Top 7 Best Colleges In America In 2022
The Best Colleges ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni. The ranking compares more than 1,000 top colleges and universities in the U.S. This year's rankings have reduced the weight of ACT/SAT scores to reflect a general de-emphasis on test scores in the college admissions process, according to Niche.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Photo: Summit Education|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1861, MIT has since played a key role in the development of modern technology and science and has been ranked among the top academic institutions in the world.
Founded in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River and encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes.
As of June 2021, 98 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with MIT. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. MIT is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).
2. Harvard University
|Photo: College Consensus|
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636 as Harvard College and named for its first benefactor, the Puritan clergyman John Harvard, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and among the most prestigious in the world.
The university is composed of ten academic faculties plus the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Arts and Sciences offer study in a wide range of academic disciplines for undergraduates and for graduates, while the other faculties offer only graduate degrees, mostly professional. Harvard has three main campuses: the 209-acre (85 ha) Cambridge campus centered on Harvard Yard; an adjoining campus immediately across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston; and the medical campus in Boston's Longwood Medical Area. Harvard's endowment is valued at $53.2 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution. Endowment income helps enable the undergraduate college to admit students regardless of financial need and provide generous financial aid with no loans. The Harvard Library is the world's largest academic library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding about 20.4 million items.
3. Stanford University
|Photo: Stanford University|
Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. The campus occupies 8,180 acres (3,310 hectares), among the largest in the United States, and enrolls over 17,000 students. Stanford is ranked among the most prestigious universities in the world.
Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates entrepreneurialism to build a self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.
The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. Stanford has won 128 NCAA team championships, more than any other university, and was awarded the NACDA Directors' Cup for 25 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, as of 2021, Stanford students and alumni have won at least 296 Olympic medals including 150 gold medals.
4. Yale University
Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.
One of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution, the Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school's largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first Ph.D. in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale's faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with the rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.
Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school's faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of 2021, the university's endowment was valued at $42.3 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.
5. Princeton University
|Photo: Summit Education|
Princeton University is a private institution that was founded in 1746. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,773 (fall 2020), its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 600 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Princeton University's ranking in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #1. Its tuition and fees are $56,010.
Princeton, among the oldest colleges in the U.S., is located in the quiet town of Princeton, New Jersey. Within the walls of its historic ivy-covered campus, Princeton offers a number of events, activities and organizations. The Princeton Tigers, members of the Ivy League, are well known for their consistently strong men's and women's lacrosse teams. Students live in one of six residential colleges that provide a residential community as well as dining services but have the option to join one of more than 10 eating clubs for their junior and senior years. The eating clubs serve as social and dining organizations for the students who join them. Princeton's unofficial motto, "Princeton in the Nation's Service and the Service of Humanity," speaks to the university's commitment to community service.
6. Duke University
|Photo: EduCo Global|
Duke University is a private institution that was founded in 1838. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,717 (fall 2020), and the setting is Suburban. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Duke University's ranking in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #9. Its tuition and fees are $60,489.
Durham, North Carolina, which surrounds Duke's campus, offers a variety of activities including shopping, dining, and entertainment. Its "Bull City" nickname comes from the Blackwell Tobacco Company's Bull Durham Tobacco. Students at Duke are required to live on campus for their first three years, and freshmen live together on the East Campus. The Duke Blue Devils maintain a fierce rivalry with the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Tar Heels and are best known for their outstanding men's basketball program, which is one of the top five most wins all-time college basketball programs in the country. Approximately 30 percent of the student body is affiliated with Greek life, which encompasses almost 40 fraternities and sororities.
7. University of Pennsylvania
|Photo: University of Pennsylvania|
The University of Pennsylvania is a private institution that was founded in 1740. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 9,872 (fall 2020), its setting is urban, and the campus size is 299 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. University of Pennsylvania's ranking in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #8. Its tuition and fees are $61,710.
The University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, was founded by Benjamin Franklin. The Penn Quakers have more than 25 NCAA Division I sports that compete in the Ivy League and are noted for successful basketball and lacrosse teams. Penn offers housing in more than 10 College Houses, but many students live in the numerous off-campus apartments and houses available. More than 25 percent of the student body is involved in Greek life, which encompasses nearly 50 fraternities and sororities. The school also offers a number of clubs and organizations, ranging from performance groups like the Latin & Ballroom Dance club to student publications such as the Penn Political Review. Penn works closely with the West Philadelphia area through community service and advocacy groups.
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