25 Best Colleges in Michigan

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Michigan is perhaps best known for being home to the Motor City, but the state’s high-powered colleges and universities can match Detroit for their finely tuned performance.

Best Colleges in Michigan Badge

Home to almost 100 colleges, including eight research universities, Michigan is a highly-favored destination for prospective college students, be they in-state, out-of-state, or even international. In fact, the Best Online Colleges in Michigan are worth looking at as well.

The Great Lake State has a lot going for it. With the most expansive freshwater coastline of any political entity in the world, Michigan is one of the best places for boating and water sports. In the winter, snow blankets the state, perfect for skiing and other outdoor adventures. You can also visit little gems like Frankenmuth, an entire German village home to the world’s biggest Christmas store. And Michigan boasts lots of opportunities for sports fans: the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL all have teams in the state.

While the Great Recession hit Michigan’s (especially Detroit’s) economy pretty hard, the state is most definitely on the rebound. The Big Three automakers are reporting significant profits. This, along with the bevy of other successful industries like high-tech, research and development, agriculture, and transportation, mean that the job prospects for college graduates are quite good. Your job after college might seem like a distant concern, but in four or five years, you’ll be thanking your past self for considering it now.

So whether it’s the natural beauty of the Great Lakes, the cultural richness represented by Motown music, or the thriving economy, consider coming to (or staying in!) Michigan for your college education. In order to help you in your search, we’ve put together this list of the 25 Best Colleges in Michigan, which will aid you in assessing not only which schools are relevant to your interests, but also which ones are feasible financially for you and your family.

Top 10 Best Colleges in Michigan

Rank School Location
1 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
2 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
3 Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo, MI
4 Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI
5 Albion College Albion, MI
6 Michigan Technological University Houghton, MI
7 Siena Heights University Adrian, MI
8 University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, MI
9 Alma College Alma, MI
10 Lawrence Technological University Southfield, MI
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Our ranking is based on both academic quality (acceptance rates, endowment size, and other statistics) as well as on return on investment (how much you’ll end up paying for college versus what you can expect to earn once you’ve graduated). With that, strap in and get your college search in gear!

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  1. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    Location

    Ann Arbor, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, which is more simply referred to as “Michigan,” is a public, sea-grant, space-grant research university that is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was founded in 1817 and is currently the flagship institution for the University of Michigan system. It is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and is classified as a “Doctoral University with Very High Research Activity” by the Carnegie Foundation. It holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC. This university confers over 200 undergraduate degrees, 90 graduate degrees, and 100 doctoral degrees; professional degrees in the fields of medicine, law, and dentistry also can be found at this school. Students may also take courses and degrees online. This university has such a well-known reputation for its academic performance that is has been designated a “Public Ivy. ”Michigan offers students an incredible opportunity to be immersed in their field when living on campus. The school’s residential system has a selection of “living-learning communities” where students from a specific field of study live, study, and work on projects together. Some of these fields include the Women in Engineering program, medical sciences, and community service. It is one of the best universities for service-learning opportunities and is an incredible opportunity for any student interested in expanding their horizons.

  2. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Michigan State University is a public, land-grant, sea-grant research university that was founded in 1855 and served as the first, best example of a land-grant university. This school is known for consistently ranking in the top 30 public universities in the country and in the top 100 research universities in the world as ranked by U. S. News and World Report. The school is located in East Lansing, Michigan, and holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC. This school is a member of the Association of American Universities and is considered a Public Ivy; both of these distinctions come from the school’s commitment to having a world-class education. The school confers over 200 degrees at all levels of education, including professional programs and certificates and endorsements. This school also offers online degrees and courses through the Division of Distance Education. Student life at Michigan State University is an incredible opportunity for any student who’s ever wanted to experience what a small college town feels like. This school has over 200 student organizations, clubs, groups, and sports teams for students to become members of, and the small town feel of East Lansing makes it feel as though the town and the campus is one happy family.

  3. Kalamazoo College
    Location

    Kalamazoo, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Kalamazoo Colleges is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college that was founded in 1833. It has a historical affiliation with the American Baptist Convention. It is one of the oldest universities in the country and is known for producing more Peace Corps volunteers than any other school in the country. It is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association. This school is located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC. This college confers 28 majors at the undergraduate level, focusing on liberal arts and the humanities. There are also 11 interdisciplinary majors for students to consider as well. This school is nationally ranked as one of the best colleges for experiential learning by the Washington Post, U. S. News and World Report, and Forbes. Kalamazoo has a unique approach to learning that is perhaps best represented by the “K Plan. ” This is a program instituted by all educational centers in the Kalamazoo area and focuses on seminars that all students must take in order to graduate. The plan also requires that students study abroad, have proficiency in a second language, and complete a thesis or final project for their major. Service learning is also required at Kalamazoo. The Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Service-Learning houses 23 service-learning programs that offers students the chance to learn how their area of study directly impacts the communities in which they live and work. It is strongly encouraged that students begin their service-learning as early as possible into their education in order to better absorb the lessons that come with that type of education. This makes it one of the top colleges in Michigan for ambitious students.

  4. Andrews University
    Location

    Berrien Springs, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Andrews University is a private, not-for-profit university that serves as the flagship institution of the Seventh-Day Adventist school system. It is the largest Evangelical Christian institution of higher learning in the state. This school is located in Berrien Springs, Michigan and is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. This university confers more than 130 undergraduate degrees and 70 graduate degrees across eight schools and colleges. All programs are accredited by the Adventist Accrediting Association. Online courses, postgraduate degrees, accelerated programs, and non-degree programs are also available for working or adult students. The student-to-faculty ratio at this school is 12:1. Andrews is one of the sponsors of Adventists Colleges Abroad, a program that was designed to help qualified students study abroad while completing the requirements for their degrees at the school. This includes language and cultural immersion that is available in a variety of countries, including Italy, England, Russia, South Korea, and Brazil.

