Best Universities in the US Ranked for Prospective Students in 2023

Best Universities in the US Ranked for Prospective Students in 2023

Our ranking of the best US universities is based on the academic impact of the schools’ faculty and alumni. We believe that schools with histories of hiring and developing influential faculty, and schools that produce students who become influential in their fields of study, are schools that demonstrate key indicators of academic excellence.

Key Takeaways

  • Students enrolled in one of the best universities benefit from top research instructors and can expect to gain networking from known people in various industries.
  • Liberal arts colleges emphasize a student’s overall education while also assisting them in excelling in their chosen majors. On the other hand, research universities concentrate on more specialized fields of study and provide students with access to leading authorities and the most recent developments in their area or programs.
  • States that have the majority of the best universities in college rankings are California, Massachusetts, and New York.

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Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. With nearly 3,000 4-year schools to choose from, finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge. We offer a new perspective of the best universities in the US.

Ranking the Nation’s Best Universities

Intense competition for admission at the best universities in the US puts pressure on students. They think obtaining a degree from renowned national universities will enable them to enjoy a more lucrative future.

And while elite colleges undoubtedly draw the best students, whether these institutions directly impact professional outcomes is still up for discussion.

Regardless, there are several reasons why attending a more elite university can be advantageous for your future. Remember that we’re concentrating on the potential financial and professional advantages of attending a top-ranking college or university.

Aside from that, selective universities might push you intellectually further and let you hang out with similarly driven and accomplished people.

Benefits of the Best Universities in the US

High Standards in Education

Students enrolled in the best universities in America will receive a higher quality of education than non-ranked institutions. But this is not to say that institutions not included on this list are not good. It’s just that top universities have award-winning higher education experts as part of their faculty.

These universities also have higher-caliber research than others, so prospective students will learn from the best and have the chance to cooperate and advance their profession by working with the best.

World-class facilities and resources

Top universities are first in line for funding opportunities in addition to high education standards. Hence, these universities can always finance necessary upkeep for student learning.

The best universities often own a copy of an original research paper, the most expensive laboratory equipment, and other research and faculty resources you most likely cannot find in less-known institutions.

Additionally, top universities have abundant financial aid opportunities to help reduce tuition and fees. Students are required to complete the FAFSA after choosing their undergraduate majors.

If you need more guidance on the process of applying for financial aid, refer to our Focus on the FAFSA.

Vast Networking Opportunities

Since the best universities have award-winning alumni and faculty, you will indeed be given a chance to create a vast network during your studies. You’ll not only have the opportunity to be taught by an excellent faculty, but you’ll also get to attend seminars hosted by industry-specific leaders.

Remember, the best universities hold the best seminars for college students, which gives them the chance to listen and build networks that can help them land jobs immediately after graduation.

Employment opportunities

Graduates from top universities in the US, such as Harvard University, Stanford University, Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, and Yale University, have higher chances of getting employed at big companies. Additionally, graduates from top-tier universities often receive higher wages since they’re expected to provide better outcomes due to their extensive higher education training. Top universities also top the highest graduation rates.

Be in a Community That Understands You

You are surrounded by like-minded individuals who will challenge you. These are the people who, like you, made it through the difficult admissions process of top US universities. These people will often offer you the challenge you need to succeed in your chosen career.

Typical Admission Requirements of Top Universities in the USA

Aside from the usual high GPAs, essays, and more, top universities are also strict regarding requirements such as SATs, APs, and extracurriculars.

Standardized Test Scores

SAT scores are reliable predictors of academic and professional success. Standardized examinations can provide evidence of and encourage academic rigor, which is crucial for students’ success in college and throughout their careers.

You should aim for scores between 1300 and 1400 if you are serious about attending a prestigious college or university.

AP Scores

Taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school show mastery of a subject. The scores for these courses have been standardized so that students can be assessed throughout the nation.

It is now mandatory for applicants to colleges like Stanford, MIT, and other Ivies to have completed at least six AP classes, achieving a score of at least 4 or 5.

Extracurricular Activities

Candidates must list extracurricular endeavors demonstrating leadership, zeal, and dedication. Participation in 8-10 of these activities is strongly recommended.

Interested in seeing competitive smaller colleges?

Our ranking of universities has the very best colleges and universities in the country based on the number of influential faculty and alumni affiliated with the schools over the past ten years. Larger schools have a huge advantage simply because they have more people. We also offer rankings that control for the size advatages of largers universities. Doing that reveals smaller colleges and universities that compete proportionally with largers universities. The rankings below use the method that controls for size advantages:

Best Universities in the US 2022
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We’ve identified a total of 1,392 colleges and universities in the US that meet our criteria. Of those, 637 are public institutions and 755 are private institutions. This list focuses on schools that offer bachelor’s degrees, and includes both public and private colleges and universities. In order to be included in this list of best colleges, a school needs to a regionally accredited nonprofit college or university.

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50 Best US Universities 2022

  1. #1

    Harvard University

    Cambridge , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    4%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

  2. #2

    Stanford University

    Stanford , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    4%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1495/33

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    4%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1545/35

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    43K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1420/32

  5. #5

    Yale University

    New Haven , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

  6. #6

    Columbia University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $64K

    Acceptance

    4%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

  7. #7

    Princeton University

    Princeton , NJ
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    4%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/33

  8. #8

    University of Chicago

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/34

  9. #9

    University of Michigan

    Ann Arbor , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

  10. #10

    New York University

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    49K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1455/32

  11. #11

    University of Pennsylvania

    Philadelphia , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

  12. #12

    Cornell University

    Ithaca , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1470/33

  13. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    46K

  14. #14

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

  15. #15

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

  16. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

  17. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    4%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1555/35

  18. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1326/30

  19. #19

    Northwestern University

    Evanston , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    20K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1490/34

  20. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    29%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1340/29

  21. #22

    Johns Hopkins University

    Baltimore , MD
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/35

  22. #26

    University of Virginia

    Charlottesville , VA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  23. #28

    Brown University

    Providence , RI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1500/34

  24. #35

    University of Florida

    Gainesville , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    30%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    48K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1375/31

  25. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1385/30

    What is University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill known for?

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #38

    University of Arizona

    Tucson , AZ
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/25

    University of Arizona’s Online Degrees

    BA in Africana Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Administration of Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Care, Health and Society
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Medical Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Cyber Operations
    Degree Concentrations
    • Engineering
    • Defense & Forensics
    • and Cyber Law & Policy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Early Childhood
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies in Economy and Industry
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Environmental Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies, in Arts, Media and Entertainment
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies in Global and Intercultural Understanding
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Global Media
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Government and Public Service
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Human Rights Practice
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Human Services
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Required Credits: 128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Geographic Information Systems Technology (GIST)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Literacy, Learning and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Information Science and ESociety
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Law
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Regional Commerce
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Intelligence and Information Operations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Philosophy: Ethics
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Biology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nutritional Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Spanish
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies in Sports and Society
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Sustainable Built Environments
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Studies in Social Behavior and Human Understanding
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  27. #43

    Dartmouth College

    Hanover , NH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    6%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1500/33

  28. #47

    Syracuse University

    Syracuse , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    22K

    Syracuse University’s Online Degrees

    BPS in Creative Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BPS in Knowledge Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BPS in Cybersecurity Administration
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online

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Photo Credit: Harvard University’s Harvard Yard, By Mancala English Wikipedia, Public Domain.