: 87.32
Average Tuition: $51,600
The Ohio State University is a large, primarily residential, public university in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and ninth university in Ohio with the Morrill Act of 1862, the university was originally known as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College (Mech). In 1878 the Ohio General Assembly passed a law changing the name to “The Ohio State University.” It has since grown into the third-largest university campus in the United States.
In 1916, Ohio State became the first university in Ohio to be extended membership into the Association of American Universities, and remains the only public university in Ohio among the organization’s 60 members. The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities (2000) by Howard and Matthew Greene listed Ohio State as one of a select number of public universities offering the highest educational quality. Here’s a look at a few popular majors:
- Actuarial Science
- Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife
- Real Estate and Urban Analysis
Undergraduate admissions to Ohio State are classified as “more selective” by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review and according to the data are the most selective for any public university in Ohio. 63% of incoming freshmen in autumn 2016 were ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. Ohio State’s freshman class has included at least 100 National Merit Scholars for nine of the last ten years.
Illinois Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 86.93
Average Tuition: $59,900
The Illinois Institute of Technology is a private, space-grant research university that has a stated focus in STEM, business, and law programs. It has been in continuous operation since 1890. The school, which is located in Chicago, Illinois, is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC.
This school confers over 80 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and specialist levels. The most popular programs revolve around the Armour College of Engineering and Science. The Chicago-Kent College of Law, which has been around since 1886, is also extremely popular and has been ranked a tier-one law school for five years in a row by U.S. News and World Report. Here’s a look at a few popular majors:
- Global Studies
- Information Technology and Managment
- Aerospace Engineering
Illinois Tech has a vibrant and well-established student life, including over 50 student organizations, clubs, religious groups, sports teams, and more. Students can also feel free to head over to “The Bog,” the school’s resident pub and bowling alley, after a hard day hitting the books.
College Choice Score: 86.75
Average Tuition: $47,100
Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit was founded in 1878 by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. It started as the Catholic College of the Holy Ghost, but changed its name in 1911, at which point it became Pennsylvania’s first Catholic university. It enrolled more than 9,300 students as of 2018. It currently holds accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
The main campus at Duquesne contains 46 buildings spread across 48 acres, including academic, administrative, and student housing buildings. Its residential halls can house nearly 4,000 learners.
The Rangos School of Health Sciences, the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement were all added between 1988 and 2001. The addition of these schools, as well as facilities like the Power Center on Forbes Avenue, shows Duquesne’s commitment to high-quality academics relevant to the modern world.
Loyola University Chicago
College Choice Score: 86.61
Average Tuition: $45,600
Loyola University Chicago, also known as Loyola or LUC, is one of the largest Catholic universities in the country. Since its founding by the Jesuits in 1870, it has grown to become a major cultural and economic player in the Illinois landscape. Loyola counts both business and civic leaders among its alumni, both locally and further afield. Loyola alumni have led major international corporations like McDonald’s, and pulled in Emmy, Grammy, Peabody, and Pulitzer awards. Average entering undergraduates sit in the top quartile of their classes, with strong SAT and ACT scores.
LUC enrolls more than 17,000 students, including nearly 12,000 undergraduate students and more than 5,000 graduate or professional students. It spreads these students across six campuses in the Chicago metropolitan area as well as campuses and guest programs in Rome, Beijing, and Ho Chi Minh City. Its flagship campus, the Loyola Lake Shore Campus, sits in the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods of Chicago.
College Choice Score: 85.78
Average Tuition: $50,200
DePaul University takes its name from 17th century French priest Saint Vincent de Paul, and as of 1998, was the largest Catholic university in the United States by number of enrolled students. It is also the 13th-largest private, not-for-profit university, and the Midwest’s largest. DePaul University focuses on recruiting first-generation college students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, seeking to uplift those in need of new opportunities.
DePaul operates two main campuses, located in Lincoln Park and the Loop. The former hosts its Colleges of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Science and Health, and Education. The Loop campus, meanwhile, hosts its School of Music, Theatre School, and John T. Richardson Library.
DePaul draws many distinguished individuals for lectures and forum events each year. Some recent visitors include Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean, former U.S. President Barack Obama, and author Margaret Atwood.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 85.59
Average Tuition: $49,300
Arizona State University (commonly referred to as ASU or Arizona State) is a public metropolitan research university on five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area, and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona. The 2017 university ratings by U.S. News & World Report rank ASU No. 1 among the Most Innovative Schools in America for the second year in a row.
