Did you know there are over 7,000 post secondary schools in the US? That’s a lot of schools to sift through as you are deciding where to go after high school. After reading last week’s post you should have a better idea of what size school fits you best . (If you haven’t read it yet, you should!) You may have discovered that you want a big, public university. Or perhaps you are on the other end of the spectrum and a small college sounds like the best plan for you.

Either way, now that you have narrowed it down, let’s check out the best schools in those categories. So you can start planning trips and visiting campuses.

*The following rankings are based on data collected and researched by US News and World Report.


Top National Universities

Quick facts: Large student body, large class sizes especially intro level courses, some belong to the Ivy League or are private schools, and offer a wide variety of social activities and clubs.


  1. Princeton University
  2. Harvard University
  3. University of Chicago
  4. Yale University
  5. Columbia University
  6. Stanford University
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  8. Duke University
  9. University of Pennsylvania
  10. John Hopkins University


Top Public Universities

Quick facts: Large student body, large class sizes especially intro level courses, well developed athletics programs, and a wide variety of social groups and clubs. These schools may be less expensive especially if you are a resident in the same state.


  1. University of California – Berkeley
  2. University of California – Los Angeles
  3. University of Virginia
  4. University of Michigan
  5. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  6. College of William and Mary
  7. Georgia Institute of Technology
  8. University of California – Santa Barbara
  9. University of California – Irvine
  10. University of California – Davis


Top Liberal Arts Colleges

Quick Facts: Small class sizes and student body. Offer opportunities to develop close relationships with professors. The professors tend to be less research focused and offer unique approaches to curriculum and teaching.


  1. Williams College
  2. Amherst College
  3. Wellesley College
  4. Middlebury College
  5. Swarthmore College
  6. Bowdoin College
  7. Carleton College
  8. Pomona College
  9. Claremont McKenna College
  10. Davidson College


First Year Experiences

Going to college can be really intimidating! These schools were ranked based on the number of first year experiences and programs they offered students to make them feel at home freshman year and adapt to college life.  


  1. Alverno College
  2. Appalachian State University
  3. Butler University
  4. College of Charleston
  5. College of William and Mary
  6. DePauw University
  7. Elon University
  8. Evergreen State College
  9. Franklin and Marshall College
  10. Georgia State University

Whether you want a big school filled with lots of people and research or a small college with a homey vibe make sure you research a few campuses before you make your decision. Remember the goal is to find a school that fits you, your passions, and helps you find success in life.