30 Most Influential Universities | BestCollegeReviews (2023)

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Are you ready to discover your college program? World Changing Colleges and Universities 30. California Institute of the Arts – Los Angeles County, California, USA 29. Georgetown University – Georgetown, Washington, D.C., USA 28. Brown University – Providence, Rhode Island, USA 27. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 26. University of Tokyo – Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan Featured Online Schools 25. Bauhaus – Weimar/Dessau/Berlin, Germany 24. Darthmouth College - Hanover, New Hampshire 23. University of Toronto – Toronto, Ontario, Canada 22. Duke University – Durham, North Carolina, USA 21. New York University – New York City, New York, USA 20. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 19. Imperial College London – London, England, U.K. 18. University of Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K. 17. University of Paris – Paris, France 16. King’s College London – London, England, U.K. 15. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland, USA 14. University College London – London, England, U.K. 13. California Institute of Technology – Pasadena, California, USA 12. Cornell University – Ithaca, New York, USA 11. Columbia University – Manhattan, New York, USA 10. ETH Zürich – Zürich, Switzerland 9. Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey, USA 8. University of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois, USA 7. Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut, USA 6. Stanford University – Stanford, California, USA 5. University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, California, USA 4. University of Cambridge – Cambridge, England, U.K. 3. University of Oxford – Oxford, England, U.K. 2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA 1. Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA More Best College Reviews Resources FAQs Videos

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Updated October 12, 2022

The University of Chicago, or UChicago, was founded in 1890. Every year since 2004 it has made the top ten on the Academic Ranking of World

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World Changing Colleges and Universities

Universities provide fertile ground for world-changing research, ideas and future leaders. It stands to reason that the best schools attract the greatest thinkers and trailblazers, and ranking lists are published annually to help prospective students select the top colleges for their needs.

Certain universities are known for their contributions to technical fields within science and engineering, some specialize in business or law, and others take a more diverse approach, offering a range of programs and degrees. Running the gamut, we look at the 30 most influential universities of the past 100 years.

30. California Institute of the Arts – Los Angeles County, California, USA

Founded in 1961, the California Institute of the Arts – or CalArts – located in Valencia, Los Angeles County, was the brainchild of Walt Disney. Disney envisioned a collaborative, interdisciplinary school of the arts where students would become members of a dynamic creative milieu – and be taught by industry professionals. Today, the school offers programs in art, critical studies, dance, film, music and theater. Influential alumni include Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter, cult director and former Disney animator Tim Burton, Academy Award-winning Pixar animator and director Brad Bird, Academy Award-winning animator, director and Pixar employee Mark Andrews, and a host of other high-profile creatives.

29. Georgetown University – Georgetown, Washington, D.C., USA

Georgetown University’s list of influential alumni includes former U.S. president Bill Clinton, prominent former director of the CIA and current Georgetown distinguished professor George Tenet, European Commission president and former Portuguese prime minister José Manuel Barroso, Toys “R” Us International founder Joseph R. Baczko, The Blackstone Group’s CFO Laurence A. Tosi, and BBC Worldwide America’s COO Ann Sarnoff. The university was established in 1789 in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. and is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of its kind in America. Georgetown’s campus is well known for the iconic Healy Hall, which is a National Historic Landmark building and was featured in legendary 1973 horror movie The Exorcist. The school is also famous for its highly rated law school, and its top subjects are law and legal studies and politics.

28. Brown University – Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Established in 1764, Rhode Island’s Brown University – located in Providence since 1770 – prides itself on its “rigorous multidisciplinary study,” its “diversity” and its “intellectual freedom.” And even though its origins are tied up with the Baptist church, Brown is said to be the earliest U.S. college to have begun enrolling students from any religion. High-profile past students include former PepsiCo president, ex-Apple CEO and millionaire Silicon Valley executive John Sculley, Bank of America CEO and president Brian Moynihan, Facebook CFO David Ebersman, CNN founder Ted Turner, spellcheck inventor John Seely Brown, and International AIDS Vaccine Initiative founder Seth Berkley. Celebrated financier John D. Rockefeller, Jr. also studied at Brown, earning a B.A. in 1897. In 2013 U.S. News & World Report ranked Brown as the 14th best university in the country.

27. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

The University of Michigan was set up in Detroit in 1817, roughly two decades prior to the Michigan Territory being recognized as an official state. In 1821 the school’s name was changed to the University of Michigan, and in 1837 it moved to its current site in Ann Arbor. Michigan is well known for its contributions to research, and graduate students are able to complete doctorates in diverse areas within the social sciences and humanities as well as science, math, technology and engineering. So far, Michigan has produced 20 billionaires – and notable former students include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, Google co-founder Larry Page, Domino’s Pizza founder Tom S. Monaghan, Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell, Boeing co-founder Edgar N. Gott, General Motors co-founder Frederic L. Smith, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster.

26. University of Tokyo – Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan

University of Tokyo, or Todai, is the top college in Asia and the 21st best-rated school globally. Todai was founded in 1877 and is situated in Tokyo’s Bunkyō ward. To date, it has produced 15 Japanese prime ministers, seven Nobel Prize-winning alumni, and a number of highly influential architects – including Kenzō Tange, who has been described as “one of the most significant architects of the 20th century.” Todai says that its “researchers have been at the forefront of their fields” since the university was established, and it’s not an unreasonable claim. The school’s highest rated subjects are civil and structural engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, politics, and chemistry.

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25. Bauhaus – Weimar/Dessau/Berlin, Germany

Although it was short-lived, Germany’s Bauhaus school has had a deep and long-lasting impact on modern design and architecture. Walter Gropius, described as “one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture,” established the school in Weimar in 1919. Under mounting political pressure, Bauhaus closed and relocated to Dessau in 1925. Gropius then gave notice in 1928 and was replaced by Swiss architect Hannes Meyer. However, Meyer was fired two years later, and pioneering modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe took over – until the Nazis closed down the “un-German” school in 1931. In 1932 Mies set up a third Bauhaus school in Berlin, but this was shut down by the Gestapo in 1933. Gropius, along with brilliant Bauhaus student Marcel Breuer, left Germany and ended up teaching at Harvard. Meanwhile, Mies van der Rohe became head of architecture at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology. The ideas developed at Bauhaus have gone on to influence graphic design, furniture design, and much more.

24. Darthmouth College - Hanover, New Hampshire

Dartmouth College was founded in 1769 and is situated in Hanover, New Hampshire. In September 2013 U.S. News & World Report magazine published its list of the top U.S. universities for 2014, and Dartmouth ranked tenth. Dartmouth’s engineering, medical, liberal arts and business programs are its cornerstones; in fact, the institution’s Tuck School of Business is one of the most highly rated business schools in the world. Notable former students of Dartmouth College include game inventors’ hall of famer and Twister inventor Reyn Guyer, eBay CEO John Donahoe, and former New York Times Company CEO Janet L. Robinson. The college also counts Nobel Prize-winning scientists Owen Chamberlain, Karl Sharpless and George Davis Snell among its alumni. Dartmouth prides itself on its cutting-edge research, and through the school’s “D-Plan,” students are able to customize their annual academic schedules.

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23. University of Toronto – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In 2013 the University of Toronto’s – or U of T’s – Inventors of the Year honors included the creators of a 3D “bio-printer” that yields skin-like dressings for injuries. Amazing, yes, but less surprising given U of T’s history of innovation and invention. In 1921 – almost a century after the university’s establishment in 1827 – lecturer Frederick Banting, medical student Charles Best and professor J. J. R. Macleod isolated and discovered insulin, for which Macleod and Banting were awarded a Nobel Prize. In 1938 the university’s physics faculty constructed the first serviceable electron microscope; and in 1963 researchers at the school discovered stem cells. Other U of T advancements were the first nerve transplant, the earliest successful single- and double-lung transplants, and the discovery of the T-cell receptor. And previous students include Nobel Peace Prize-winning former Canadian prime minister and U of T history professor Lester B. Pearson, current Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, and former president of Doctors Without Borders and Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist James Orbinksi.

