College Rankings

Find Top Schools in a Wide Range of Categories

Low Library at Columbia
Low Library at Columbia. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Below you will find links to a wide range of rankings for U.S. colleges and universities. I selected schools based on factors such as four- and six-year graduation rates, retention rates, financial aid, value, and the general quality of academic programs. Always keep in mind that my selection criteria may have little to do with what makes a school a good match for your particular goals, interests, and personality, and any ranking of colleges should not be viewed as any kind of objective truth. 

Top Private Universities

Low Library at Columbia
Low Library at Columbia. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Among the top private universities, you will find some of the most selective and prestigious institutions in both the country and the world. They are also some of the priciest, but realize that a university such as Harvard has huge financial aid resources, and students from families with modest incomes can actually attend for free.

Top Public Universities

UC Berkeley. brainchidvn / Flickr

Quality public universities, especially for students who don't qualify for financial aid, represent some of the best educational values available. Some schools are also idea for students who want lots of school spirit and competitive NCAA Division I athletic programs. 

Top Liberal Arts Colleges

Williams College
Williams College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

If you're looking for a more intimate college environment in which you'll get to know your professors and your classmates well, a liberal arts college could be an excellent choice.

Top Engineering Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Justin Jensen / Flickr

If you aren't 100% sure you want to major in an engineering field, you should look for a comprehensive university with a strong engineering school rather than an institution that has engineering and applied science as a primary focus. In these articles, you'll find both types of schools:

Top Undergraduate Business Schools

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. Jack Duval / Flickr

These universities typically rank among the best for undergraduate degrees in business. Keep in mind, however, that you don't need an undergraduate degree in business to get into an MBA program, and many of the most successful business people actually majored in fields as diverse as computer science and philosophy.

Top Art Schools

Alumni Hall at Alfred University
Alumni Hall at Alfred University. Denise J Kirschner / Wikimedia Commons

If art is your passion, be sure to check out these schools. Some of our top picks are dedicated art institutions, but a few are comprehensive universities with highly regarded art schools. 

Top Women's Colleges

Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College. Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr

These women's colleges provide top-notch liberal arts educations, and many also provide students with additional opportunities through cross-registration programs with neighboring colleges and universities.  

Top Colleges by Region

New College of Florida Waterfront
New College of Florida Waterfront. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

If you're focusing your college search on a particular part of the United States, these articles can help you find the schools that frequently rise to the top of the rankings for your region:

Top Catholic Colleges and Universities

University of Notre Dame. Michael Fernandes / Wikipedia Commons

The Catholic Church has long supported quality institutions of higher education around the world, and some of the best universities in the United States are affiliated with the church (University of Notre Dame and Boston College, for a couple examples). See all of the top picks here: