Top 10 American Colleges: 2011

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10. United States Air Force Academy
Colorado

The Air Force Academy is among the most selective colleges in the United States. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked it tied for 5th place in the category Undergraduate Engineering Programs. Forbes magazine, in 2009, ranked the Academy the #2 public college in the United States and the #7 college overall in its “America’s Best Colleges 2009” publication. Candidates for admission are judged on their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, athletics and character.

To gain admission, candidates must also pass a fitness test, undergo a thorough medical examination, and secure a nomination, which usually comes from the member of Congress in the candidate’s home district. Recent incoming classes have had about 1,400 cadets; historically just under 1,000 of those will graduate. Tuition along with room and board are all paid for by the U.S. government. Cadets receive a monthly stipend, but incur a commitment to serve a number of years of military service after graduation. -Wikipedia.org

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9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts: $53,210

Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, the institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. MIT’s early emphasis on applied technology at the undergraduate and graduate levels led to close cooperation with industry. Curricular reforms under Karl Compton and Vannevar Bush in the 1930s re-emphasized basic scientific research.

MIT was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934. Researchers were involved in efforts to develop computers, radar, and inertial guidance in connection with defense research during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. -Wikipedia.org

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8. University of Chicago
Illinois: $57,590

The University consists of the College of the University of Chicago, various graduate programs and interdisciplinary committees organized into four divisions, six professional schools, and a school of continuing education. The University enrolls approximately 5,000 students in the College and about 15,000 students overall.In 2008, the University spent $423.7 million on scientific research.

University of Chicago scholars have played a role in the development of the Chicago school of economics, the Chicago school of sociology, the law and economics movement in legal analysis, the Chicago school of literary criticism, the Chicago school of religion and the physics leading to the world’s first man-made, self-sustaining nuclear reaction. The University is also home to the University of Chicago Press, the largest university press in the United States. -Wikipedia.org

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7. Haverford College
Pennsylvania: $55,632

The College was founded in 1833 by area members of the Orthodox Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to ensure an education grounded in Quaker values for young Quaker men. Although the College no longer has a formal religious affiliation, the Quaker philosophy still influences campus life. Originally an all-male institution, Haverford began admitting female transfer students in the 1970s and became fully co-ed in 1980. Currently, more than half of Haverford’s students are women. For most of the 20th century, Haverford’s total enrollment was kept below 300, but the school went through two periods of expansion after the 1970s, and its current enrollment is 1,190 students. -Wikipedia.org

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6. Harvard University
Massachusetts: $53,950

The university comprises eleven separate academic units — ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study — with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area. Harvard’s 210-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3.4 miles (5.5 km) northwest of downtown Boston. The business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in Allston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are located in the Longwood Medical Area.

As of 2010, Harvard employs about 2,100 faculty to teach and advise approximately 6,700 undergraduates (Harvard College) and 14,500 graduate and professional students. Eight U.S. presidents have been graduates, and 75 Nobel Laureates have been student, faculty, or staff affiliates. Harvard is also the alma mater of sixty-two living billionaires, the most in the country. The Harvard University Library is the largest academic library in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. -Wikipedia.org

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5. Stanford University
California: $55,918

Leland Stanford, a Californian railroad tycoon and politician, founded the university in 1891 in honor of his son, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died of typhoid two months before his 16th birthday. The university was established as a coeducational and nondenominational institution, but struggled financially after the senior Stanford’s 1893 death and after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, Provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would become known as Silicon Valley.

By 1970, Stanford was home to a linear accelerator, was one of the original four ARPANET nodes, and had transformed itself into a major research university in computer science, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences. More than 50 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize and Stanford has the largest number of Turing award winners for a single institution. Stanford faculty and alumni have founded many prominent technology companies including Cisco Systems, Google, Hewlett-Packard, LinkedIn, Netscape Communications, Rambus, Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, Varian Associates, and Yahoo!. -Wikipedia.org

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4. Amherst College
Massachusetts: $54,322

Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. Amherst is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled 1,744 students in the fall of 2009. Students choose courses from 35 major programs in an unusually open curriculum. Founded in 1821 as an attempt to relocate Williams College by its President Zephaniah Swift Moore, Amherst is the third oldest institution of higher education in Massachusetts. Amherst remained a men’s college until becoming coeducational in 1975. Amherst has historically had close relationships and rivalries with Williams College and Wesleyan University which form the Little Three colleges. It is also a member of the Five College Consortium. -Wikipedia.org

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3. United States Military Academy
New York

Most graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. Foreign cadets are commissioned into the armies of their home countries. Since 1959, cadets have also been eligible to “cross-commission,” or request a commission in one of the other armed services, provided they meet that service’s eligibility standards. Every year, a small number of cadets do this, usually in a one-for-one “trade” with a similarly inclined cadet or midshipman at one of the other service academies.

Because of the academy’s age and unique mission, its traditions influenced other institutions. It was the first American college to have class rings, and its technical curriculum was a model for later engineering schools. West Point’s student body has a unique rank structure and lexicon. All cadets reside on campus and dine together en masse on weekdays for breakfast and lunch. The academy fields fifteen men’s and nine women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports teams while every student competes in at least one sport, either at intramural or intercollegiate level, each semester. Its football team was a national power in the early and mid-20th century, winning three national championships. Its alumni and students are collectively referred to as “The Long Gray Line” and its ranks include two Presidents of the United States, numerous famous generals, and seventy-four Medal of Honor recipients. -Wikipedia.org

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2. Princeton University
New Jersey: $52,715

Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, as the College of New Jersey, the university moved to Newark in 1747, then to Princeton in 1756 and was renamed Princeton University in 1896. (The present-day College of New Jersey in nearby Ewing, New Jersey, is an unrelated institution.) Princeton was the fourth institution of higher education in the U.S. to conduct classes. While it once had close ties to the Presbyterian Church, it has never been affiliated with any denomination and today imposes no religious requirements on its students. The university has ties with the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Princeton has been associated with 35 Nobel Laureates, 17 National Medal of Science winners, and three National Humanities Medal winners. On a per-student basis, Princeton has the largest university endowment in the world. -Wikipedia.org

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1. Williams College
Massachusetts: $54,921

Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams. Originally a men’s college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Fraternities were also phased out during this period, beginning in 1962. Williams forms part of the historic Little Three colleges, along with Wesleyan University and rival Amherst College.

There are three academic curricular divisions (humanities, sciences and social sciences), 24 departments, 33 majors, and two master’s degree programs in art history and development economics. There are 315 voting faculty members, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. As of 2009, the school has an enrollment of 2,124 undergraduate students and 49 graduate students. The academic year follows a 4-1-4 schedule of two four-course semesters plus a one-course “winter study” term in January. A summer research schedule involves about 200 students on campus completing projects with professors. -Wikipedia.org

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