College Raptor’s 2021 Best Colleges Rankings are here! In these various lists, we shine the spotlight on the best colleges and universities that the US has to offer. Many of the brand new lists are inspired by current events.

We’ve divided these rankings into multiple handy categories, allowing students and their families to more easily find schools that fit with what they’re looking for.

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 USA | 2021 Rankings

Best US Colleges badge

The Top 50 Best Colleges in the USA list is the most prestigious and selective rankings list College Raptor releases every year. Schools that are featured here are the pinnacle of higher education. With vibrant histories, beautiful campuses, and amazing academic programs, these schools are iconic institutions. After thoroughly analyzing thousands of colleges, Raptor selected …

Read more

Top 25 Best Public Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best Public Colleges badge

Some of the finest colleges in the country are public institutions. These schools are government-funded, tend to have larger and more diverse student bodies, and are filled with opportunities. Public colleges are known for their student organizations, internship opportunities, intramural sports, and many academic resources. This rankings list puts the spotlight on the best public …

Read more

Top 25 Best Private Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best Private Colleges badge

There are private universities in the US older than the country itself! Many of the best colleges in America are private, many are even household names. Rich with history, private colleges can go on to produce equally historic alumni. Private colleges tend to be nonprofit institutions that are funded internally through endowments and donations. Because …

Read more

Top 25 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges badge

The Liberal Arts encompass a wide variety of subjects — from English to Business to Psychology. That means encouraging students to explore subjects outside of their major and have a truly holistic education. Liberal arts colleges also typically have smaller student bodies, which means students will find a tight-knit community and unique campus culture. We …

Read more

Top 25 Best Research Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best Research Colleges badge

The aptly named “research colleges” put a large emphasis on research from both students and faculty. Many of America’s best universities and colleges fall under the research category. They make impressive advancements in the sciences every single year. With top-notch professors, resources, and programs, the universities and colleges featured on this list are the pinnacles …

Read more

Top 25 Best Small Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best small colleges badge

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” William Shakespeare wasn’t talking about colleges when he penned those words, but they are apt to describe small colleges nonetheless. A small college means a tight-knit community and plenty of chances for your voice to be heard. Some of the nation’s best schools are considered small! For …

Read more

Top 25 Best Mid-Sized Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best mid-sized colleges badge

Large and small colleges get a lot of attention on rankings lists—but what about schools that fall in the middle of that spectrum? Mid-sized colleges offer the best of both worlds. These schools offer a diverse range of students to meet and plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, but you don’t have to worry …

Read more

Top 25 Best Large Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best large colleges badge

These 25 colleges are as impressive as they are big. Large colleges are some of the most well-known across the country. With so many students, you’re bound to find a spirited community and lots of opportunities to check out. For the purposes of the list, we count large colleges as having over 10,000 students enrolled—and …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in New England | 2021 Rankings

Best New England Colleges badge

New England is known for its beautiful scenery, early American history, and, of course, for prestigious colleges. In fact, some of the schools in New England are older than the country itself! For this list, we’re considering the following states to be part of New England: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Mid-East US | 2021 Rankings

The mid-east region of the United States is chock full of history, culture, great cuisine, and fantastic educational opportunities. Perhaps that’s unsurprising as many of the nation’s first colleges and universities were built in the region. For this list, the following states are part of the mid-east US: Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Southeast US | 2021 Rankings

Best southeast colleges badge

Delicious southern food, heart-warming southern hospitality, and quality southern education, the southeast region is known for that and plenty more. For the purposes of this list, we’re considering the following states as part of the southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Flordia, Georgia, Kentucky, Lousiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia. It’s a large region …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Plains Region | 2021 Rankings

Best plains region colleges badge

America’s heartland has a lot to offer — beautiful scenery, booming industry, vast farmlands, and fantastic colleges. In fact, some of the very best colleges in the US are located in the plains region. For this list, we’re including the following states in the plains region: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Great Lakes Region | 2021 Rankings

Best Great Lakes colleges badge

The Great Lakes region is well-known for its mighty bodies of water, but its colleges are equally impressive. The states bordering the Great Lakes — Superior, Erie, Michigan, Huron, and Ontario — have powerhouse schools worth investigating. For this list, the following states are included in the Great Lakes region: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Rocky Mountains Region | 2021 Rankings

Best Rocky Mountain colleges badge

The Rocky Mountains are as historic themselves as the states they cross through. The Rockies offer beautiful vistas, unique wildlife, challenging hikes, and great skiing, but the states offer great schools and educational opportunities. For this list, we’re including the following states in the Rocky Mountain region: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. Ready to …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Southwest US | 2021 Rankings

Best southwest colleges badge

Do you imagine nothing but arid desert land and Spaghetti Westerns when you hear “Southwest?” If so, it’s time to redefine the word. The Southwest has some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes, from canyons to snowy mountains. The Southwest is also home to a large range of amazing colleges and universities. For the …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Far West US | 2021 Rankings

Best far west colleges badge

The states in the far west US have some of the most diverse landscapes, climates, wildlife, cultures, and cuisines from anywhere else in the country. Likewise, they also have a diverse array of incredible colleges in the far west, too. For this top 25 list, we’ve included the following states in the far west: Alaska, …

Read more

Top 25 Best HBCUs In the US | 2021 Rankings

Best HBCUs badge

Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs for short, are schools established with the primary purpose of serving the African American community before the Civil Rights Movement. While they may have historic roots, HBCUs are still incredibly important today. They are beacons of the ongoing fight for equality and progress. Given the societal importance of …

Read more

Top 25 Best Test-Optional Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best test-optional colleges badge

As the years go by (and more recently due to Covid-19), more and more colleges are deciding to make the ACT and SAT optional instead of mandatory. In fact, some of the most famous colleges in the US have dropped the admission test requirements. So here are the top 25 best test-optional colleges! Note: Colleges …

Read more

Top 25 Best Colleges for Public Health in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best colleges for Public Health majors badge

To say that Covid-19 has taken the world by storm would be a massive understatement. The pandemic has highlighted the immense importance of public health measures. Given the wide-reaching impact, we wanted to salute the heroes in the public health fields and highlight some colleges that are ideal for public health majors. For this list, …

Read more

Top 25 Best Rural Colleges in the US | 2021 Rankings

Best rural colleges badge

Ever heard the phrase “out in the sticks” or “out in the boonies?” Both mean the location is rural or in the middle of “nowhere.” Some of the best colleges in the US are “out in the sticks.” While city schools might get a lot of hype, we wanted to shine the spotlight on more …

Read more