Many students are looking for a college experience with a huge campus with thousands of students, football games, and 300-person lectures. Not only do big colleges have more students, but they are often known (whether true or not) for providing bigger opportunities and more freedom to students.
If you’re looking for a college where you’ll be surrounded by tens of thousands of other undergrads, then our list of the best large colleges is just the place to look.
We looked at every college with more than 10,000 undergraduates enrolled and ranked them based on academic and outcome factors, including graduation rates, loan default rates, selectivity, diversity, and more.
Here are the 25 best large colleges in the U.S.:
25. University of Georgia
Undergraduate enrollment: 26,278
Home to more than 26,000 undergraduate students, the University of Georgia is the United States’ oldest state-chartered university. The main campus in Athens is made up of nearly 400 buildings and 17 separate schools and colleges dedicated to subjects ranging from Journalism to Ecology.
24. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Undergraduate enrollment: 30,728
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has more than 30,000 undergraduate Badgers enrolled, making it one of the largest colleges in the nation. First envisioned by then-president Charles Van Hise in 1904, UW-Madison is known for adhering to “The Wisconsin Idea”–a commitment that all work conducted at the university will be meant to better the lives of citizens across the entire state of Wisconsin.
23. SUNY at Binghamton
Undergraduate enrollment: 12,997
With just under 13,000 undergraduate students, SUNY Binghamton (or Binghamton University) is located just north of the New York/Pennsylvania border. Founded in 1946, BU has grown from a small liberal arts college to a large research university, which now grants Doctoral degrees.
22. The University of Texas at Austin
Undergraduate enrollment: 39,979
This public research university in the always-quirky city of Austin boasts a whopping undergraduate enrollment of nearly 40,000 students. UT Austin puts its $3 billion endowment to good use, not only by funding its massive sports programs, but also keeping the doors open at the 7 museums and 17 libraries found on campus.
21. Miami University-Oxford
Undergraduate enrollment: 15,462
Often known as “Miami of Ohio”, Miami University is a public research university with more than 15,000 undergraduates enrolled. The university maintains 7 schools and colleges, including the Farmer’s School of Business, which offers 8 undergraduate majors and is recognized nationally and internationally for educational excellence.
20. University of Washington-Seattle
Undergraduate enrollment: 29,756
Located just to the north of downtown Seattle, the University of Washington’s main campus houses just under 30,000 undergraduate students and is comprised of more than 500 buildings. Known the world over for its top-tier medical program, the university has an operating and research budget of more than $6 billion annually.
19. University of California-Irvine
Undergraduate enrollment: 23,530
UC Irvine offers more than 80 undergraduate and 94 graduate degrees. The campus, located in the southern Los Angeles suburbs, attracts well over 20,000 undergraduate students.
18. Boston University
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,165
Boston University, or BU, is a private research university that enrolls more than 18,000 undergrads just west of downtown Boston. The sprawling urban campus spans more than 1.5 miles and is separated into the Main Charles River Campus and the West Campus by the Boston University Bridge, which spans the Charles River to the north.
17. University of Florida
Undergraduate enrollment: 33,168
With more than 30,000 undergrads on campus, the University of Florida offers 16 academic colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. Many of UF’s programs have been nationally recognized, including top-10 nods for Audiology, Analytical Chemistry, and Occupational Therapy.
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16. University of California-San Diego
San Diego, CA
Undergraduate enrollment: 23,805
UC San Diego, a public research university, is known for its unique structure, in which it offers students the choice to enroll in 1 of 6 residential colleges. Each of the 6 options offers not only different areas of study but also different philosophical approaches to learning and education. As a whole, the campus enrolls more than 23,000 students and is just minutes from the Pacific coast.
15. University of California-Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
Undergraduate enrollment: 19,362
Originally founded as a teacher’s college, UC Santa Barbara has grown to enroll nearly 20,000 undergrads on its campus just outside of Los Angeles, overlooking the Pacific. In 2015, UCSB was designated as a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) and its faculty currently includes 6 Nobel Prize laureates.
