Americas Top 50 Colleges According to Forbes (a Business Magazine That Your Parents Probably Read)

There is more than one way to give a grade. When Forbes comes up with their 50 Top American Colleges, like they have for the past seven years, you must understand that their opinion isn’t absolute.

If you pay attention you’ll see that the list starts with no scaling system to support their choices and that even in the description of the colleges, popular statistics such as Graduation Rates and Student Diversity aren’t mentioned (at least not consistatnly). Neither, as you’ll notice, are tuition rates.

Instead, Forbes does a great job of pointing out the cultural caviattes and the innovative educational successes that define these top schools—like how Swarthmore students gather to watch “The Graduate” the first day before Senior year, or how Steve Jobs went to Reed College where there is a “deemphasize on grades.”

Though their proclamations may be a little unscientific, every school on their list does offer a truly one of a kind student experience, and many of these schools actually fly under the radar when it comes to lists like these.

So here it is, in a truly opinionated but useful and interesting blog post fashion, Forbes’ list of 50 Schools That Aren’t Cheap But Do Offer an Amazing Student Experience and a Beautiful Campus.

#50. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

#49. Smith College – Northampton, Massachusetts

#48. Lafayette College – Easton, Pennsylvania

#47. Whitman College – Walla Walla, Washington

#46. Reed College – Portland, Oregon

#45. University of Michigan, Anne arbor – Ann Arbor, Michigan

#44. University of California, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California

#43. Oberlin College – Oberlin, Ohio

#42. Kenyon College – Gambier, Ohio

#41. College of William and Mary – Williamsburg, Virginia

#40. University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia

#39. Colby College – Waterville, Maine #38. Colgate University – Haimlton, New York

#37. University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, California

#36. Boston College – Chestnut, Massachusetts

#35. Barnard College – New York, New York

#34. United States Air Force Academy – Colorado

#33. Washington and Lee University – Lexington, Virginia

#32. Rice University – Houston, Texas

#31. Cornell University – Ithaca, New York

#30. Middlebury College – Middlebury, Vermont

#29. Wellesley College – Wellesley, Massachusetts

#28. Georgetown University – Washington, DC

#27. United States Naval Academy – Annapolis, Maryland

#26. Vassar College – Poughkeepsie, New York

#25. Tufts University – Medford, Massachusetts

#24. University of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois

#23. Duke University – Durham, North Carolina

#22. Davidson College – Davidson, North Carolina

#21. California Institute of Technology – Pasadena, California

#20. Columbia University – New York, New York

#19. Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois

#18. Dartmouth College – Hanover, New Hampshire

#17. University of Notre Dame – South Bend, Indiana

#16. Carleton College – Northfield, Minnesota

#15. Wesleyan University – Middletown, Connecticut

#14. Bowdoin College – Brunswick, Maine

#13. Brown University – Providence, Rhode Island

#12. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

#11. Haverford College – Haverford, Pennsylvania

#10. Amherst College – Amherst, Massachusetts

#9. United States Military Academy – West Point, New York

#8. Pomona College – Claremont, California

#7. Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts

#6. Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut

#5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, Massachusetts

#4. Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey

#3. Swarthmore College – Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

#2. Stanford University – Stanford, California

#1. Williams College – Williamstown, Massachusetts

College Advice College Search

A party school is usually a party school because it’s big and has a lot of money. Solo-cups aside there are a lot of good reasons to go to a big school with a lot of money. 

These schools tend to have good sports teams, good housing, good food, beautiful campuses, great teachers, tons of school pride and a lot of chances to make long lasting professional connections. And a plethora of good friends too, of course.

You know what’s more important than knowing the school you’re applying to? Knowing yourself. Because the reality is, you don't need to have heard of the school for it to be a good fit. The best boyfriends or girlfriends aren’t always the popular ones. They're just the ones you haven't gotten to know yet. 

There is more than one way to give a grade. When Forbes comes up with their 50 Top American Colleges, like they have for the past seven years, you must understand that their opinion isn’t absolute.

