Best Universities in the US Ranked for Prospective Students in 2022 | Academic Influence (2023)

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.

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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.

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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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. Research universities offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Learn more about research universities by reading about the best research universities in the US.

Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Learn more about liberal arts colleges by reading about the best liberal arts colleges in the US.

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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you’re interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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


Which is the most accurate university ranking? ›

The three longest established and most influential global rankings are those produced by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Times Higher Education (THE) and Shanghai Ranking Consultancy (the Academic Ranking of World Universities; ARWU).

What is the #1 public university 2022? ›

More than half of the top 10 public schools were University of California campuses this year: the aforementioned UC Berkeley and UCLA both ranked No. 1, with UC Santa Barbara at No. 7, UC Irvine and UC San Diego tied for No. 8 and UC Davis at No.

What is the most influential university? ›

The top universities are therefore the most influential universities.
The 100 Best Universities in the World Today
  • #1. Harvard University. Cambridge , MA. ...
  • #2. University of Oxford. ...
  • #3. Stanford University. ...
  • #4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ...
  • #5. University of California, Berkeley.
24 Feb 2022

What is the smartest university in the world? ›

These are the top global universities of 2022-2023.
  • Harvard University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Stanford University.
  • University of California—Berkeley.
  • University of Oxford.
  • University of Washington—Seattle.
  • Columbia University.
  • University of Cambridge.
24 Oct 2022

What is the number 1 university in the whole world? ›

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

What are the top 3 graduates called? ›

You may be familiar with the terms summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude. Collectively known as Latin honors, these three terms signify varying levels of high academic achievement.

What is a Tier 1 university in the US? ›

Tier 1 is comprised of major private research universities, including MIT, UChicago, Stanford, John Hopkins, Northwestern, California Institute of Technology, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Rice (amongst many others). The campuses are likely to be quite large and include graduate schools and a medium-large student population.

Which state has best public universities? ›

Florida, home to three universities that rank among the 100 Best Colleges nationally, ranks first in the nation for higher education. Washington places second in this subcategory, followed by California, Wyoming and Colorado. Learn more about the Best States for higher education below.

What college major has the happiest students? ›

Happiest University Courses
  • Veterinary Medicine & Dentistry (92.4%)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (84.8%)
  • Earth Sciences (84.5%)
  • Chemistry (84.1%)
  • Statistics (83.0%)
  • Medicine (82.7%)
  • Geography (82.3%)
  • Physiotherapy (82.2%)

Which University is most searched? ›

Google university ranking?
Top 20 Universities Most 'Googled' in 2014
1University of Phoenix
2Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3Open University
4University of Calicut
16 more rows

Which university has the highest acceptance rate in US? ›

10 Colleges With the Highest Acceptance Rates
  • University of New Mexico: 97%
  • Kansas State University: 96%
  • University of Maine: 96%
  • North Dakota State University: 95%
  • University of Memphis: 95%
  • University of Utah: 95%
  • East Carolina University: 94%
  • University of Kentucky: 94%
2 Sept 2022

What college has the happiest students in the US? ›

Top 25 Happiest Colleges
  • Princeton University.
  • Brown University.
  • Vanderbilt University.
  • College of William and Mary.
  • Kansas State University.
  • University of Iowa.
  • Fairfield University.
  • University of California, Berkeley.
28 Aug 2022

Which state of USA is best for study? ›

The top state to study in the USA ranks well in career and research opportunities, universities, affordability, tuition, and graduate income.
The following are the top five best state in USA for Indian students:
  • California.
  • New York.
  • Texas.
  • Florida.
  • Utah.
27 Oct 2022

What universities do the rich go to? ›

RankUniversityCombined wealth
1Harvard University$4,769 billion
2Stanford University$2,899 billion
3University of Pennsylvania$1,780 billion
4Columbia University$1,501 billion
16 more rows

Where do the smartest kids go to college? ›

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvey Mudd College, Washington University in St. Louis, and Harvard University rounded out the top five smartest colleges in the U.S.
The 25 smartest colleges in the United States in 2020, by average SAT score.
CharacteristicAverage test score
Rice University1,505
12 more rows
6 Dec 2021

What is the world's toughest University? ›

Topping the list of the hardest school to get into in the world is Stanford.

