Like Harvard and Princeton, Yale University frequently finds itself near the top of rankings of national universities. The school's location​ in New Haven, Connecticut, allows Yale students to get to New York City or Boston easily by road or rail. The school has an impressive 5 to 1 student/faculty ratio, and research and teaching are supported by an endowment of nearly $20 billion.

The university or college you choose to go to can have a major impact on the rest of your life, so it's probably a good idea to do some research first. To help with the process, we've compiled a ranking of the best 100 US universities and colleges, according to the QS World University Rankings® 2020. Also, for the first time ever, we've broken down the complete list of top US universities by state, so you can find a leading study destination that's close to home (and probably more affordable than expensive out-of-state options).


Florida is home to popular theme parks, as well as vibrant cities, music festivals, cultural events and a fusion of cuisines. Cruises are within easy access from ports in Jacksonville, Cape Canaveral, Miami and Tampa. And the next generation of space exploration is happening on the Space Coast in Cape Canaveral. From a national drag racing event in Gainesville, music and art festival featuring 50 bands in West Palm Beach to the winter strawberry capital of the world in Plant City, Florida has a diverse offering of things to do. And let’s not forget that Florida college students are already living in the heart of one of the country’s popular spring break  destinations, making it easy and less costly to hit the beach!
Benjamin Franklin's university, Penn, is frequently confused with Penn State, but the similarities are few. The campus sits along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, and Center City is just a short walk away. The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is arguably the strongest school of business in the country, and numerous other undergraduate and graduate programs place high in national rankings. With close to 12,000 undergraduates and graduate students, Penn is one of the larger Ivy League schools.
In the U.S. News & World Report and other national rankings, Princeton University frequently vies with Harvard for the top spot. The schools, however, are very different. Princeton's attractive 500-acre campus is located in a town of about 30,000 people, and the urban centers of Philadelphia and New York City are each about an hour away. With just over 5,000 undergrads and about 2,600 grad students, Princeton has a much more intimate educational environment than many of the other top universities.
With a single digit acceptance rate, Stanford is the most selective university on the west coast. It is also one of the strongest research and teaching centers in the world. For students who are looking for a prestigious and world-renowned institution but don't want the cold winters of the Northeast, Stanford is worth a close look. Its location near Palo Alto, California, comes with attractive Spanish architecture and a mild climate.
Niche User: Our tour guide was well trained. He waited for someone to leave the dorms to have them tell the group what the best thing was about Amherst. The Dean was very intelligent and knowledgeable and gave a great information session presentation to the group. It is a small liberal arts college which is academically based and hard to get into. A mini Harvard that was scaled down. A shuttle transports you to the other 5 colleges connected with Amherst (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Smith College, Mount-Holyoke College and Hampshire College). If accepted into any one of these colleges, you can attend classes, sports, activities at any of these colleges if they offer something that you are interested in. A nice feature to have offered because all of a sudden there is a larger area of interest, sports and activities to choose from. Making it almost impossible not to have something that you are looking for or interested in which can happen at small schools with limited choices.
In Florida, there are 72 public and private colleges and universities. Compared to other states across the nation, Florida is a top pick when considering its warm weather, southern charm and year-round activities. Along with the attractive climate, Florida schools make the mark for their value when considering expenses for tuition and cost of living. A recent CNBC report noted Florida second in a list of the ten most affordable states for a public college education, and the College Board Trends in College Pricing report shows public and private tuition and room and board costs to be lowest in the South.

Graduate Student: Columbia University is wholly committed to the academic well-being and personhood of their students inside and outside of studies. Through their active communication and care in students' academic lives, professors are engaged and ready to help their students succeed in their ideological pursuits. Moreover, the Health and Wellness Center approaches health from a holistic perspective, offering mental health services such as therapy sessions, acupuncture, pet therapy day, snacks, and more. Specifically for the Mailman School of Public Health, they require all students to fulfill the Self, Social, and Global Awareness course that evaluates the self and how it fits into societal constructs so that students are prepared to go forth courageously in their social justice work. The Mailman school also invites students to engage in their Grand Rounds where all medical school students share their work and ideas to create a more thought-provoking environment.

Freshman: Prepare to work hard - especially if you're in STEM. As an engineering major my life here is a never ending cycle of attending classes, working in lab, engineering project team related work, doing homework and crashing/going to bed at 1-2AM. It may seem rough to the outsider but if you're coming from a challenging high school (as I did) its a relatively seamless transition and I am infinitely happier here at Cornell! There is constantly something new happening from the range of amazing speakers visiting, cool things your classmates are creating/doing, Ithaca's quirky charm, your eccentric professors , etc... I came here expecting the competition to be intense and thank goodness its not ; there's a sense of general comradery amongst engineers. The motto 'any person, any study' is really true. They have just about every major allowing allotting the opportunity to study a great variety of fields. Fair warning about Ithaca; it gets REALLY cold! Invest in a warm coat!
Niche User: I greatly enjoy the overall ambience of Princeton University. The University truly offers a high quality education, especially as a result of its wonderful professors, some of which are Nobel Laureates. Moreover, the University's network allows for extensive connection between current and graduated students. This leads to great opportunities that would not necessarily be available elsewhere. Lastly, I really believe the Bridge Year program instills a humble nature in students through introducing the opportunity to volunteer for a year abroad. Doing so allows students to mature and experience other cultures prior to embarking on a difficult, yet rewarding task of attending Princeton University.
Junior: MIT is an outstanding university with numerous and diverse opportunities in research and academics. Classes at MIT are indeed difficult, with homework and associated studying consuming a large chunk of time. The beauty of this is that it pushes students to go above and beyond their previous understanding of what they believed themselves to be capable of. Additionally, the explorative and creative atmosphere which springs from the vibrancy of the student body and the faculty is second to none. There are so many chances to do great things at MIT, even as an undergrad!

Like Harvard and Princeton, Yale University frequently finds itself near the top of rankings of national universities. The school's location​ in New Haven, Connecticut, allows Yale students to get to New York City or Boston easily by road or rail. The school has an impressive 5 to 1 student/faculty ratio, and research and teaching are supported by an endowment of nearly $20 billion.
Those colleges and universities that strive to not only welcome a diverse population, but create a campus environment that reflects and nourishes that community, can be difficult to find through word searches and hopeful clicks alone. Which is why we’ve done all that work for you. In this guide you’ll find absolutely everything you need to know about applying to and succeeding in college as a LGBT identified person. We have the definitive list on the friendliest LGBT schools, which scholarships you should apply for, a trans chapter, and many more resources for you.
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