22. Duke University – Durham, North Carolina, USA

In 1838 Duke University was founded in Trinity, North Carolina, although it switched location to Durham, NC some 54 years later. Today, it is firmly established as a school of high standing. In 2012 Forbes listed the university on its 2012 “Power Factories” college list, and Duke’s undergraduate program was rated seventh in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 National University Rankings. Over the years, 25 former students have been awarded the illustrious Winston Churchill Scholarship to Cambridge University – the third-highest number of recipients in the country. High-profile graduates include Nobel Prize-winning physicists Robert Coleman Richardson and Charles Townes, General Motors North America president Mark Reuss, Microsoft’s first woman CFO Amy Hood, Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams, Coca-Cola’s president and general manager of sparkling beverages Katie J. Bayne, and Facebook designer Soleio Cuervo, who came up with the social networking site’s game-changing “Like” button.

21. New York University – New York City, New York, USA

Established in New York City in 1831, New York University, or NYU, has gone on to become one of America’s biggest private schools. NYU is well regarded for law and business – indeed, the university’s Stern School of Business is among the world’s most esteemed and oldest business schools. In 2012 U.S. News & World Report rated Stern’s undergraduate program as America’s fifth best, and a great deal of Stern graduates progress to corporate positions in major centers of finance such as Wall Street. Notable NYU former students include Twitter co-creator Jack Dorsey, NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld, Lockheed Martin executive chairman Robert J. Stevens, Viacom chief operating officer Thomas E. Dooley, Xerox CEO and chairman Ursula Burns, real estate mogul and World Trade Center site owner Larry Silverstein, and investor Thor Björgólfsson, the first Icelandic billionaire. In addition, the university is associated with 19 Pulitzer Prize winners.

20. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

The University of Pennsylvania, or Penn, was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740; then a few years later Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of making it the academic institution it would become. Innovations pioneered at Penn include America’s earliest medical school, the Perelman School of Medicine, established in 1765; the first American student union center, Houston Hall, set up in 1896; and the earliest American business school, the Wharton School, founded in 1881. Wharton is today still regarded as being among the leading business schools in the world, and its undergraduate course has been rated as America’s best by U.S. News & World Report since the magazine began ranking colleges in 1983. Between 2000 and 2009 – and in 2011 – the Financial Times classed Wharton’s MBA course as the best worldwide. Highly influential graduates in different fields include acclaimed linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky and billionaire entrepreneur Donald Trump.

19. Imperial College London – London, England, U.K.

Established in 1907, Imperial College London is a now completely independent London university acknowledged as one of the world’s top institutions of higher education. In 2013 it was placed at fifth by the QS World University Rankings and tenth by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Imperial College London is well known for its biomedical research and emphasis on engineering, science and business. What’s more, according to a 2012 survey by The New York Times, it ranks ninth in the world in terms of graduate employability. Notable alumni include Nobel Prize-winning pharmacologist and discoverer of penicillin Alexander Fleming, Nobel Prize-winning chemists Derek Barton and Geoffrey Wilkinson – both of whom also worked there – and Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May.

18. University of Edinburgh – Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K.

Founded back in 1583, the University of Edinburgh helped establish the Scottish capital as the so-called “Athens of the North” while the Enlightenment was taking place. Yet the school has kept up with the times, and in 2013 it was placed at 17th on the QS World University Rankings. What’s more, according to 2013’s Global Employability University Ranking, the school’s graduates are the 15th most popular with employers globally. More recent graduates who have achieved positions of leadership include former British prime minister Gordon Brown and Syria’s current – and first female – vice president Najah al-Attar. Interestingly, in 1996 staff at the University of Edinburgh created Dolly the sheep – the world’s first cloned mammal – which could have exciting implications for safeguarding the populations of endangered animals. Elsewhere, the school is notably associated with the “strong programme” school of sociological thought, which has had a huge impact on the field of science, technology and society.