  5. Albion College
    Location

    Albion, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Albion College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college that was established in 1835 and is currently headquartered in the city of Albion, Michigan. It is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is one of the smallest colleges on this ranking. This school is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. Albion confers undergraduate degrees in over 30 areas of study. Pre-professional programs in engineering, law, and medicine are also available. The school has also taken great pains to deliver more than 100 study abroad programs to its students; at any given time, a portion of the school’s student body could be spread out over 60 countries on six continents. The school is home to over 100 registered student organizations and are a huge part of student life at Albion. These organizations range from political to religious and back again. Some of the more popular clubs include The Nwagni Project, Karate Club, Student Senate, and LGBriTs. Intramural sports and musical events are also popular past times at the school.

  6. Michigan Technological University
    Location

    Houghton, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Michigan Technological University is a public research institution that is headquartered in Houghton, Michigan. The school was founded in 1885 and was first created to train mining engineers that worked in the local copper mines. The school is currently ranked as a mid-tier school by both the Princeton Review and U. S. News and World Report. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC. Michigan Tech confers more than 130 programs at all levels of education through five colleges and schools, including professional programs and graduate certificates. The school is best known for its STEM programs but has a strong humanities program as well. Alternatively, students may take part in the Enterprise Program, a program that allows engineering students to work on real-world projects while completing this degree. This, in turn, gives students something to put on their resume prior to graduating from college. There are currently over 200 student organizations that are recognized by Michigan Tech. They include a variety of activist and volunteer groups, political and cultural organizations, sports teams, art clubs, and more. The school also has a nationally recognized suite of student-run media, including a satirical newspaper, a radio station, a Film Board, and more.

  7. Siena Heights University
    Location

    Adrian, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Siena Heights University is a private, not-for-profit, Roman Catholic institution that is affiliated with the Adrian Dominican Sisters. This school was founded in 1919 and is located in Adrian, Michigan. The school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC. Siena Heights confers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level in more than 40 different areas of study. The school also offers high school students the chance to enroll in courses that would count for credit at the high school and college levels. Online courses are also available, with plans to expand into online degrees in the near future. Student life at Siena Heights is best represented by the community engagement that comes from the campus. The students focus on civic engagement and volunteer programs, such as Habitat for Humanity or Adopt-a-Sister, in order to fill their free time with purposeful work. The honor society, Greek life, professional organizations, and religious groups are also popular on campus.

  8. University of Detroit Mercy
    Location

    Detroit, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Detroit is a private, not-for-profit, Roman Catholic, Jesuit university. It is affiliated with both the Society of Jesus and the Religious Sisters of Mercy. It is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The school was established in 1877 and is located in Detroit, Michigan. The school is currently a top-tier Midwestern regional university, an honor it has earned for the past 10 consecutive years. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC. This school confers more than 100 degrees at all levels of education, including postgraduate and specialist degrees. Certifications and endorsements are also available through the school’s Continued Education department. The school also confers online degrees and courses through its online portal; interested students are encouraged to find more information on the school’s website. UDM is best known for its institutes and centers, all of which provide services to the public. One of the largest of these is the Urban Law Clinic, a selection of clinics that focus on one type of law that allows students to argue cases, defend clients, and even speak before Congress on a variety of issues. The law clinic is why this is one of the best universities in Michigan.

  9. Alma College
    Location

    Alma, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Alma College is a private, not-for-profit, liberal arts college that was established in 1886 and is located in Alma, Michigan. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. This school has been nationally ranked by the Fiske Guide to Colleges and the Princeton Review. It is regionally accredited by the NCACS THLC. Alma confers five degrees in over 40 areas of study. The school does not currently offer any graduate programs. Students are also afforded the “Alma Commitment,” a promise by the school to offer interested students their choice of experiential learning opportunity, including study abroad or research fellowship, backed by up to $2,500 from the school’s own fund. Students have a great advantage when it comes to the small size of the school; the campus offers a real cadaver laboratory for its pre-med students, a senior thesis project in which a student participates in real research, and a scholarship community that helps undergraduates find funding for graduate school. Alma is also home to a nationally recognized Model United Nations program. It has won top honors at the National United Nations Conference, which is held every year in New York City, for 18 of the last 21 years. This school holds the record for most “outstanding delegations” awards given throughout the 92-year history of the conference.

  10. Lawrence Technological University
    Location

    Southfield, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Lawrence Technological University is a private, not-for-profit university that was established in 1932 and is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan. The school is home to the Affleck House, a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Detroit Center for Design and Technology. This school holds regional accreditation by the NCACS THLC. This university offers over 45 degrees at the undergraduate level and more than 50 at the graduate and postgraduate levels. These include pre-professional programs as well as certificates and endorsements. Students may also take online courses to complete their degrees; however, it is noted that this university currently does not offer 100 percent online degrees for its student body. There are more than 40 clubs and organizations that are represented on campus, including intramural sports teams, religious groups, political organizations, and more. Greek life is also available on campus, with more than a dozen societies represented. Students can also take on responsibilities for the media, such as the newspaper and radio station, that is run completely by the student body.

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