The 2017 College Raptor Best Colleges rankings are intended to be just that-a ranking of the best colleges in the nation.

Beyond that, 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 (large college, 10,000+ undergrads), or the nation's best liberal arts college.

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.

The 50 Best Colleges in the United States: 2017 Rankings

Our Top 50 Best College award is the most-selective honor in our 2017 Best Colleges rankings. We analyzed data on each school from thousands across the country and selected the 50 best of the four-year colleges throughout the nation. This list includes schools of all sizes, with varying majors and both public and private institutions. …

Top 25 Best Private Colleges: 2017 Rankings

Unlike public colleges—which are funded by local and state governments—private colleges and universities are funded by private sources—like tuition and fees. Many assume that private colleges are too expensive, however students who attend private colleges rarely pay the entirety of the “sticker price”, instead having significant financial aid pay for a good portion of their …

Top 25 Best Public Colleges

Public colleges and universities are abound in the United States. They receive funding from the government, and every state has at least one public school. Although there are many wonderful schools in the country, we’ve put together a list of the top 25 public colleges from around the United States. 25. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and …

Top 25 Best Research Universities: 2017 Rankings

As their name would suggest, research universities focus heavily on research! While many of these academically-inclined institutions have undergraduate programs, a great emphasis is put on their graduate / 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 list …

Top 25 Best Liberal Arts Colleges: 2017 Rankings

Liberal Arts and Sciences colleges teach anything from English to Chemistry, Philosophy to Mathematics. They tend to focus on a broader education rather than a hyper-focused trade. Many of the best colleges in the country are Liberal Arts and Sciences institutes, as shown by the exemplary schools on this list. Here are the Top 25 …

Top 25 Best Small Colleges: 2017 Rankings

These schools are the very definition of small but mighty. Though small in size, each of these colleges and universities packs a big punch when it comes to academics and other factors. For the purposes of this list, we’ve defined “small” as having fewer than 2,000 undergraduate students. (Note: The information ‘Student Enrollment’ featured in …

Top 25 Best Medium-Sized Colleges: 2017 Rankings

Everyone has their personal preference and comfort level when it comes to college size. Some people prefer the intimacy of a small school where they know everybody while others thrive at large universities where they only know a small portion of the student population. If you find yourself landing somewhere in between, then one of the following …

Top 25 Best Large Colleges: 2017 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 undergraduate students. (Note: “student enrollment” within these summaries includes both undergraduate and graduate students). Check out College Raptor’s list for the …

Top 25 Best Rural Colleges: 2017 Rankings

Not every great college is located in the Big City. In fact, there are numerous colleges set in rural areas that are equally prestigious as their urban-dwelling counterparts. Here are College Raptor’s Top 25 Rural Colleges for 2017! 25. Asbury University Location: Wilmore, KY Student Enrollment: 1,879 College Type: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above Asbury …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the West: 2017 Rankings

The American West is full of prestigious colleges and universities. While you may think of California as a powerhouse with many of these schools, don’t forget about the other states that also have great schools. Check out the list of the best of the best in the west below. 25. University of California—Santa Cruz Location: …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Midwest: 2017 Rankings

The Midwest is known for its friendly people and wide open spaces, but it is also home to some of the best academic institutions in the country. While coastal schools may be more well-known, these colleges and universities located in the heart of our country have a lot to offer in terms of academics, athletics …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Northeast: 2017 Rankings

The Northeast region of the United States has long been known for being the home of many prestigious school. That reputation is well-earned, as every single one of the colleges on this list was featured in our Top 50 Best Colleges of 2017! Many of these schools are steeped in the rich history that shaped …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Southwest: 2017 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. (Note: For the purposes of these rankings, we included states west of Louisiana, including Texas.) 25. …

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Southeast: 2017 Rankings

The Southeast region of the United States is known for its warm weather and rich culture. It is also known for having excellent institutions of higher education. While other regions of the United States may concentrate their more successful colleges and universities within a few states, the Southeast has a wide and even distribution of its schools, allowing for …