14. George Washington University
Undergraduate enrollment: 10,357
Located just a few blocks from the White House and other D.C. landmarks, George Washington University is home to more than 10,000 undergrads studying at 10 different schools and colleges. In 1821, GW was first chartered as Columbian College, but later re-named to honor the first president.
13. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Undergraduate enrollment: 32,695
With more than 30,000 undergraduates, more than 150 undergraduate programs, and 100 graduate programs, the University of Illinois has a lot to offer. Known as one of the most selective public research universities, UI has made a name for itself as a top-tier science and engineering school, driving innovation in fields such as supercomputing. Illinois was cited in 2004 by Bill Gates, in which he stated that Microsoft hired more grads from this college than any other school in the world.
12. University of Connecticut
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,032
UConn is a public research university with more than 18,000 undergraduate students. The college offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and boasts an impressive 93% retention rate for first-year students returning their sophomore year.
11. University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, MD
Undergraduate enrollment: 10,614
Located just northeast of Washington D.C., the University of Maryland is a public research university with more than 10,000 undergraduates studying one of the 127 degrees granted. Because of its proximity to the nation’s capital, UMD is often contracted by federal programs such as NASA and Homeland Security to participate in research partnerships.
10. New York University
New York, NY
Undergraduate enrollment: 22,615
NYU is a private research university that enrolls more than 22,000 undergraduate students and has an endowment of more than $3.5 billion. More than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students live in one of the college’s extensive on-campus housing developments, which are found throughout the main campus area primarily located in Greenwich Village.
9. University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,445
USC is a large, private research university located in Los Angeles. It’s home to more than 18,000 undergraduate students and has the country’s oldest and largest cinematic arts school. USC is recognized as having graduated the fourth most billionaires of any undergraduate college in the world.
8. University of California-Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate enrollment: 28,674
The University of California-Los Angeles, or UCLA, is the second-oldest college in the UC system, having been added after Berkeley. UCLA is not only known for top-tier academics as a public research university, but its student-athletes are also world-renowned, having amassed 250 total Olympic medals, including at least one gold medal in every Olympics the U.S. has participated in since the year 1932.
7. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
Undergraduate enrollment: 18,370
UNC Chapel Hill is a public research university located in north-central North Carolina. The college town of Chapel Hill houses an undergraduate population of more than 18,000 students, including students from all 50 states. UNC Chapel Hill offers more than 300 study-abroad programs in 70 different countries.
6. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI
Undergraduate enrollment: 28,283
Located in southeastern Michigan, U of M is a public research university that enrolls about 28,300 undergraduate students. The university offers many majors for undergraduate students, but its top 3 majors are Experimental Psychology, Business Administration, and Economics.
5. University of California-Berkeley
Undergraduate enrollment: 25,951
UC Berkeley is a public research university in the San Francisco Bay area. The California flagship educates the most diverse undergraduate student body of any public university in the U.S., made up of about 26,000 students. Common major choices include Economics, Cell and Molecular Biology, and General Biology.
4. Cornell University
Undergraduate enrollment: 14,393
Cornell is located in the Finger Lakes regions of New York near Cayuga Lake. The research university enrolls around 14,400 undergraduate students and about half that many graduate students. Biology, Hotel Administration, and Labor and Industrial Relations are Cornell’s top three undergraduate majors.
3. University of Virginia-Main Campus
Undergraduate enrollment: 16,087
UVA is a public research university located in north-central Virginia near the Appalachian Mountains. It boasts an undergraduate enrollment of about 16,000 students and has the highest first-year retention rate of any college in the Southeast. Business, Liberal Studies, and Biology are UVA’s 3 most popular undergraduate major choices.
2. University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA
Undergraduate enrollment: 11,525
Penn, located in Pennsylvania’s largest city, has a total undergraduate enrollment of about 11,500 students. Its three most popular undergrad majors are Finance, Nursing, and Economics. At 87 percent, Penn has the highest 4-year graduation rate of any college in Pennsylvania.
1. Harvard University
Undergraduate enrollment: 10,534
Harvard is a major research institution located in the Boston area. The college enrolls about 10,500 undergrads among whom popular majors include economics, social sciences, and political science. The university boasts the largest endowment of any higher learning institution in the country.
About our 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