Top 25 Best Colleges in the Southeast | 2020 Rankings

Top 25 best colleges in the southeast

The Southeast region of the US is known for its vibrant culture and rich history, as well as the diverse range of colleges that can be found all over the region. The colleges listed here are of all sizes, public and private institutions alike. 

In this list, we include the following states in the Southeast region: Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky.

If you call the Southeast home, check out the list of nearby and spectacular colleges. You might just consider attending one of them yourself!

Best Colleges in the Southeast

Duke University has had its name changed many times, originally called Brown’s Schoolhouse. The school has many notable alumni, including Richard Nixon, Tim Cook, and Melinda Gates. Duke’s most popular major is Public Policy Analysis, followed by Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Biology, and Nursing.
Location Durham, NC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 16,606
The concept of the University of Virginia was created by Thomas Jefferson while he was president. It was the only school to stay open during the Civil War. The most popular major is Liberal Arts and Sciences. UVA graduates include politicians, Olympians, astronauts, Pulitzer Prize winners, and more.
Location Charlottesville, VA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 24,639
Vanderbilt University holds an acceptance rate of 10%, admitting about 3,430 students out of over 34,300 applicants. The school has a student to faculty ratio of 7 to 1 and requires all students to live on-campus. Vanderbilt’s mascot is called Mr. Commodore, or Mr. C, who has the appearance of a naval officer.
Location Nashville, TN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 12,824
Washington and Lee University has an acceptance rate of 21%, a pretty selective rate. This school requires that students live on-campus. The average ACT and SAT scores of admitted students are between 31--34 and 1,348--1,490 respectively. W&L is named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee.
Location Lexington, VA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,223
With school colors of Carolina blue and white, this university is one of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system. Out of nearly 41,940 applicants, only 9,645 students were admitted into the university. The notable faculty includes Nobel Prize laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Rhodes Scholars.
Location Chapel Hill, NC
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 30,011
The College of William and Mary is a school of firsts. It was the first to introduce a Greek fraternity, the first to invoke an honor code for students, and was the first law school in America. The three most popular majors are Business Administration and Management, Political Science and Government, and Physical Education.
Location Williamsburg, VA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 8,817
Emory University is the home of the Eagles. Alumni from Emory include prime ministers, university presidents, and members of Congress. There is a near even split between undergraduate and graduate students---49% and 51% respectively. Honorary alumni include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Tom Brokaw.
Location Atlanta, GA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 14,458
Alenda Lux Ubi Orta Libertas is the school motto of Davidson, translating to mean “Let Learning Be Cherished Where Liberty Has Arisen.” Davidson’s most popular majors are Biology, Political Science and Government, and Economics. 63% of students receive grant aid. Nearly 80% of students study abroad during their college career.
Location Davidson, NC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,843
This school’s colors are orange and blue, with Florida students going by the Gators. The University of Florida has an acceptance rate of 39%, accepting around 15,100 students out of about 38,900 applicants. Popular majors at the university includes Biology, Psychology, Finance, and Mechanical Engineering.
Location Gainesville, FL
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 52,218
“Word of life and the light of knowledge” is the motto of the University of Richmond. UR has both interestingly named school colors---UR blue and UR red---and a mascot---WebstUR the Spider. A whopping 82% of the student body study is at the undergraduate level. The campus is wrapped around Westhampton Lake.
Location Richmond, VA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 4,002
Georgia Tech is well regarded throughout the world, known for their focus in technology. Popular majors at the school include Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, and Industrial Engineering. Class sizes are relatively larger, with 18 students to every 1 faculty member. There is a near-even split between grad and undergrad students.
Location Atlanta, GA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 32,723
Tulane University does not require undergraduate students to pay an application fee. On average, incoming students have an average ACT and SAT test score of 30--33 and 1,350--1,490. Their motto, Non Sibi Sed Suis, translates from Latin to English to mean “Not for oneself, but for one's own.”
Location New Orleans, LA
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 12,646
