Top Kansas Colleges

Learn about 5 of the Top Colleges and Universities in Kansas

None of Kansas's colleges and universities are painfully selective, but the state does have some excellent options for higher education. My top picks for the state range from two large public universities to tiny Bethel College with just over 500 students. I've listed the top Kansas colleges alphabetically to avoid the arbitrary distinctions often used to distinguish #1 from #2, and because of the impossibility of comparing schools with such wide-ranging missions, sizes, and personalities. The schools were chosen based on factors such as academic reputation, curricular innovation, first-year retention rate, six-year graduation rate, value, financial aid and student engagement.

Keep in mind that my selection criteria may have little to do with your own interests and goals. Be sure to check out other four-year Kansas colleges to explore more options.

Compare Kansas Colleges: SAT Scores | ACT Scores

Baker University
Baker University. Bhall87 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Baldwin City, Kansas
  • Enrollment: 2,689 (1,719 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church
  • Distinctions: 12 to 1 student / faculty ratio; over 40 areas of study; founded in 1858 (oldest university in Kansas); evening and online programs available; over 70 student clubs and activities; most students receive grant aid; NAIA intercollegiate athletic program
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Baker University profile
  • GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph for Baker Admissions
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Benedictine College
Benedictine College. tonystl / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Atchinson, Kansas
  • Enrollment: 2,189 (2,133 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private Catholic liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 60 academic majors and minors; nearly all students receive grant aid; significant growth in recent years following a $70 million capital campaign; popular business program; NAIA intercollegiate athletic program
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Benedictine College profile
  • GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph for Benedictine Admissions
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Bethel College Kansas
Bethel College Kansas. JonHarder / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: North Newton, Kansas
  • Enrollment: 525 (all undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA
  • Distinctions: higher-than-predicted graduation rate; hands-on learning through research and internships; 10 to 1 student / faculty ratio; average class size of 20; 40 student clubs and organizations; NAIA intercollegiate athletic program
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Bethel College profile
  • GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph for Bethel Admissions
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Kansas State University
Kansas State University. Kevin Zollman / Flickr
  • Location: Manhattan, Kansas (second campus in Salina for the School of Technology and Aviation)
  • Enrollment: 24,146 (19,659 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: students come from all 50 states and more than 90 countries; over 250 undergraduate areas of study; over 475 student organizations; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; rich history dating back to 1858; member of the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the Kansas State University profile
  • GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph for Kansas State Admissions
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Kansas Union at the University of Kansas
Kansas Union at the University of Kansas. Photo Credit: Anna Chang
  • Location: Lawrence, Kansas
  • Enrollment: 27,259 (19,245 undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: public university
  • Distinctions: member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences; students from all 50 states and 109 countries; over 200 fields of study; strong study abroad program; member of the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference
  • Explore the Campus: KU Photo Tour
  • For acceptance rate, costs and other information, visit the University of Kansas profile
  • GPA, SAT, and ACT Graph for KU Admissions
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More Options from the Region

If you're looking for other Midwestern schools that might be a match for your interests, professional goals, and academic qualifications, these articles can help guide you: