Top Texas Colleges

The following list of the 13 best Texas colleges and universities includes a wide range of options from giant public universities to small Catholic colleges. Whether you're looking for impressive Division I athletics or a small and intimate college, Texas has something to offer. The top Texas colleges listed below vary in size and type of school, so it is simply listed in alphabetical order rather than another form of ranking. It makes little sense to compare tiny Austin College to UT Austin within a formal ranking.

Admissions Standards

To get a sense of the admissions standards for top Texas colleges, check out comparison tables of SAT scores and ACT scores for admitted students. Also, see if you have the grades and test scores you need to get into any of the top Texas colleges with this free tool from Cappex: Calculate Your Chances for Top Texas Colleges.

Learn about other top colleges and universities in the United States:​

Austin College

austin-college-Urbanative-wiki.JPG
Austin College. Urbanative / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Sherman, Texas
  • Enrollment: 1,278 (1,262 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Liberal Arts College Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church
  • Distinctions: High number of graduates go on to graduate school. There is an emphasis on community service and study abroad and there is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Most students receive significant grant aid.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the Austin College profile. Also, check out the GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Austin College.

Baylor University

Baylor University
Baylor University. Jandy Stone / Flickr
  • Location: Waco, Texas
  • Enrollment: 16,959 (14,348 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Private University Affiliated with the Baptist Church
  • Distinctions: 145 areas of study and 300 student organizations are here. There is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Baylor Bears compete in the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs and other information, visit the Baylor University profile. Also discover ​GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Baylor.

Rice University

Rice University
Rice University. faungg's photos / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Enrollment: 6,855 (3,893 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Private University
  • Distinctions: This is the most selective university in Texas. There is an amazing five to one student/faculty ratio. There is also excellent retention and graduation rates. There is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences and they are a member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs. Rice Owls compete in the NCAA Division I Conference USA (C-USA).
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the Rice University profile.​ Also, see the GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Rice.

St. Edward's University

St. Edward's University
St. Edward's University. LoneStarMike / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Enrollment: 4,601 (4,056 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Private Catholic University
  • Distinctions: There is good grant aid here and a 14 to 1 student/faculty ratio. It is named an "Up-and-Coming University" by U.S. News & World Report. There is a curricular emphasis on experiential and service-oriented learning.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the St. Edward's University profile. Also, discover the GPA, SAT and ACT graph for St. Edward's.

Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Southern Medodist University
Southern Methodist University. Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Enrollment: 11,739 (6,521 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Private University Affiliated with the Methodist Church
  • Distinctions: There is a strong Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts. There is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. SMU Mustangs compete in the NCAA Division I American Athletic Conference.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the SMU profile. Also look at the GPA, SAT and ACT graph for SMU.

Southwestern University

Southwestern University
Southwestern University. Matthew Rutledge / Flickr
  • Location: Georgetown, Texas
  • Enrollment: 1,489 (all undergraduate)
  • Type of Institution: Private Liberal Arts College
  • Distinctions: It was founded in 1840 and is the oldest university in Texas. There is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. This is a highly rated liberal arts college with good grant aid.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the Southwestern University profile. Also, see the  GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Southwestern.

Texas A&M, College Station

Kyle Field at Texas A&M
Kyle Field at Texas A&M. Stuart Seeger / Flickr
  • Location: College Station, Texas
  • Enrollment: 65,632 (50,735 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Public Research University
  • Distinctions: This is a Senior Military College with strong engineering and agriculture programs. They are a member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs and there is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Texas A&M Aggies compete in the Division I SEC Conference.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the Texas A&M profile. Also, look at the ​GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Texas A&M.

Texas Christian University

Higher Learning
Texas Christian University, TCU. Moment Editorial/Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • Enrollment: 10,394 (8,891 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Private University Affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Distinctions: There was a recent massive investment in new facilities and upgrades and a 13 to 1 student/faculty ratio. There is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Texas Christian Horned Frogs compete in the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the Texas Christian University profile.​ Also, review the GPA, SAT and ACT graph for TCU.

Texas Tech

Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University. Kimberly Vardeman / Flickr
  • Location: Lubbock, Texas
  • Enrollment: 36,551 (29,963 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Public Research University
  • Distinctions: This is a huge 1,839-acre campus with degrees offered in 150 majors. There is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Texas Tech Red Raiders compete in the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the Texas Tech profile. Also, glance over the ​​GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Texas Tech.

Trinity University

Trinity University in Texas
Trinity University in Texas. Anh-Viet Dinh / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Location: San Antonio, Texas
  • Enrollment: 2,466 (2,298 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Small Private University
  • Distinctions: There is a 8 to one student/faculty ratio and historic ties to the Presbyterian church. Students tend to come from 45 states and 64 countries and there is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the Trinity University profile. Also take a look at the ​GPA, SAT and ACT graph for Trinity.

University of Dallas

University of Dallas
University of Dallas. Wissembourg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Enrollment: 2,357 (1,407 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Small Private Catholic University
  • Distinctions: This is one of the top Catholic colleges in the U.S. with a 13 to one student/faculty ratio. Nearly 80% of undergraduates study for a semester on the Rome campus and there is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences as well as strong grant aid.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the University of Dallas profile. Also, review the GPA, SAT and ACT graph for the University of Dallas.

University of Texas, Austin

University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin. Amy Jacobson
  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Enrollment: 51,331 (40,168 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Public Research University
  • Distinctions: This is one of the largest public universities in the country, one of the top public universities in the U.S. and one of the top business schools in the U.S. They are a member of the Association of American Universities for strong research programs and there is a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa for strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. Longhorns compete in the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the UT Austin profile. Also, have a look at the​ GPA, SAT and ACT graph for UT Austin.
A Residence Hall at the University of Texas at Dallas
A Residence Hall at the University of Texas at Dallas. Stan9999 / Wikimedia Commons
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Enrollment: 26,793 (17,350 undergraduates)
  • Type of Institution: Public Research University
  • Distinctions: There are 125 academic programs here and strong business, science, and applied science programs. This is a good educational value and Division III UTD Comets have had significant success in many sports including soccer and basketball.
  • Acceptance Rate: For acceptance rate, test scores, costs, and other information visit the UT Dallas profile. Also, ensure to review the​ GPA, SAT and ACT graph for UT Dallas.
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Grove, Allen. "Top Texas Colleges." ThoughtCo, Dec. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-texas-colleges-788331. Grove, Allen. (2017, December 28). Top Texas Colleges. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-texas-colleges-788331 Grove, Allen. "Top Texas Colleges." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-texas-colleges-788331 (accessed May 22, 2018).