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Colleges with great financial aid
The following is a list of colleges and universities that offer great financial aid. Selection is based on the average amount of financial aid awarded, ratio of gift aid (grant, scholarships) to self-help aid (loans, work-study), and students' reported satisfaction with their financial aid package.
  • Boston College
  • Brandeis University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carleton College
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Centre College
  • Cooper Union
  • Denison University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
  • George Washington University
  • Harvard University
  • Haverford College
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Macalester College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Providence College
  • Princeton University
  • Providence College
  • Rice University
  • Scripps College
  • Swarthmore College
  • Trinity College
  • University of Richmond
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vassar College
  • Williams College
  • Yale University
Best buys in public education
These public colleges and universitiesoffer an excellent education at an affordable price. Selection is based on eductation expenditures, graduation rates, tuition, cost of living and average debt at graduation.
  • Appalachian State University
  • College of New Jersey
  • Florida State University
  • James Madison University
  • McGill University (Canada)
  • New College of Florida
  • North Carolina State University
  • St. Mary's College of Maryland
  • SUNY at Binghamton
  • SUNY at Stony Brook
  • SUNY at Geneseo
  • Texas A&M University
  • Truman State University
  • University United States Military Academy
  • United States Naval Academy
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • Univeristy of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Toronto (Canada)
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
Subject tests required
Applicants to these institutions must take at least two SAT subject tests. *However, some institutions on this list allow students to submit their ACT score (with writing) in lieu of subject test scores.
  • Amherst College
  • Barnard College
  • Boston College
  • Brown University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Harvard University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Pomona College
  • Princeton University
  • Rice University
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Vassar College
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College
  • Yale University
Test-optional colleges
Below is a list of competitive institutions that do not require standardized tests for admission:
  • Agnes Scott College
  • Albright College
  • American University
  • Augustana College
  • Bard College
  • Bates College
  • Bennington College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Clark University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Connecticut College
  • Denison University
  • Depaul University
  • Dickinson College
  • Drew University
  • Earlham College
  • Eckerd College
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Furman University
  • Gettysburg College
  • Goucher College
  • Guilford College
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Hampshire College
  • Hartwick College
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Illinois College
  • Ithaca College
  • Juniata College
  • Knox College
  • Lake Forest College
  • Lawrence University
  • Lewis and Clark College
  • Marlboro Colleg
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Pitzer College
  • Providence College
  • Rollins College
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Sewanee-The University of the South
  • Smith College
  • St. John's College
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Susquehanna University
  • Union College
  • University of the South
  • Ursinus College
  • Wake Forest University
  • Wheaton College (MA)
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
CLEP credits accepted
One of the best kept secrets in early college learning, CLEP exams offer students the opportunity to earn college credit and/or advanced placement status while potentially saving thousands of dollars in the process. Below is a list of competitive colleges accepting CLEP exam credits.
  • Allegheny College
  • American University
  • Arizona State University
  • Bentley University
  • Bucknell University
  • Denison University
  • Drexel University
  • Eckerd College
  • Elon University
  • Evergreen State College
  • Florida State University
  • George Mason University
  • Guilford College
  • Ithaca College
  • James Madison University
  • McDaniel College
  • Michigan State University
  • Muhlenberg College
  • North Carolina State University
  • Ohio State University
  • Morehouse College
  • Penn State University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Scripps College
  • St. Mary's College of Maryland
  • SUNY at Binghamton
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Maryland, Collge Park
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Miami
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of San Diego
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Villanova University
Selective and transfer-friendly
Students with the desire, but not the credentials or means, to enroll at a highly competitive institution immediately after high school may consider applying to these great schools following a successful freshman or sophomore year. All colleges listed admit a higher percentage of transfers than freshman.
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • College of William and Mary
  • Colorado College
  • Cornell University
  • Lehigh University
  • Notre Dame University
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Tufts University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Richmond
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Virginia
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wesleyan University
Colleges for the aspiring Ph.D.
These colleges produce the highest percentage of eventual doctorate recipients in the natural sciences, social and behavior sciences, and engineering. Institutions are listed in rank order and based on statistics provided by the National Science Foundation’s Weighted Baccalaureate Origins Study.
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Reed College
  • Swarthmore College
  • Carleton College
  • University of Chicago
  • Grinnell College
  • Rice University
  • Princeton University
  • Harvard University
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Haverford College
  • Pomona College
  • Williams College
  • Yale University
  • Oberlin College
  • Stanford University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Cornell University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Washington College
  • Brown University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Macalester College
  • Amherst College
  • Duke University
  • Beloit College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Wellesley College
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Earlham College
  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Lawrence University
  • University of Rochester
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Dartmouth College
  • Occidental College
  • Hendrix College
  • Vassar College
  • Trinity University
  • College of William and Mary
  • St. John's College
  • Bates College
  • Whitman College
  • Brandeis University
  • Hampshire College
For the budding entrepreneur
All colleges on this list have exceptionally strong offerings in entrepreneurship and provide ample real-world experience through internships, practicums and/or cooperative education.
  • Babson College
  • Bentley University
  • Baylor University
  • Cornell University
  • Drexel University
  • Elon University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia Tech University
  • Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Northeastern University
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Southern California
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
BA/MD or BS/MD programs
Combined degree programs at these colleges are ultra-competitive and require years of intense work, but they save participants time, money and the stress of applying to medical school.
  • Babson College
  • Baylor University
  • Boston University
  • Brooklyn College CUNY
  • Brown University
  • College of New Jersey
  • Drew University
  • Drexel University
  • East Carolina University
  • George Washington University
  • Howard University
  • Indiana State University
  • Kean University
  • Kent State University
  • Lehigh University
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Penn State University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • Rutgers University
  • Siena College
  • St. Bonaventure University
  • St. Louis University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Stony Brook University
  • Temple University
  • Union College
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Akron
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Colorado, Denver
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs
  • University of Illinois, Chicago
  • University of Miami
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • University of Nevada
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of South Alabama
  • University of Toledo
  • Villanova University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Wayne State University
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