Best Colleges for Millennials

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Are you ready to find your fit?

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.

Top 10 Best Colleges for Millennials

Rank School Location
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
2 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
3 Yale University New Haven, CT
4 Columbia University New York, NY
5 Brown University Providence, RI
6 Stanford University Stanford, CA
7 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
8 Princeton University Princeton, NJ
9 Tufts University Medford, MA
10 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA

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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!

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Engineering
    • Computer and Information Sciences
    • Mathematics and Statistics
    • Biomedical Sciences

    Notables

    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.

  2. Harvard University
    Location

    Cambridge, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Biology
    • History
    • Physical Sciences

    Notables

    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.

  3. Yale University
    Location

    New Haven, CT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Psychology
    • Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
    • Computer Science
    • English

    Notables

    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.

  4. Columbia University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Engineering
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services

    Notables

    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.

  5. Brown University
    Location

    Providence, RI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Architecture
    • Design

    Notables

    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.

  6. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Engineering;
    • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Computer and Information Sciences
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

    Notables

    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.

  7. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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
    • Economics

    Notables

    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.

  8. Princeton University
    Location

    Princeton, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Engineering
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry

    Notables

    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.

  9. Tufts University
    Location

    Medford, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Economics
    • National Security Studies
    • Community Health and Preventative Medicine
    • Computer Science

    Notables

    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.

  10. Boston College
    Location

    Chestnut Hill, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    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.

    Features

    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:

    • Finance
    • Economics
    • Speech Communication and Rhetoric
    • Psychology

    Notables

    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.

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