Which country has the best education system? ›

  1. The United States of America. The American education system is known for its practical learning and offers a wide array of educational choices to international students. ...
  2. The United Kingdom. ...
  3. Australia. ...
  4. The Netherlands. ...
  5. Sweden. ...
  6. France. ...
  7. Denmark. ...
  8. Canada.
12 Jul 2022

What is the hardest university to get into? ›

Top 10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into
  1. Harvard. Cambridge, MA. 3.19%
  2. Columbia. New York, NY. 3.73%
  3. Caltech. Pasadena, CA. 3.92%*
  4. Stanford. Stanford, CA. 3.95%*
  5. MIT. Cambridge, MA. 3.96%
  6. Princeton. Princeton, NJ. 4.38%*
  7. Yale. New Haven, CT. 4.47%
  8. Brown. Providence, RI. 5.03%

What is the average GPA of a valedictorian? ›

The title of valedictorian is used to distinguish indivduals who have achieved the highest level of academic excellence. Students who earn an unweighted 4.0 GPA, through the seventh semester of high school, will receive valedictorian designation.

What is the highest GPA you can get? ›

Generally, most high schools subtract (. 3) for a minus grade and add (. 3) for a plus grade, where 4.0 is considered the highest GPA. Though the calculation of average GPA is quite simple on a 4.0 scale, you can always contact your school's counselor's office for better estimation and results.

What is the highest degree to graduate with? ›

A doctorate degree is the highest traditional academic degree. Earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) or a Doctor of Education (Ed. D.)

Which university is best for international students in USA? ›

Universities with Highest International Student Enrollments
UniversityInternational StudentsTotal Students
New York University17,05053,576
Northeastern University15,88037,825
Columbia University15,01531,455
University of Southern California14,99249,500
6 more rows
10 Dec 2021

What is a Tier 2 university in USA? ›

Tier 2. These schools are still highly competitive, but less so than tier 1. They generally have acceptance rates below 20%.

Does university ranking matter in USA? ›

The simple answer is yes. It can be well worth your time to carefully study how a university ranks in different subjects, as well as its overall ranking. Often, the right university for you won't be one with the highest overall ranking.

What is the #1 best state to live in? ›

The personal finance website has come up with a ranked list of the top 20 best states to live in for 2022. Here are the results! The top state is Massachusetts, which ranked first in the nation for education and health, fourth for safety, sixth for quality of life, and 10th for its economy.

What state is No 1 in education? ›

1. Massachusetts. Massachusetts has the best public school system in the U.S. 48.8% of Massachusetts's eligible schools ranked in the top 25% of high school rankings, a total of 167 schools. Massachusetts has the highest math and reading test scores in the U.S. and the second-highest median ACT score of 25.1.

Which University has the best campus USA? ›

According to the Niche 2021 ranking, these are the most entertaining universities and colleges in America:
  • University of Wisconsin Madison.
  • University of Georgia.
  • Vanderbilt University.
  • Penn State.
  • University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
  • Yale University.
  • Harvard University.
  • University of Texas – Austin.
13 Jan 2022

What college impresses the most? ›

Takeaways: What Looks Good on a College Application
  • Good grades and a challenging course load.
  • Strong test scores.
  • Honest, specific, and eloquent essays.
  • A spike in your extracurricular activities.
  • Compelling letters of recommendation.
  • Volunteer experience with clear impact on the groups or places you've helped.
30 Oct 2021

What degree has the most job opportunities? ›

Most In-Demand Degrees
  1. Pharmacology. For a lucrative career helping people, pharmacology is at the top of the list for in-demand degrees. ...
  2. Computer Science. ...
  3. Health Science. ...
  4. Information Technology. ...
  5. Engineering. ...
  6. Business Administration. ...
  7. Finance. ...
  8. Human Resources.

What university sends the most students abroad? ›

Wrapping Up
SchoolCityTotal Study Abroad Students 2016
Miami University–OxfordOxford9,652
George Washington UniversityWashington9,506
Syracuse UniversitySyracuse8,129
Boston CollegeChestnut Hill8,034
56 more rows
25 Sept 2017

What degree is the most worth it? ›

Saving money during and after college
RankDeclared degreeUnemployment rate
1Architectural Engineering1.3%
2Construction Services1.0%
3Computer Engineering2.3%
4Aerospace Engineering1.9%
35 more rows
4 Oct 2021

What is the most popular degree in America? ›

Here are the 10 most popular college majors based on NCES data.
  • Social Sciences and History. ...
  • Engineering. ...
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Communication and Journalism. ...
  • Visual and Performing Arts. ...
  • Computer and Information Sciences. ...
  • Education.

Which bachelor's degree pays the most? ›

50 Highest Paying Bachelor's Degrees
  • Information Technology.
  • Engineering Management.
  • Petroleum Engineering.
  • Finance/Financial Management.
  • Physics.
  • Pharmacy.
  • Computer Engineering.
  • Aerospace Engineering.
29 Oct 2022

Which school sends most students to Harvard? ›

In total, one out of every 20 Harvard freshmen attended one of the seven high schools most represented in the class of 2017—Boston Latin, Phillips Academy in Andover, Stuyvesant High School, Noble and Greenough School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Trinity School in New York City, and Lexington High School.

