Top 100 Colleges in the U.S.

Learn about the top 100 colleges in the U.S., which include a number of high-ranking public and private institutions. Read brief overviews of four of these institutions, and find a table that lists all of the top 100 colleges in the nation.

View popular schools

Each year, Forbes provides a list of the top colleges in the United States, including national universities and liberal arts colleges. These schools offer excellent education in a wide range of subjects.

School Overviews

Some of the top colleges in the U.S. include Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University and Williams College. Each of these schools was ranked among the top 10 by Forbes in 2016, and they were all also highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report in their respective categories in 2016.

Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey

School Highlight: Princeton has an enrollment of 8,088 students.

The fourth-oldest university in the U.S., Princeton University was ranked #1 among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2016, and it was ranked #3 by Forbes. This private, Ivy League university houses several of the most well-equipped research libraries in the U.S., with over six million cataloged books and a wide selection of other materials. Students can pursue bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in fields ranging from architecture to physics.

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

School Highlight: Harvard has an enrollment of 28,791 students.

Harvard University, established in 1636 when Massachusetts was still a colony, is the oldest postsecondary institution in the U.S. In 2016, it was ranked #2 among national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and it was ranked #4 by Forbes among all of America's colleges. Harvard University includes an undergraduate college and Harvard College, as well as 11 graduate and professional colleges that confer master's, doctoral and professional degrees. Graduate colleges include schools of business, law and medicine, all of which enjoy an excellent reputation.

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

School Highlight: Yale has an enrollment of 12,336 students.

Established in 1701, Yale University was tied for #3 on the U.S. News & World Report list of the top national universities in 2016, and it was #6 on the Forbes list. One of the top research universities in the U.S., the school has committed to a long-term investment of approximately one billion dollars in construction and renovation to revamp research labs and scientific facilities. Yale University consists of an undergraduate school, graduate college and various professional schools, including those devoted to architecture, medicine, nursing and law. The university is also home to the Peabody Museum of Natural History and the Yale Center for British Art.

Williams College in Williamstown, MA

School Highlight: Williams has an enrollment of 2,126 students.

Established in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest college in Massachusetts. In 2016, the school was ranked #1 among all liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report, and it was also took the #2 spot on the Forbes list. Williams is primarily an undergraduate institution, offering 36 undergraduate majors in the arts and humanities, social sciences and sciences/mathematics. However, there is also a two-year art history master's degree program available, as well as a one-year master's degree program in development economics for international students. For undergraduates, Williams offers unique tutorial-style classes based on the Oxford system, where students pursue independent academic work and meet for a weekly in-depth discussion with a professor and only one other student.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Top National Colleges and Liberal Arts Schools

According to the Forbes list that was published in 2016, these are the top 100 colleges in the United States:

School Name Location Total Student Enrollment
Stanford University Stanford, CA 16,963
Williams College Williamstown, MA 2,126
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 8,088
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 28,791
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 11,319
Yale University New Haven, CT 12,336
Pomona College Claremont, CA 1,650
Brown University Providence, RI 9,181
Wesleyan University Middletown, CT 3,224
Swarthmore College Swarthmore, PA 1,542
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 24,806
Amherst College Amherst, MA 1,792
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 12,179
United States Military Academy West Point, NY 4,414
Northwestern University Evanston, IL 21,554
Columbia University New York, NY 27,589
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 6,298
Tufts University Medford, MA 10,907
Bowdoin College Brunswick, ME 1,805
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 15,097
Georgetown University Washington, DC 17,858
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 14,317
Haverford College Haverford, PA 1,194
United States Naval Academy Annapolis, MD 4,511
Davidson College Davidson, NC 1,770
Duke University Durham, NC 15,856
Carleton College Northfield, MN 2,057
Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA 2,264
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 21,679
Rice University Houston, TX 6,621
Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA 1,324
Wellesley College Wellesley, MA 2,323
Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY 2,421
Middlebury College Middlebury, VT 2,533
United States Air Force Academy Colorado 3,952
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 23,732
Barnard College New York, NY 2,573
College of William & Mary Williamsburg, VA 8,437
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 2,209
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 37,565
Colby College Watertown, ME 1,847
Colgate University Hamilton, NY 2,888
Oberlin College Oberlin, OH 2,978
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 43,625
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 12,686
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 41,845
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 29,135
Kenyon College Gambier, OH 1,662
Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA 3,624
Hamilton College Hamilton, NY 1,904
College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA 2,787
Bates College Lewiston, ME 1,773
Whitman College Walla Walla, WA 1,498
Smith College Northampton, MA 2,989
Lafayette College Easton, PA 2,503
Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA 2,209
Colorado College Colorado Spring, CO 2,067
University of Rochester Rochester, NY 11,060
Harvey Mudd College Claremont, CA 804
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO 14,348
Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC 7,788
Villanova University Villanova, PA 10,735
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 12,587
Reed College Portland, OR 1,394
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 42,453
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 21,372
Emory University Atlanta, GA 14,769
Macalester College St. Paul, MN 2,073
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 42,598
Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA 1,709
Union College Schenectady, NY 2,242
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 45,140
Grinnell College Grinnell, IA 1,734
Brandeis University Waltham, MA 5,945
University of Washington Seattle, WA 44,784
Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA 7,119
New York University New York, NY 49,274
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 49,459
Boston University Boston, MA 32,112
Dickinson College Carlisle, PA 2,364
Connecticut College New London, CT 1,900
University of Maryland College Park, MD 37,610
Scripps College Claremont, CA 988
Trinity College Hartford, CT 2,408
Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY 2,646
Brigham Young University Provo, UT 30,484
Wheaton College Wheaton, IL 2,914
Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA 9,015
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 23,109
Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo, MI 1,461
DePauw University Greencastle, IN 2,215
Cooper Union New York, NY 966
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX 51,313
Sewanee - University of the South Sewanee, TN 1,714
University of Georgia Athens, GA 35,197
Trinity University San Antonio, TX 2,432
Rhodes College Memphis, TN 2,054
Denison University Granville, OH 2,278
Occidental College Los Angeles, CA 2,040
Centre College Danville, KY 1,387

Students can find excellent education at any one of the top 100 colleges in the United States.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MA in Communication
    • Master of Liberal Arts
    • MA in Science Writing
    • MS in Applied Economics
    • MS in Geographic Information Systems
    • MS in Bioinformatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • BA: Criminal Justice
    • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
    • BA: Liberal Studies
    • BA: Psychology
    • BA: Psychology - General
    • BS: Computer Science
    • AA: Criminal Justice
    • AA: Liberal Arts
    • AA: Business Administration
    • AA: Information Technology
    • AA: Cybersecurity

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA in Healthcare Management
    • MBA in Accounting
    • MBA in Human Resources
    • MBA in International Business
    • MBA in Operations Management
    • Master of Accountancy

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Finance
    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
    • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path, Executive Leader Specialization
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Doctor of Nursing Practice Path
    • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
    • Master of Science in Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology
    • MBA
    • Master of Public Health
    • MBA - Human Resources
    • BS in Liberal Studies
    • BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Investment Career Focus Area
    • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
    • BS in Nutrition Science
    • BSFIN in Accelerated MS Finance
    • AAS in Business Administration - Business
    • AAS in Legal Support and Services
    • AAS in Business Administration
    • AAS in Business Administration - Food & Hotel Management
    • AAS in Business Admin-Office Management
    • AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Medical Office Administration Certificate
    • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
    • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
    • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
    • Pathway to Paralegal Postbaccalaureate Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Business Administration - Management
    • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Cognition and Instruction
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
    • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
    • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
    • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
    • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
    • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
    • BS in Psychology
    • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
    • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
    • BS in Early Childhood
    • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Ecclesial Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Entrepreneurial Leadership
    • Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership - Individualized
    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Entrepreneurial Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Communication
    • Master of Arts in Communication - Political Communication
    • Master of Arts in Communication - Strategic Communication
    • Master of Arts in Government - Political Communication
    • Master of Arts in Journalism
    • Master of Arts in Law - Business
    • Bachelor of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Journalism
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Rhetoric and Public Culture
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies - Strategic Communication
    • Bachelor of Arts in English - Communication

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
    • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Secondary Special Education and Transition Services
    • MA in Education and Human Development in Special Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
    • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
    • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?