ASU is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the U.S. It had approximately 72,000 students enrolled in fall 2016, including nearly 59,000 undergraduate and more than 13,000 graduate students. ASU’s charter, approved by the board of regents in 2014, is based on the “New American University” model created by ASU President Crow. Here’s a glance at a few interesting majors:
- Environmental Design
- Community Sports Management
- International Trade
- Digital Culture
ASU is classified as a research university with “R1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity” designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Since 2005, ASU has been ranked among the top research universities in the U.S., public and private, based on research output, innovation, development, research expenditures, number of awarded patents and awarded research grant proposals.
North Carolina State University
College Choice Score: 84.55
Average Tuition: $52,400
Created by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1887 as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1887, North Carolina State University (NC State) enrolls more than 35,000 students and employs more than 2,200 faculty and 6,500 staff to serve their needs. NC State enrolls more students than any other university in North Carolina.
Many of North Carolina State University’s programs have been ranked among the best by U.S. News and World Report, Kiplinger’s, and Princeton Review. Some programs that have earned attention from these organizations include veterinary medicine, online graduate-level computer and information technology, graduate-level engineering, and graduate-level statistics.
NC State also partners with private organizations to enhance its research. Its Centennial Campus hosts industry, government, and nonprofit research partners, and serves as a model for public-private cooperation that other organizations can look to for ideas. Many new businesses have begun at NC State’s Centennial Campus.
University of Illinois Chicago
College Choice Score: 84.33
Average Tuition: $51,500
The University of Illinois at Chicago or UIC is a state-funded public research-intensive university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Its campus is in the Near West Side community area, adjacent to the Chicago Loop. The second campus established under the University of Illinois system, UIC is also the largest university in the Chicago area, having approximately 29,000 students enrolled in 15 colleges.
The University of Illinois at Chicago offers 83 bachelor’s degrees, 93 master’s degrees, and 64 doctoral degrees through its 15 colleges, in addition to the university’s specialized Honors College (for undergraduates) and the omnibus Graduate College (for graduate students). UIC offers eleven inter-college programs, some of which are organized as centers. It is also home to the largest medical school in the country. A sampling of interesting majors includes:
- Nutrition Science
- Architectural Studies
- Gender and Women’s Studies
- Public Policy
Students admitted to the Honors College must complete an additional application to the college, after being admitted a degree-granting college. In order to be admitted and remain in the Honors College, students must maintain a GPA of 3.4 or above and participate in an Honors College activity each semester, separate from their regular classes.
College Choice Score: 83.74
Average Tuition: $52,200
Marquette University is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and currently has a student body of about 12,000. Marquette is one of the largest Jesuit universities in the United States, and the largest private university in Wisconsin.
Marquette is organized into 11 schools and colleges at its main Milwaukee campus, offering programs in the liberal arts, business, communications, education, engineering, law and various health sciences disciplines. The university also administers classes in suburbs around the Milwaukee area and in Washington, DC. While most students are pursuing undergraduate degrees, the university has over 50 doctoral and master’s degree programs and 37 graduate certificate programs. Some include:
- Africana Studies
- Exercise Physiology
- Peace Studies
The university includes 11 schools and colleges: Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business Administration, J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Health Sciences, College of Nursing, College of Professional Studies, Graduate School, Marquette University School of Dentistry, and Marquette University Law School. Marquette’s largest college by enrollment is the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences.
University of New Mexico
College Choice Score: 79.02
Average Tuition: $40,700
The University of New Mexico (UNM), a public research university based in Albequerque, offers degrees at every level in many fields. It has been part of the higher education landscape in America since 1889, and enrolls more students across all campuses than any other university in New Mexico.
UNM’s campus offers a unique environment. Its buildings draw from nearby Pueblo Indian villages for architectural inspiration. The campus also offers a nationally-recognized arboretum as well as a duck pond, giving students and the public a view of the botanical beauty available in the American Southwest.
Many of this university’s programs rank highly within their kind. U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of New Mexico School of Medicine 20th in primary care, and the UNM School of Law came 14th in clinical training. Students interested in mass and visual communication can take a look at its photography program, which is ranked fifth in the United States.
Old Dominion University
College Choice Score: 78.76
Average Tuition: $45,200
Old Dominion University, also known as ODU, is a public, co-educational research university located in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, with two satellite campuses in the Hampton Roads area. It was established in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary and is now one of the largest universities in Virginia with an enrollment of 24,670 students for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Old Dominion University is classified as a Carnegie Doctoral, Higher Research Activity University. Old Dominion University provides nearly $2 billion annually to the regional economy. The university offers 168 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to over 24,000 students and is one of the nation’s largest providers of online distance learning courses. Old Dominion University has approximately 124,000 alumni in all 50 states and 67 countries. The top majors are:
- Health Professions
- Business Management
- Social Sciences
Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS/COC) to award baccalaureate, masters, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. The Batten College of Engineering and Technology is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The Strome College of Business is AACSB accredited.