Official Ranking of Best Colleges 2014

Top Colleges Rankings by TTP's Admissions Experts

10 MAY 2014
Each year, Top Test Prep publishes an official ranking of the best colleges in the US. This ranking is based on objective data such as acceptance rates, alumni contributions, peer ratings and reviews, strength of undergraduate programs, and endowment. This is an official list of top colleges.

Best Colleges Ranking:  The Official Guide

Top Test Prep studied the nation’s top colleges, both college and university institutions. Using metrics like alumni salary, acceptance rates, freshman retention rate, alongside interviews with students and admissions personnel, our college rankings experts have   Viewranked the Top Twenty college in the country. Check out the list below to see the best of the best colleges.

The Best Colleges in the US - Official Ranking

1. Yale University

Yale ranked consistently at the top of all the metrics used for college rankings. Yale edged out Harvard and Princeton because of its selectivity and graduation rates. 

Without doubt, Yale’s academics rank among the best of the best. Political science, humanities, government, and a host of other subject areas are Yale’s strengths. Yale opens doors for its graduates.

2. Harvard University

Harvard continues to set the standard for universities worldwide. With a massive endowment, brilliant faculty and student body, as well as top-flight facilities and research opportunities, Harvard could top this list as easily as Yale.

3. Princeton University

Princeton ranks third on this list because of the average salary of their alumni, both starting and mid-career. Princeton is always vying for the top spot because of its strong emphasis on its undergraduates as well as its top notch research programs.

4. Stanford

The best school on the West Coast, bar none, and a clear choice for a top five position. Fantastic science programs and research opportunities are paired with a focus on areas traditionally considered the province of the liberal arts college, like languages.

5. MIT

Famous for its unmatched science and engineering programs, MIT also places emphasis on the humanities for its undergraduate students. This is the place to go for “hard science” on the East Coast.

6. Columbia University

Columbia University, in New York City, offers some of the best and most rigorous programs in the Ivy League, and does all of it from its surprisingly tight-knit campus. The best of both worlds in many ways, Columbia offers small-school focus in a big-school setting.

7. Caltech

Caltech cracks the top 10 on this year's list not only because of its strong science and engineering programs, but also because of its ability to place its alumni in high paying jobs. Caltech also had the highest average SAT score of admitted students at a whopping 2300. 

8. Dartmouth College

The most rural of the Ivies, Dartmouth actually benefits from the seclusion with the bonus it receives to campus life and the increased focus on its undergraduate students and the time that they will spend there.

9. University of Chicago

Chicago is known for the rigor of its programs. This is absolutely a school for the academically serious undergraduate. At the same time, the city’s proximity offers a welcome diversion from studies.

10. Duke University

Duke University offers some of the most highly regarded academic programs in the country, and truly emphasizes the undergraduate experience. Modeled on the Ivies, Duke provides rigorous school work without detracting from the rollicking social atmosphere of a large Southern school.

11. University of Pennsylvania

Intellectually impressive, and socially active, UPenn offers a range of programs which blur the line between undergraduate and graduate education. This often allows students early access to Ivy-level research professors in a small-school atmosphere.

12. Brown University

Brown, out of all the Ivies, certainly offers the least restrictive and most open-ended program of study. A pass-fail grading system with no GPA makes Brown an attractive choice for students who are more concerned with content than percentage grades. Students are encouraged and supported by the faculty in their quest for intellectual fulfillment and the “right” course of study.

13. Williams College

The best of the small liberal arts colleges, Williams has everything that a well-rounded student could desire, including an incredibly small class size and a level of access to professors impossible to find at larger institutions.

14. Vanderbilt University

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt is clearly one of the top choices if you are looking for a southern school. Strong athletic programs mixed with an intellectual student body make Vanderbilt a unique experience for students. 

15. Swarthmore College

A highly intellectual student body, with rigorous and varied academics. Swarthmore prides itself on fostering a “life of the mind”. On paper, the smartest of the small liberal arts crowd.

16. Pomona College

Rigorous academics, strong all-around programs with a variety of majors, and exemplary student retention make Pomona one of the few exceptions to a field that is typically dominated by the Northeast. The weather is a plus.

17. Northwestern University

Located at a happy distance from Chicago, Northwestern is close enough to put its students in striking range without scattering them in a fully urban campus. Northwestern is particularly known to those studying journalism and medicine.

18. Cornell University

Housed in beautiful Ithaca, New York, Cornell has a heavy focus on its undergrads. Should they continue at Cornell, they can continue on into the graduate schools of Medicine, Engineering or the top-ranked Veterinary Medicine or Hotel Management schools.

19. Washington University in St. Louis

While WashU is primarily known for its strong med school, its undergrad programs are strong all across the board. High quality of life for its student body as well as strong research opportunities make WashU an ideal choice for students who want a top notch education but are wary of the traditional big name schools.

20. Amherst College

Typically vies with Williams for the top spot in the Northeast liberal arts schools, combining strong athletics with an academically superior environment, Amherst is a perennial contender and the most selective of the “Little Ivies”


These college rankings are based on objective data such as acceptance rates, alumni contributions, peer ratings and reviews, strength of undergraduate programs, and endowment.  This is an official list of top colleges.

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""We're excited to provide these college rankings, and hope they provide students with ample data to assess colleges and universities."" Bobby Han, International Business - Top Test Prep
""I am delighted to have approved these college rankings, and look forward to helping students get into the best colleges."" Ross Blankenship, Founder TTP and Admissions Expert
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