The 50 best colleges in America, ranked

Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesDuke University is ranked No. 8.
  • Nearly 20 million students will enroll in colleges and universities this fall, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Niche ranked the 2019 best colleges based on academics, admissions rates, cost, and student life.
  • We’ve listed the top 50 universities and colleges, plus figures for enrollment, acceptance rate, net price, and median earnings six years after graduation.

Applying for college is more than taking a test or filling out an application, students decide on universities based on campus life, academics, and cost.

A projected 19.9 million students will enroll in colleges and universities this fall, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Niche ranked the best colleges for 2019 based on academic, admissions, financial, and student life data collected from the US Department of Education as well as student and alumni reviews.

The enrollment count for each college is the number of undergraduate students. The net price is the average cost after financial aid, grants, or scholarships as reported by the college. The earnings six years after graduation are the median earnings ten years after enrollment.

Keep scrolling to see the top-ranked US colleges.


50. Colby College

Enrollment: 1,879

Acceptance rate: 19%

Net price: $US21,032

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US55,000


49. Lehigh University

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Enrollment: 5,003

Acceptance rate: 26%

Net price: $US27,478

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US77,200


48. University of Texas – Austin

Enrollment: 37,234

Acceptance rate: 40%

Net price: $US16,010

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US54,900


47. Virginia Tech

Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Enrollment: 25,213

Acceptance rate: 71%

Net price: $US17,190

Median earnings 6 years after graduation: $60,500


46. Northeastern University

Enrollment: 13,444

Acceptance rate: 29%

Net price: $US29,998

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US64,000


45. Wake Forest University

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Enrollment: 4,900

Acceptance rate: 30%

Net price: $US23,826

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US60,200


44. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Grant Halverson/Stringer/Getty

Enrollment: 17,869

Acceptance rate: 27%

Net price: $US10,077

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US54,100


43. Bates College

Enrollment: 1,780

Acceptance rate: 23%

Net price: $US24,055

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US55,700


42. Williams College

Enrollment: 2,058

Acceptance rate: 18%

Net price: $US18,167

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US54,100


41. Claremont McKenna College

Enrollment: 1,346

Acceptance rate: 9%

Net price: $US30,527

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US75,000


40. Haverford College

Enrollment: 1,268

Acceptance rate: 21%

Net price: $US21,144

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US56,300


39. Wellesley College

Enrollment: 2,347

Acceptance rate: 28%

Net price: $US20,013

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US60,100


38. Georgia Institute of Technology

Enrollment: 13,815

Acceptance rate: 26%

Net price: $US13,340

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US75,800


37. University of California – Berkeley

cdrin/Shutterstock

Enrollment: 28,108

Acceptance rate: 17%

Net price: $US17,160

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US61,800


36. Washington & Lee University

Enrollment: 1,824

Acceptance rate: 24%

Net price: $US23,867

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US72,300


35. Carleton College

Enrollment: 2,087

Acceptance rate: 23%

Net price: $US28,587

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US52,600


34. Barnard College

Enrollment: 2,461

Acceptance rate: 15%

Net price: $US22,815

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US56,400


33. Carnegie Mellon University

Enrollment: 6,069

Acceptance rate: 22%

Net price: $US35,250

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US81,800


32. Middlebury College

Enrollment: 2,506

Acceptance rate: 16%

Net price: $US21,437

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US55,600


31. United States Military Academy at West Point

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Enrollment: $US4,389

Acceptance rate: 10%

Net price: $US0

Median earnings 6 years after graduation: Not reported


30. Swarthmore College

Enrollment: 1,542

Acceptance rate: 13%

Net price: $US19,641

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US52,500


29. University of California – Los Angeles

Enrollment: 30,343

Acceptance rate: 18%

Net price: $US14,236

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US58,700


28. University of Virginia

Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Enrollment: 15,476

Acceptance rate: 30%

Net price: $US15,945

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US60,700


27. Emory University

Enrollment: 6,714

Acceptance rate: 25%

Net price: $US24,804

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US61,500


26. Johns Hopkins University

Enrollment: 5,621

Acceptance rate: 13%

Net price: $US27,352

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US69,800


25. Tufts University

Enrollment: 5,435

Acceptance rate: 14%

Net price: $US28,076

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US66,500


24. Amherst College

Enrollment: $US1,849

Acceptance rate: 14%

Net price: $US19,055

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US59,700


23. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Enrollment: 27,969

Acceptance rate: 29%

Net price: $US16,107

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US60,100


22. Georgetown University

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Enrollment: 7,056

Acceptance rate: 17%

Net price: $US26,625

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US90,100


21. Cornell University

Enrollment: 14,556

Acceptance rate: 14%

Net price: $US30,014

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US73,600


20. University of Southern California

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Enrollment: 18,195

Acceptance rate: 17%

Net price: $US32,932

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US70,400


19. Dartmouth College

Enrollment: 4,270

Acceptance rate: 11%

Net price: $US21,177

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US70,000


18. Vanderbilt University

Enrollment: 6,817

Acceptance rate: 11%

Net price: $US23,150

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US64,500


17. Bowdoin College

Enrollment: 1,801

Acceptance rate: 15%

Net price: $US24,888

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US58,700


16. Pomona College

Enrollment: 1,556

Acceptance rate: 9%

Net price: $US18,140

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US56,600


15. University of Chicago

Enrollment: 5,978

Acceptance rate: 8%

Net price: $US31,068

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US65,500


14. Northwestern University

Enrollment: 8,298

Acceptance rate: 11%

Net price: $US29,326

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US65,900


13. University of Notre Dame

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Enrollment: 8,514

Acceptance rate: 19%

Net price: $US26,683

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US71,600


12. Rice University

Enrollment: 3,836

Acceptance rate: 15%

Net price: $US22,061

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US64,300


11. Washington University in St. Louis

Enrollment: 6,915

Acceptance rate: 17%

Net price: $US28,824

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US66,300


10. California Institute of Technology

Enrollment: 979

Acceptance rate: 8%

Net price: $US26,839

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US74,200


9. Brown University

Enrollment: 6,565

Acceptance rate: 9%

Net price: $US25,264

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US63,100


8. Duke University

Enrollment: 6,577

Acceptance rate: 11%

Net price: $US19,950

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US77,900


7. Columbia University

Enrollment: 7,552

Acceptance rate: 7%

Net price: $US22,973

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US78,200


6. University of Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 10,468

Acceptance rate: 9%

Net price: $US22,944

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US82,400


5. Princeton University

Enrollment: 5,251

Acceptance rate: 7%

Net price: $US17,732

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US80,500


4. Yale University

Michael Marsland / Yale University

Enrollment: 5,469

Acceptance rate: 6%

Net price: $US18,319

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US83,200


3. Harvard University

Jannis Tobias Werner/Shutterstock

Enrollment: 7,151

Acceptance rate: 5%

Net price: $US16,205

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US90,900


2. Stanford University

Enrollment: 7,034

Acceptance rate: 5%

Net price: $US16,695

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US85,700


1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Enrollment: 4,476

Acceptance rate: 8%

Net price: $US21,576

Median earnings 6 years after graduation:$US94,200

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