If you pay attention you’ll see that the list starts with no scaling system to support their choices and that even in the description of the colleges, popular statistics such as Graduation Rates and Student Diversity aren’t mentioned (at least not consistatnly). Neither, as you’ll notice, are tuition rates.

Okay, here’s my intro for the day—Free Stuff. Do I have your attention? Do I?

What kind of free stuff? Free summer stuff! Because everyone knows that the only way to close out a Summer is to drape yourself in an oversized sunhat and sip Starbucks Ice Tea until you levitate.

Every day between now and July 31st at 5 p.m. you can enter the Starbucks Brew Your Own Summer contest to win prizes from three different Summer Survival Kits: Summer Entertaining, Summer Fun, and Summer Style.

There are several things that change instantly from high school to college, like a caterpillar to a winged fairy insect. One of those things is that people stop judging you for taking school seriously. No one is a nerd in college. No one is a suck up in college. No one has to be told to stop messing around during class, because nobody ever is messing around during class.

Any good writer (or any writer trying to get a good grade) will know that the researching process makes or breaks a paper. You chop through an Amazon of online readings, collecting and jotting down game changing facts, stats and quotes in order to support your awesome ideas and tug at your teachers rubric heart strings.

The nightmarish ending to this journey is one we all know. 

Freshmen make mistakes. Lots of them. But other people's experiences can help you avoid a few. 

Ask an upperclassman or college graduate what words they associate with “freshman” and we guarantee you that “clueless” shows up near the top of the list. It’s not the freshman’s fault. For the most part, going to college is a totally new experience. And having new experiences means making a whole bunch of new mistakes.

The year was 1776 and the American colonists were too busy fighting a war against the imperialist nation of England to be going to college. There was no American History gen-ed at the time—they had to make it first. 

Every summer break from college I made sure to go to at least one music festival. This time last year I was driving up to Michigan to the Electric Forest Festival where egos disappear and people are quite truly transformed.

Traveling to a festival and camping on the grounds is a part of the experience, but it's also kind of the worst part of the experience. But what if you lived close enough to be able to go home each night or head home during the show to shower and refresh? Would be pretty nice right? 

We think it would. And we think attending some of these schools that are mere miles from some of the most popular festival stages in the country, would make a lot of sense for someone into that scene. 

As an intern you’re not expected to do great things. You’re overlooked, slightly taken advantage of, and quickly forget. You may not even have a last name—just [insert first name] The Intern.

But the secret is—they need you. They need you and they want you there, and there’s a lot of room to be great.

So how do you do it, you ask?

Future anthropologists will mine the internet and find countless seconds of audio files called podcasts. They will add up to be much longer than a person's lifetime. These anthropologists will wonder why we burdened ourselves with so much information and how we consumed thought provoking content so consistently while working, studying and or socializing throughout the day.

Like a spoiled kid on his birthday, when you're inundated with so many toys you realize you don't have the time to play with them all, despite how entertaining and enlightening they may be.

Having something you wrote with your name attached to it on a website that you didn’t create is resume gold.

Guest blogging shows initiative, skill, and business cunning. And although it seems like everyone’s doing it, trust me, it’ll still make you stand out.

The easiest thing for college students to write about is, of course, college. Using smart phone apps in college, going to parties in college, going on spring break in college. Just look at the advice pieces written by Academbot’s recent college grads.

Making a class schedule is like a digital jigsaw puzzle.

One class lets you sleep till 11 p.m.—another follows that class directly after and at the same spot on campus—but another has a better teacher and ends earlier while another is being taken by your suitemate. As far as puzzles go this one’s pretty fun. It’s a power trip in which you’re constantly treating yourself with better classes at more flexible times. But for a first timer, it can be troubling putting so much trust into yourself and the machine.

1. Elizabeth Banks- Hi my name is Elizabeth and I'm a Communications major at the University of Pennsylvania.

2. Rachel McAdams- Hi my name is Rachel and I'm getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University.

3. Brad Pitt- Hi my name is Brad and I'm a journalism major with a focus in adveritsing at the University of Missouri.

4. Debra Messing- Hi my name is Brenda and I study theater arts at Brandies University.

Pages