Top Pennsylvania Colleges

Pennsylvania has some of the best colleges in the country. Students will find top-ranked liberal arts colleges, public universities, and private universities. The top colleges listed below vary so much in size and type of school that I have simply listed them alphabetically rather than force them into any sort of artificial ranking.

Allegheny College
Allegheny College. Allen Grove
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Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College. thatpicturetaker / Flickr
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Bucknell University
Bucknell University. aurimasliutikas / Flickr
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Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museum and Library
Carnegie Mellon University (top) and the Carnegie Museum and Library (bottom). Jimmy Lin / Flickr
  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 10,326 (5,682 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive research university
  • Distinctions: 11 to 1 student/faculty ratio; top-ranked science and engineering programs; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; membership in the American Association of Universities for strengths in research
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Carnegie Mellon profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for CMU
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Dickinson College
Dickinson College. ravedelay / Flickr
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Franklin and Marshall College
Franklin and Marshall College. The Pocket / Flickr
  • Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 2,104 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: Test-optional admissions; 9 to 1 student/faculty ratio; hands-on approach to education (two-thirds of students engage in research under faculty guidance); chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences 
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Franklin and Marshall profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for F&M
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Gettysburg College
Gettysburg College. fauxto digit / Flickr
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Grove City College
Grove City College. nyello8 / Flickr
  • Location: Grove City, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 2,499 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private Christian liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: One of the country's top conservative colleges; excellent value; impressive retention and graduation rates; chapel requirement for all students 
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Grove City College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for GCC
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Haverford College Path
Haverford College Path. edwinmalet / flickr
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Juniata College - Halbritter Performing Arts Center
Juniata College - Halbritter Performing Arts Center. mjk4219 / Flickr
  • Location: Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 1,526 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 13 to 1 student/faculty ratio and an average class size of 14; no traditional majors but "programs of emphasis"; 30% of students design their own majors; main campus is complemented by a large nature preserve and environmental studies field station
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Juniata College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Juniata
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Easton, Pennsylvania
Easton, Pennsylvania. Retromoderns / Flickr
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Lehigh University
Lehigh University. conormac / Flickr
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Muhlenberg College
Muhlenberg College. JlsElsewhere / Wikimedia Commons
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Penn State University Football
Penn State University Football. nick knouse / Flickr
  • Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 44,406 (37,988 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive public research university
  • Distinctions: Large school with wide-ranging academic offerings; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences, membership in the Association of American Universities for research strengths; athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Penn State profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Penn State
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Swarthmore Parrish Hall
Swarthmore Parrish Hall. EAWB / flickr
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University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania. rubberpaw / Flickr
  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 24,107 (11,851 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive private research university
  • Distinctions: Member of the Ivy League; membership in the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; rich history (founded by Benjamin Franklin)
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Penn profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Penn
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University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh. shadysidelantern / Flickr
  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 27,562 (17,427 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: comprehensive public research university
  • Distinctions: Wide-ranging strengths including philosophy, medicine, engineering and business; membership in the Association of American Universities for strong research programs; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences; athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division I Big East Conference
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Pitt profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Pitt
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Ursinus College Tower
Ursinus College Tower. PennaBoy / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Collegeville, Pennsylvania
  • Enrollment: 1,583 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: private liberal arts college
  • Distinctions: 12 to 1 student/faculty ratio; student-centered curriculum; 170-acre campus boasts an excellent art museum, observatory, and new performing arts facility; chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strong liberal arts and sciences 
  • For more information and admissions data, visit the Ursinus College profile
  • GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Ursinus
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Villanova University
Villanova University. Lauren Murphy / Flickr
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