What is the easiest university to get into in the USA? ›

Popular Colleges with High Acceptance Rates
RankCollegeAcceptance Rate
Rank 1College University of KentuckyAcceptance Rate 90.79%
Rank 2College University of KansasAcceptance Rate 93.01%
Rank 3College Kansas State UniversityAcceptance Rate 94.07%
Rank 4College Iona CollegeAcceptance Rate 91.46%
21 more rows
1 Nov 2018

What is Americas fastest rising university? ›

"The University of South Florida is proud to achieve our highest-ever position in U.S. News & World Report's rankings and to once again be recognized as America's fastest-rising university,” USF President Rhea Law said.

What is the coolest college in America? ›

25 of the Coolest College Campuses
  • Pepperdine University. © Courtesy of estervig - ...
  • Furman University. © Furman University. ...
  • Princeton University. © Courtesy of glynspencer - ...
  • Dartmouth College. © Dartmouth College. ...
  • University of Virginia. ...
  • Emory University. ...
  • College of William & Mary. ...
  • Gettysburg College.
8 Sept 2022

What is the healthiest campus in America? ›

Oklahoma State University prides itself in being America's Healthiest Campus®, empowering our employees, students and communities in which we live, learn, work, and play to be well.

Where is the cheapest place to study in USA? ›

Listed below are most affordable cities in USA for international students:
  • San Diego. This city has lower tuition fees and is very affordable from the point of living. ...
  • Baltimore. Baltimore is known to be the city of charm. ...
  • Atlanta. ...
  • Philadelphia. ...
  • Houston. ...
  • Chicago.
27 Oct 2022

Which US state has best quality of life? ›

WalletHub has an answer. Researchers at the personal finance publication ranked the 50 states based on scores in five categories: affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life, and safety. Massachusetts topped 2022's list, touting a score of 62.65 out of 100.

What is the number 1 college town in America? ›

Look no further than Tempe, a town where nearly one out of every four people is a college student. Though that's no surprise considering the city is home to Arizona State University, which has more than 134,000 enrolled students.

What is the most trusted university ranking website? ›

Since 2003, ARWU has been presenting the world's top universities annually based on transparent methodology and objective third-party data. It has been recognized as the precursor of global university rankings and the most trustworthy one.

Is QS World ranking reliable? ›

Moreover, according to the Guardian, independent academic reviews have confirmed that QS results are over 99% reliable.

What is the most accurate University Ranking UK? ›

The University of Oxford takes first place, with the University of Cambridge following in second place, while two of London's best universities and a Scottish university complete the top five.

Does the ranking of a university really matter? ›

For the longest time, university rankings have formed the crux of any one student's decision-making process. While there are many reasons for this — from research data to student satisfaction — the most important thing rankings indicate is an institution's reputation and standing in the wider world of higher education.

Which is the most prestigious university in the world why is it so respected? ›

1. Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. Harvard University is the standard by which all other research universities are measured.

Which university has best placement in the world? ›

Global University Employability Ranking 2022
Rank 2022Rank 2021University
11Massachusetts Institute of Technology
22California Institute of Technology
33Harvard University
44University of Cambridge
92 more rows

Which country is No 1 in study? ›

Russia has the world's most highly-educated population, with over half of Russian nationals holding a university degree. One major advantage of studying in Russia is the scholarship opportunities available. Each year, the Russian government grants thousands of scholarships to international students.

Which is better the or QS? ›

Use QS ranking to identify universities that are highly well-regarded by companies and other academics. Graduates of these universities are well-paid after their graduation. Use THE ranking if you want to find top universities based on their research impact and their reputation.

Which University do employers prefer in UK? ›

UK universities ranked by UK employers
Employability rankUniversityWorld University Rank
1University of Oxford2
2University of Cambridge4
=3Imperial College London8
=3University of Manchester56
59 more rows

Which University has the happiest students UK? ›

University of St Andrews

Our student reviews' ratings for St Andrews are the highest in the UK and therefore, it tops our ranking of the happiest universities.

What is the smartest University in England? ›

  • University of Oxford.
  • University of Cambridge.
  • Imperial College London.
  • London School of Economics and Political Science.

Do employers look at university rankings? ›

Look at overall university rankings – especially if you're unsure what career you want. Employers who don't require specific degree subjects tend to target the universities with the best overall reputations, and those which have provided them with the best candidates in the past.

Is US News ranking reliable? ›

US News college rankings are accurate if the methodology used and details provided by schools alone are considered. However, rankings can be influenced by what participating schools disclose. By making strategic responses or manipulating figures, schools can have control over their rankings.

Does rank matter more than GPA? ›

Key takeaway

In the end, you should work hard to maintain good grades, but don't worry too much about class rank. It will end up being less important than your actual GPA or other aspects of your application.


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