The time has come at last. You’re all finished with high school and ready to take your first steps into the real world. For many young adults, this first step is applying to college. This life-changing decision is one of the most important choices that you’ll make at this early stage of adulthood. A positive college experience is crucial to ensuring success in your field of study and can make or break your future career goals.
Fear not. This list of the best colleges and universities will give you a starting point on which campuses to look into. An optimal college experience entails many different factors which will vary in importance depending on your personal preferences. Campuses with prestigious extracurricular activities and respectable programs of studies are among the most amazing as well as universities with thriving athletic programs and school spirit. A complete college experience should also be as fun as it is academically fulfilling. All of these attributes in the right balance are what make these institutions the most amazing.
10.) University of Wisconsin-Madison
A lesser-known university, the University of Wisconsin in Madison is undoubtedly what many people would call a “party school.” This campus is anything but boring, having been honored with the title of the sexiest college campus of 2013 according to the Huffington Post. In 1988, the satirical news publication The Onion was also founded at this unique little Midwestern university. Aside from their neat and quirky honors, the University of Wisconsin-Madison also has a large and respectable sports program.
9.) University of Texas-Pan American
The University of Texas-Pan Am makes the list due to the reasonable tuition that they charge their students as well as the numerous sources of financial aid that they have to offer. Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates are offered (for less than $6,000 and $14,000 per year respectively) to students. Additionally, numerous grants, scholarships, and endowments are offered directly through the university and their affiliates. Students have online access to a plethora of these financial awards as well as several work-study opportunities offered by the university.
8.) The University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Another Midwestern party school, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln is home to the ever-proud Cornhuskers and one of the most enthusiastic crowds in NCAA football. Centered in the middle of the United States, this middle-American college campus is located in Lincoln, an average-sized city known for little more than red beer and the enormous amount of local pride that stems from the common love of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. With local pride also comes a sense of community; Lincolnites are some of the friendliest and neighborly people despite their intense competitiveness for college football. Having sold out tickets for more than 300 consecutive home football games, the hometown college pep that resonates with this University and city is sure to make for an unforgettable college experience.
7.) Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas
Another university in Texas, this college boasts having the happiest college students in the nation according to The Huffington Post. This small-town university successfully retains over 90% of their incoming freshman and scored a 9.3 (out of 10) in the overall health of their students. They scored a perfect 10 when students were asked about their overall experiences and when asked if they would go back and do it all over again, 98% said that they would. All-in-all, A&M students are some of the happiest.
6.) DePaul University
DePaul University is a respectable private university in Chicago. Aside from being located in the big Windy City, this college yields undeniable results when it comes to the success of their alumni. Performing arts students seem to thrive the most here; some notable alumni who went on to make big names for themselves include actors John Bosley and John C. Reiley as well as Fall Out Boy bassist and singer Pete Wentz. DePaul was ranked in the top 25 most innovative college campuses in the United States by U.S. News. Even though the acceptance rate (69.9% as of 2015) is pretty high, the success of DePaul graduates is undeniable.
5.) New York University
New York City, New York
This eastern coast university is located in America’s largest city. Students will never run out of things to do or places to see in such an immense and historic metropolis. Not to mention, the average graduate is expected to earn a median yearly income of $50,000 upon finding work after graduating. NYU has high standards and delivers accordingly to their well-educated alumni. This university also has well-known drama and music programs. New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts boasts some big names in Hollywood. James Franco, Adam Sandler, and Angelina Jolie are just a few notable alumni. Students who graduate from here are basically guaranteed to be set up for success.
5.) Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University isn’t a common choice for many young people who are getting ready to attend college. However, BYU is another university which delivers promising results for its graduates. While it a private college affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the exclusive standards that they set and deliver to students is something to be considered for students who may not even be affiliated with the church. Regardless of religious affiliation, BYU offers high-quality and personalized education, with over half of the classes offered having 20 or fewer students. According to US News, they are #16 in the best value schools as of 2016 and offer very reasonable aid and tuition of less than $6,000.
4.) Georgetown University
One of the first universities to be established in the United States has more to offer than its rich history and prestigious academics. Aside from being located in our nation’s capital city, the campus itself is well-maintained and beautiful. The historic buildings that were built as early as the 1790’s resonate with the ideas of the great minds that have the privilege of attending this private college. Knowledge and Greek culture are a couple of the most defining characteristics of this university. Aside from the academic aspects of Georgetown, much more is offered here. The majority of students are involved in all kinds of activism and extracurricular programs on campus. Once a year, though, everyone forgets all about their studies for a day at an all-day carnival hosted by the university for students and faculty calledGeorgetown Day.
3.) University of California-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
UCLA is pretty much unanimously considered to be an all-around great university. Various university ranking systems have placed the Los Angeles university at respectable spots in all kinds of different categories. According to Times Higher Education World University Rankings list for 2015-2016, the University of California campus in Los Angeles is ranked 16h in the world for academics and 13th in the world for reputation. If international respect isn’t enough, the beautiful weather and living in California’s largest and most exciting coastal beach city should be enough to consider attending UCLA.
2.) Harvard University
It should almost go without questioning as to why Harvard made it so close to the top of the list. As one of the most respectable and prestigious in the world, the alumni of this historic New England university campus are the definition of intelligence and academic success. An internationally applauded institution, Harvard University has so much more than just the academia. Located in beautiful Cambridge, a city not far from Boston, there is a lot of history to explore and natural beauty to appreciate if you’re fortunate enough to be able to attend this top-not private university
1.) University of Missouri
The most amazing college campus of 2016 is the University of Missouri. Aside from the promising academics, awesome student resources and the short driving distance from some of the biggest and most fun cities in the Midwest, this middle-American college topped the list due to its practicality for college students. For a promising research university, Mizzou has an incredibly high acceptance rate of over 75% and reasonable tuition, with the average program costing less than $10,000 annually. Students can also enjoy the peaceful environment of a smaller college city while being just a few hours away from more exciting places like St. Louis, Kansas City and Omaha. Aside from all of these simple and terrific pleasures, Mizzou also has the best recreation center in the country, with thousands of cardio and weight-lifting units, a lazy river and hot tub surrounded by palm trees and a cycling room called the Tiger Lair. Students of Mizzou will be able to enjoy all of the important aspects of a college experience: affordability, quality education and fun opportunities in a nice college town.