What Are the Top 10 Universities in the Country (And How to Get Accepted)

October 2, 2021
By AdmissionSight

What Are the Top 10 Universities in the Country (And How to Get Accepted)

Parents and students want to attend the best universities possible. After all, there is a direct connection between the education you receive in the career opportunities you have in the future. So, the question becomes which universities and colleges offer the best education possible? While many people look to the ivy league, there is another group of highly esteemed universities offering valuable educational opportunities. This group is the Top 10 Universities in the country.

Four students walking down the hallway with their backs facing the camera

Unlike the Ivy League which is a set group of schools, the Top 10 Universities fluctuate each and every year. However, this group still offers students and parents a quick list of some of the best academic offerings in the entire country. If you’re looking for unrivaled educational opportunities, this is an excellent list to consult.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the Top 10  Universities in the country and how you can improve your chances of getting into these esteemed schools. You won’t want to miss out on this!

What’s the difference between the Top 10 Universities and the Ivy League?

When discussing some of the best universities in the country, you’ll often hear people talking about the Ivy League and Top 10 universities. Both groups are composed of leading institutes of higher learning with excellent reputations. But how do these groups differ? Well, first and foremost, the Ivy League is a fixed group of eight highly prestigious schools all of which are located in the upper northwest of the US. The Ivy League actually started out as a sports conference but the academic prowess of these institutions quickly overshadowed their sports offerings. Here are the eight Ivy League schools:

  • Cornell University
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Yale University
  • Harvard University
  • University  of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
  • Princeton University
  • Dartmouth College

On the other hand, the Top 10 Universities are an ever-changing list of the best schools of higher learning in the country. There are many magazines, newspapers, and other publications that compile these lists judging colleges on any number of metrics. However, U.S.  News & World Report is recognized as the gold standard of rankings. Every year, this reputable publication creates a list of the Top 10 National Universities in the U.S.

The methodology behind the curation of this list takes a wide variety of relevant factors into account. It’s based on in-depth data collected by the publication, surveys of administrators and staff members, and other important pieces of information. Although there are countless “top 10” lists available, we’re going to focus our attention on the most reputable and well-researched list from U.S. News & World Report.

What are the top 10 universities in the country?

Princeton University

Location: Princeton, NJ

Tuition & Fees: $53,890

Enrollment: 5,422 students

Tucked away in the tiny town of Princeton, New Jersey, this prestigious university is often considered one of the most prestigious of the Ivy League schools due to its academic rigor, world-class faculty, and research opportunities. It was actually the first university to provide students with a “no-loan” policy which offers grants in place of loans to eligible students who need a hand covering tuition.

Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, MA

Tuition & Fees: $54,002

Enrollment: 6,755 students

As the oldest institution of higher learning in the country, Harvard has maintained an impressive track record of world-class academic offerings and top-tier faculty. It boasts the largest endowment in the country too, which means more money is spent per student at Harvard than at any other university. This means more value and opportunities for Harvard students.

Columbia University

Location: New York, NY

Tuition & Fees: $64,380

Enrollment: 6,245 students

Columbia University is well-known for it’s three highly esteemed undergraduate schools: the School of General Studies, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Columbia College. Many students love the well-connected Columbia campus which is situated in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights in New York City.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: Cambridge, MA

Tuition & Fees: $53,818

Enrollment: 4,530 students

As the top-rated non-Ivy League school on this list, MIT has earned a reputation as one of the leading schools for science, math, and engineering. It offers world-leading research opportunities for students and features industry-leading scientists and researchers as instructors. Beyond STEM fields, MIT also offers excellent social science and humanities programs.

Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT

Tuition & Fees: $57,700

Enrollment: 6,092 students

Yale University is a preeminent school with a long tradition of offering leading educational offerings. With roots that date back to the early 1700s, there’s no question about the academic value Yale can provide. Its students are split into 14 residential colleges designed to create a collaborative, supportive, and encouraging atmosphere where students can grow academically and personally. The student culture at Yale is well-known for championing intellectual development and curiosity.

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, CA

Tuition & Fees: $56,169

Enrollment: 6,996 students

Stanford University proves that not all of the country’s best schools are located in the north west. It’s located 30 miles from San Francisco. This private institution places an emphasis on multidisciplinary education with stress placed on learning, teaching, and research. Stanford encourages students to get active in research projects.

University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

Tuition & Fees;  $59,298

Enrollment: 6,734 students

Located in Chicago’s Hyde Park, the University of Chicago is the quintessential big-city school with a premier location in the biggest city in the midwest. This university is well-known for its commitment to rigorous and open academic inquiry.

The school encourages students to seek out new ideas and solutions while engaging in lively debate. The University of Chicago seeks to create engaged, intelligent, and passionate graduates.

University of Pennsylvania

Location; Philadelphia, PA

Tuition & Fees:  $60,042

Enrollment: 10,019 students

The University of Pennsylvania, more commonly known as UPenn, is another Ivy League school that makes the list for the Top 10 Universities in the country. This school has one of the most famous founders out of nearly any other college in the US. Benjamin Franklin started UPenn and the tradition of academic rigor and open inquiry have carried on. Students can choose from four different schools to receive their undergraduate degrees: Engineering, Nursing, Arts and Sciences, Applied Sciences, and the Wharton School of Business.

California Institute of Technology

Location: Pasadena, CA

Tuition & Fees: $56,862

Enrollment: 938 students

Located in Pasadena, California, the California Institute of Technology is yet another example of a world-class university not located in the northeast. This school places a heavy emphasis on engineering and science education and is known for producing some leading scientists. What makes the California Institute of Technology unique is its low student-to-faculty ratio which hovers around 3:1. This makes for a more intimate and personalized learning environment.

Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, MD

Tuition & Fees: $57,010

Enrollment: 6,256 students

Johns Hopkins university is located in Baltimore, Maryland. This private institution offers a diverse array of educational programs in the social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, engineering, and arts. Johns Hopkins is well known for its academic rigor and intellectually curious student body. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people.

How to get into the top 10 universities

Take challenging courses.

Although these colleges take a comprehensive approach when considering applicants, academics are still at the core of these prestigious universities. As a result, it’s imperative that applicants take challenging courses throughout high school.

A professor giving lecture in front of the class

It’s important to keep in mind that challenging is relative in this context. Colleges will compare your performance with your capabilities, not with other applicants. So, it’s a matter of finding courses that will push you while still being doable.

We highly recommend Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors courses. These courses show admissions officers that you’re always looking to push yourself and improve.

Participate in summer programs.

tend to last for a few weeks and are hosted on campuses. They’re designed to give students some real-world experience in the field of their choice. While helping participants further hone their skills.

Summer programs not only demonstrate your willingness to work hard, but they also show admissions officers that you’re confident about what you want to study. Colleges aren’t just interested in what you’re doing during the school year.

Students talking in the library while sitting across each other.

In fact, one of the most effective ways to stand out from the crowd of applicants is to put work in during the summer. Fortunately, many universities and organizations throughout the country offer summer programs. These events and activities

Prepare for your college interview.

Most of the Top 10 Universities, like the vast majority of colleges in the country, require applicants to attend an interview. Unlike a job interview where the conversation is one-sided, these college interviews are designed to flow both ways.

In other words, you and the school representative should get something from the discussion. In fact, showing you’re engaged will end up making a good impression on the school representative.

A smiling man looking at his laptop

Preparing beforehand is crucial for ensuring everything goes smoothly. You should practice answering commonly asked questions, research your school of choice, have a series of questions to ask, and learn how to behave during the interview.

Nail your college essays.

When applying to college, you’ll have to answer a series of essay prompts. Although many of these essays are shorter in length, they’re still an incredibly important component of the application.

If you’re able to write strong essay responses, you can drastically increase your chances of getting into one of these top universities. When answering college prompt essays, it’s important to reveal things about yourself to help admissions officers get to know you better.

Not only is this an effective way of standing out, but it’s also the purpose behind these essays. Admissions officers can’t get enough information about you from other parts of your application. That’s why you should be open, honest, and expressive in your essays.

Excel in extracurriculars.

As we mentioned before, most colleges take a holistic approach when reviewing applications. As a result, it’s not enough to perform well academically. Admissions officers are looking for well-rounded students who also excel in extracurriculars.

However, you don’t want to end up participating in several out-of-school activities. Not only does this spread your time and energy thin, but it also looks poor on your application. Instead, you should choose one or, at the most, two extracurriculars that you participate in throughout high school.

Different sports equipment on the grass

This allows you to develop your skills in a particular area while also demonstrating to admissions officers that you were committed, passionate, and successful. If you’re not sure which extracurriculars you would enjoy, you can spend your freshman year trying out many different activities to help you find what best suits your interests.

Work with an expert.

One of the most effective ways to increase your chances of getting into a Top 10 University is to work with a college admissions expert. Too many high schoolers rely on poor information found online or offered by non-professionals.

At AdmissionsSight, we specialize in helping high schoolers better understand and master the college applications process. You’ll have all of your questions answered, and you’ll save valuable time by not wasting time on research.

Is it worth attending the Top 10 Universities?

Attending one of the Top 10 Universities in the country is no walk in the park. While it is possible to get accepted into the schools, it requires a great deal of effort, time, and energy. Even after you’re accepted, it still requires a considerable financial investment.

With all of these requirements, many students wonder if it’s even worth attending one of the Top 10 Universities. With over a decade of experience getting a better understanding of countless colleges and universities throughout the country, we can confidently say that it is worthwhile to attend these universities. Here are just a few reasons why we would encourage high school students to apply to and attend these schools.

Better academic offerings.

It’s no secret that these schools offer some of the best academic opportunities in the country. This means better teachers, more resources, many research opportunities, and a variety of other factors that all go into improving your academic experience. You won’t find some of these offerings at any other schools. With large endowments, many of these universities spend a considerable amount of money per student than other schools.

Improved professional opportunities.

Colleges are designed to prepare you for the real world, and these Top 10 Universities put you at a major advantage over counterparts who graduated from second-tier schools. You’ll graduate with more skills and experience in your fields of interest. Plus, simply having a degree from one of these esteemed schools is enough to get you considered by many companies.

Higher earnings after graduation.

Income is directly linked to job prospects. And your job prospects are directly linked to your level and quality of education. Those who attend these esteemed universities are placed in a better financial position in the future. In fact,  graduates of Top 10 Universities tend to earn more than other students who graduated from second-tier universities. This alone makes the higher cost of these esteemed universities much easier to understand.

Increase your chances of getting into the Top 10 Universities!

Whether you’re looking for renowned degree programs, top-tier faculty, and instructors, world-class campuses, or all three, the Top 10 universities are excellent places to look. Given the prestige of these schools, it’s easy to feel confused, uncertain, and even a bit nervous at the beginning of the admissions process.

After all, there’s a lot riding on your placement opportunities. But what if you were told there was a way you could drastically increase your chances of getting into one of these amazing schools? You might not believe it, but it’s true!

Working with a college admissions expert like AdmissionSight can put you in the best position to attend your dream university. We’ve already helped hundreds of students nail the admissions process to secure a spot in their number one school. In fact, 75% of the students we work with either get accepted into a Top 10 University or Ivy League school. We offer a wide range of services designed to help your application stand out from the crowd.

If you’re ready to lock in your future school, contact AdmissionSight to learn more about what we can offer you.



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