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

Best Rocky Mountain colleges badgeThe 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 see some colleges as mighty as the mountains? Check out the top 25 below.

Top 25 Best Colleges in the Rocky Mountains Region

The United States Air Force Academy is the newest of the service academies. Students interested in attending must be nominated by a person in Congress. The academy is extremely selective, only accepting 11% of its applicants. Students who are admitted have their tuition and other costs covered by the United States Air Force.
Location USAFA, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 4,336
Known also as simply Mines, this school has two mascots -- Marvin the Miner and Blaster the Burro. The sports teams are known as the Orediggers whose colors are blue and, appropriately, silver. Mechanical Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Computer Science, Chemical Engineering, and Bioengineering are the top 5 most popular majors.
Location Golden, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 6,325
Colorado College has a rather intense acceptance rate at just 14%. Of the nearly 9,500 applications sent in to CC every year, the college will accept about 1,300 of them. On average, the incoming class scores between 26 and 32 on the ACT, and between 1260 and 1450 on the SAT. CC has an 80% 4-year graduation rate.
Location Colorado Springs, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,144
The doctor’s degree is the highest level of education offered by the University of Denver and nearly half of the students on campus study at the graduate level. 89% of students there receive financial aid from the institution to help cover costs. Crimson and gold are the colors of the school’s team, the Pioneers.
Location Denver, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 11,952
The University of Colorado Boulder has a Greek school motto -- “Λαμψάτω τό φῶς ὑμῶν” -- which means “Let Your Light Shine.” In addition to being the state’s flagship school, UC Boulder is also a space-grant college. Between 24 and 30 is the average ACT score of incoming students while 1180 -- 1390 is the average for the SAT.
Location Boulder, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 36,681
Though a beehive is featured on the school’s official seal, the mascot is a red-tailed hawk named Swoop. 70% of the students on campus receive institutional financial aid to help pay for college. The University of Utah has an 89% first-year retention rate. Students come from all over the country, though 61% of the incoming class call Utah home.
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 33,023
The campus in Fort Collins is the flagship campus of the entire Colorado State University system. CSU’s colors are green, gold, and white and the mascot is named Cam the Ram. Jason Momoa, Jack Christiansen, and Leslie Jones are a few notable names that studied at CSU. The school has an 83% first-year retention rate.
Location Fort Collins, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 33,478
Psychology, Exercise Physiology, Accounting, Economics, and Computer Science are the top 5 most popular majors. Students come from every state in the US, though 33% of the incoming class comes from Utah. BYU Provo has a 6-year graduation rate of 78% and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1.
Location Provo, UT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 34,499
New Saint Andrews College doesn’t offer majors, but instead one Liberal Arts program to its students. The school has a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a first-year retention rate of 86%. 28% of the incoming class comes from the state of Idaho. New Saint Andrews College has a rather high acceptance rate, 98%.
Location Moscow, ID
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 198
Known also as simply UW, the school is a large research college. There are two mascots -- Pistol Pete and Cowboy Joe, who is portrayed by a real horse. Brown and gold are the colors worn by over 400 student-athletes when they compete. Wrestling, football, swimming, track, and golf are popular sports.
Location Laramie, WY
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 12,450
Psychology, Mechanical Engineering, Marketing, Electrical Engineering, and General Studies are the top 5 most popular majors at the University of Idaho. The school has a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio and 70% of the incoming class calls Idaho home. 90% of the students on campus receive institutional aid to help pay for college.
Location Moscow, ID
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 11,841
Blue and gold are the colors of Regis University. There is an even 50/50 split between undergraduates and graduates on campus. Regis does not require application fees from prospective students. There is a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a first-year retention rate of 79%. 58% of incoming students call Colorado home.
Location Denver, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 7,907
“Non Scholae Sed Vitae” or “Not For School, But For Life” is the motto of Carroll College. Halo the Saint Bernard is the official mascot of this baccalaureate school. Located in the state capital, Carroll College has an acceptance rate of 69%. Registered Nursing, Health Services, Biology, Business, and Elementary Education are the most popular majors.
Location Helena, MT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 1,335
Purple and gold are the school colors of Westminster College. Competing in NCAA Division II sports as the Griffins, Westminster student athletes enjoy soccer, skiing, lacrosse, and basketball among other sports. Alumni of Westminster have gone on to become professional athletes, politicians, musicians, and scientists.
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,477
One of the youngest colleges in America, having been founded in 2003, Neumont is a career-focused institution of higher learning in Utah’s state capital. Neumont offers 5 total majors -- Computer Programming, Network and System Administration, Information Technology Project Management, Web Page Design, and Modeling Virtual Environments and Simulation.
Location Salt Lake City, UT
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 430
Nicknamed the Coyotes -- or the Yotes -- the student-athletes of the College of Idaho play a variety of sports, including basketball, soccer, swimming, and track. C of I, as it’s often referred to, has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. Just over half of all incoming students call Idaho home. Similarly, the college’s acceptance rate is just under half -- at 49%.
Location Caldwell, ID
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 964
Psychology, Business Administration, Registered Nursing, and Organizational Behavior Studies are some of the most popular majors on campus. 32% of the incoming students come from Colorado, but many come from all over the country. 99% of the students at CCU receive financial aid from the university to help cover costs.
Location Lakewood, CO
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 7,625
Montana State University’s school motto is “Mountain & Minds” and mountain peaks are featured in the seal. The mascot is a bobcat named Champ. There are over 300 student-athletes on campus and they wear blue and gold to share their school pride. Business / Commerce is the most popular major.
Location Bozeman, MT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 16,814
73% of the students attending Utah State University receive financial aid from the school to help cover costs. Given its large student population, it should come as no surprise that USU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1. The school motto -- “Research, Service, Teaching” -- is quite fitting for a university.
Location Logan, UT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 27,932
“Splendor sine Occasu” translates to “Splendour Without Diminishment” which serves as Boise State University’s motto. Blue and orange are the school colors and the sports teams are known as the Broncos. Registered Nursing, Health Professions, Speech Communication & Rhetoric, Respiratory Care Therapy, and Business are the most popular majors.
Location Boise, ID
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 25,504
Northwest Nazarene University does not require students to pay an application fee. The school also has a relatively high acceptance rate, at 86%. There is a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio on campus. 47% of incoming students come from Idaho, but many others come from the neighboring state of Washington and Oregon.
Location Nampa, ID
Institution Type Private
Student Enrollment 2,201
The Anschutz Medical Campus houses the University of Colorado’s health-related schools. Over the years, Anschutz has had a close connection to the Denver campus and is now referred to as UC Denver/Anschutz for short. Given the health focus, it may come as a surprise that Business is the most popular major.
Location Denver, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 25,645
Originally called the Montana School of Mines, the modern college still pays homage to its roots with the motto “De re metallica” or “Of the metals.” Likewise, the sports teams are known as the Orediggers. Green and copper are the official colors. Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering are the most popular majors.
Location Butte, MT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 1,844
Klawz the Bear is the mascot of the University of Northern Colorado -- often shortened to UNC. There are over 400 student-athletes on campus; many of them compete in track, football, basketball, and soccer. 85% of the students at UNC receive financial aid from the university to help cover costs.
Location Greeley, CO
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 13,437
Located by the Clark Fork River, UM is a research university that offers up to the doctoral degree level. For every 1 faculty member there are 16 students. 67% of the incoming class comes from Montana. JK Simmons and Hank Green are two notable names that have come out of the university.
Location Missoula, MT
Institution Type Public
Student Enrollment 10,962

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.

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