The University of Georgia is one of the oldest public universities in America, founded in 1785. The school’s official colors are red and black. UGA has an acceptance rate of 49%. The school is considered a public flagship, as well as a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university. Their mascot, Uga, is portrayed by a real bulldog.
Location Athens, GA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 38,652
Wake Forest has a rather oxymoronic team name---the Demon Deacons. The tuxedo-wearing mascot often rides into sports stadiums on a motorcycle. Wake Forest has a competitive acceptance rate of 29%. Nearly 19% of the first-year student body comes from North Carolina.
Location Winston-Salem, NC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 8,401
Being quite a mouthful, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is more commonly referred to as Virginia Tech. The school offers 116 bachelor degree programs, the most popular being Mechanical Engineering, Management Science, Nutrition Science, Finance, and Biology.
Location Blacksburg, VA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 34,683
This school has a relatively low student to faculty ratio of 14:1. The university’s most popular major is Business Administration. The school’s colors are red and white. Over 500 student athletes wear these colors when competing for NCSU. Students at the university go by the Wolfpack.
Location Raleigh, NC
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 35,479
Florida State University’s school motto is “Vires, Artes, Mores” which translates to mean, “Strength, Skill, Character.” The average ACT and SAT scores of accepted students range between 26--30 and 1,200--1,350 respectively. Florida State is also an NCAA Division I-FBS school, with 121 football players on the varsity team.
Location Tallahassee, FL
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 41,005
Clemson University’s top five most popular majors include Business, Biology, Psychology, Mechanical Engineering, and Marketing. The school’s colors are Clemson orange and regalia, which is a shade of purple. The university is considered both a land- and a sea-grant university.
Location Clemson, SC
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 24,951
The school’s colors are orange, green and white. The school has 138 undergraduate programs, the most popular major being Nursing. Class sizes are average, with twelve students for every one faculty member. The school has a four year graduation rate of 70%.
Location Coral Gables, FL
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 17,331
Established in 1848, Rhodes College is fairly selective, with an acceptance rate of 45%. The school does not require undergraduate applicants to pay an application fee. Popular majors include Business, Biology, Psychology, and Neuroscience. The school’s colors are cardinal and black.
Location Memphis, TN
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,036
This college’s motto, translated from Latin, means “Learning is the Light of the Mind.” It’s fitting, then, that their official school colors are white and yellow. Since the bachelor’s is the highest degree offered, you’ll find only undergraduate students on campus. They have 510 student athletes competing at the college.
Location Danville, KY
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,434
Founded as a Baptist theological school in 1826, the school is now considered secular though it maintains several elements of its religiously affiliated history. The school motto, for example, is Christo et Doctrinae---for Christ and Learning. Their mascot, fittingly, is a Paladin. Furman has an acceptance rate of 61%, and a six year graduation rate of 80%.
Location Greenville, SC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,947
The University of South Carolina at Columbia has a rather long and unique school motto. Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros, meaning: “Learning humanizes character and does not permit it to be cruel.” Certainly a noble phrase for a university. UofSC’s most popular major is Finance, followed by Exercise Physiology, and Biology.
Location Columbia, SC
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 34,795
The Virginia Military Institute certainly has an interesting mascot---Moe the Kangaroo. VMI also has a total of three school colors: red, yellow, and white. The Institute has a 51% acceptance rate, and a first year retention rate of 89%. While about 60% of the first-year students do come from Virginia, many come across the country as well.
Location Lexington, VA
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,685
Elon University was founded in 1889 with only 76 students attending. Today, almost 7,000 students are currently enrolled. The university accepts around 72% of all applicants, and 90% of freshmen return for their sophomore year. Only 16% of students attending are from North Carolina, and the most popular major offered is Public Relations.
Location Elon, NC
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 6,991

Interested in any of these schools? Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to see if they’re a good fit for you!

Methodology

Colleges are ranked based on a combination of factors, including graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recently-available enrollment year. Some colleges may have been excluded from rankings based on certain criteria, including specialization and classification. Learn about our full methodology.

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe!