The 2018 College Raptor Best Colleges Rankings are here! In these various categories we have highlighted the best of what higher education institutions have to offer.

We've divided this recognition into many segments, allowing prospective students and parents to more easily find schools that fit with what they're looking for--whether it's a top-notch college with a lot of students or the nation's best liberal arts school.

Each of these rankings is based on an analysis of data about the school's selectivity, financial health, academic rigor, and student success. We've outlined our full methodology here.

Top 50 Best Colleges in the United States: 2018 Rankings

The Top 50 Best Colleges in the U.S. list is our most-selective and most prestigious. The schools in this category are the best of the best. We analyzed data on each school from thousands across the country and selected the best of the four-year colleges throughout the nation. This list includes schools of all sizes, …

Top 25 Best Private Colleges: 2018 Rankings

Many of the most prestigious universities in the country are private universities. Private schools, unlike public schools that are funded by state and local governments, are usually funded by tuition, fees, or other private sources. Many students feel that private schools will prove to be too costly for what they and their families can afford. …

Top 25 Best Public Colleges: 2018 Rankings

Public colleges and universities are plentiful in the United States. They receive funding from the government, and every state has at least one public school. We’ve put together a list of the top 25 public colleges from around the United States. 25. Georgia Institute of Technology–Main Campus Location: Atlanta, GA Student Enrollment: 25,034 College Type: …

Top 25 Best Research Colleges: 2018 Rankings

These colleges and universities are examples of academia at its finest. While many of these research-heavy institutions have outstanding undergraduate programs, a great emphasis is put on their graduate and doctoral programs. At research universities, students can earn their PhDs and go out into the world to change it. So we’ve come up with a …

Top 25 Liberal Arts Colleges: 2018 Rankings

Liberal Arts and Sciences colleges focus on the creation of well-rounded individuals. They aim to impart a broad general knowledge and develop general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum. Many of the country’s top colleges are Liberal Arts and Sciences institutions. Here are the Top 25 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the United …

Top 25 Best Small Colleges: 2018 Rankings

College Raptor’s Top 25 Best Small Colleges are the definition of small but mighty. Though they have a much smaller student body than most universities in the United States, some of the nation’s best schools are featured in this list. From research to liberal arts, these schools are leaders in their academic fields. For the …

Top 25 Best Medium-Sized Colleges: 2018 Rankings

While many students have strong opinions on going to small and large colleges, the medium-sized colleges can be a great fit for those students who don’t have strong feelings either way. These schools allow students to get to know others on campus, while still allowing them the anonymity that can come with a large school. …

Top 25 Best Large Colleges: 2018 Rankings

These colleges are large and in charge. Definitions of “large” colleges might change depending on who you ask, but for the purposes of this list we’re considering any school that has 10,000 or more students. Check out College Raptor’s list for the Top 25 Best Large Colleges of 2018! 25. University of Southern California Location: …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Northwest: 2018 Rankings

The states of the American Northwest, the Pacific Northwest in particular, provide a diverse offering of liberal arts colleges and larger research universities to potential students. Including the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and Northern California, this region has a school for everyone. For the purposes of this list, we have included …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Northeast: 2018 Rankings

The Northeast region of the United States is home to many colleges with rich histories, and some that even predate the founding of the nation itself. Although a handful of these schools have been around since the Revolutionary War, they have adapted well and made many technological advancements. In fact, a number of northeastern schools …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Midwest: 2018 Rankings

America’s heartland has a lot to offer: friendly people, prosperous industries, and a host of amazing colleges. Despite being labeled as “fly-over states” the Midwest is home to a number of prominent academic institutions. For the purposes of the list, we’ve included the following states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Southwest: 2018 Rankings

The Southwest region of the United States is full of rich history, fascinating landscapes, and plenty of notable colleges and universities. We analyzed hundreds of colleges in the region based on various measures, including campus diversity, student outcomes, selectivity, and more. For the purposes of this list, we consider the following states to make up the …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Southeast: 2018 Rankings

The Southeast region offers a wide variety and distribution of colleges within its borders. Known for its beautiful weather and rich cultural history, this diverse area has a college experience for every student. Schools in the Southeast range from large research universities to small liberal arts institutions. Whether public or private, southeastern schools have a …

Top 25 Colleges with the Highest Graduation Rate: 2018 Rankings

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average undergraduate graduation rate is 59%. This means that on average, about 59% of all college students complete a bachelor’s degree at the same institution where the started in four years. Soaring above and beyond this average of 59% is this selection of colleges with the …

Top 25 Best First-Year Retention Rates: 2018 Rankings

Many prospective students look to a college’s first year retention rate as an indicator of a school’s quality. Retention rates show the percentage of the freshman class that remained enrolled for their second academic year—meaning they loved the school enough to continue their higher education there. For this list, we looked at which colleges had …

Top 25 Best HBCUs: 2018 Rankings

Historically black colleges / universities, or HBCUs for short, are schools established with the primary purpose of serving the African American community before the Civil Rights Movement. Out of the over 100 HBCUs that are operating today in America, the following selection of 25 are the strongest institutions of the bunch. The schools continue in the …

Top 25 Best HSIs: 2018 Rankings

Hispanic Serving Institutions, or HSIs, do just what their name implies. These schools are dedicated to serving Hispanic and Latino students in the United States. The mission of these schools is to increase the aid, support, and access to quality higher education for students of Hispanic descent—particularly first-generation and low-income students. However, HSIs open their doors …