17. University of Paris – Paris, France

The historic University of Paris – also known as the Sorbonne – was founded in the mid 12th century and was formally acknowledged sometime between 1160 and 1250. The university was suspended between 1793 and 1896, and then it eventually split into 13 independent schools in 1970. Still, despite its somewhat turbulent history, the University of Paris has produced a wealth of influential modern thinkers. High-profile former students and faculty members include philosophers Paul Ricœur and Jean-François Lyotard, double Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie, anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, literary theorist and critic Roland Barthes, and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Norman Mailer. The University of Paris has also produced leaders such as France’s former president François Mitterrand, Kosovo’s first president Ibrahim Rugova, Canada’s former prime minister John Napier Turner, and Tunisia’s first president Habib Bourguiba.

16. King’s College London – London, England, U.K.

King’s College London was founded in 1829 in England’s capital city. Recent influential graduates include Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist and former Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, and Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Michael Levitt. King’s College London School of Medicine is Europe’s biggest healthcare training facility and has a quartet of teaching hospitals. And generally the university places an emphasis on research and has played a vital part in the discovery of DNA’s structure and advancements that would result in radar, radio, television and cell phones. Since 2010, the university has focused on fields such as neuroscience and mental wellbeing, society and leadership, cancer research, and children’s health. In 2013 it placed at 19th on the QS World University Rankings list.

15. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland, USA

In 2013 the QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities placed Johns Hopkins University at 16th and 17th, respectively. The school was established in Baltimore, Maryland in 1876 and was named in honor of its benefactor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. Graduates of high standing include Nobel Peace Prize winner and former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, current New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Murray Kempton, Nobel Prize-winning chemist and current Johns Hopkins professor Peter Agre, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, and cult horror director Wes Craven. The university’s Johns Hopkins Hospital facility is historically responsible for introducing various hospital customs such as rounds and residents. Also, numerous specialties, among them neurosurgery, heart surgery and child psychiatry, were pioneered there.

14. University College London – London, England, U.K.

University College London, or UCL, was established in 1826, which makes it the University of London’s oldest constituent. It is also London’s first university and the earliest English school not to have discriminated against female students and those from diverse religious backgrounds. In 2013 UCL was placed fourth on the QS World University Rankings list, and it does particularly well in the arts and humanities, clinical and health studies, life sciences, and social sciences. The university’s alumni include highly influential historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Alexander Graham Bell, and Nobel Prize-winning scientist Francis Crick. The Sunday Times has dubbed UCL an “intellectual powerhouse.” And thanks to its position in the center of the British capital, it is set among a huge number of museums, archives, libraries and professional associations. The university is also exceptionally cosmopolitan, with almost two fifths of its attendees not hailing from the U.K.

13. California Institute of Technology – Pasadena, California, USA

The Academic Ranking of World Universities has listed the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, as the sixth best university in the world every year since 2004. Established in Pasadena, California in 1891, Caltech is predominantly focused on science and engineering – and in 2013 the school ranked fourth on the annual Times Higher Education Top 100 Universities for Engineering and Technology list. Famous graduates include astronauts Harrison Schmitt, C. Gordon Fullerton and Frank Borman, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore, and prominent AIDS researcher and TIME’s 1996 Man of the Year David Ho. Various Nobel Prize-winning scientists have served as faculty members at Caltech, and the institute also runs NASA’s La Cañada Flintridge-based Jet Propulsion Lab. Caltech has traditionally had a rivalry with fellow science and engineering-focused university the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

12. Cornell University – Ithaca, New York, USA

Since it was established in 1865, Ithaca, New York’s Cornell University has striven to be egalitarian, admitting students from all races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds. Cornell’s facilities include the first veterinary, hotel administration, and industrial and labor relations schools in the country. In terms of courses offered, it is considered the most diverse of America’s Ivy League institutions. In 2001 Cornell founded the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, which is the first U.S. medical college established outside of America. Cornell graduates include Nobel Prize-winning authors Pearl S. Buck and Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Barbara McClintock, iPod developer Jon Rubinstein, and Burger King co-founder James McLamore. Also, Henry Heimlich, who has doubtless saved many lives through inventing the Heimlich maneuver, earned his M.D. from Cornell. According to a 2013 QS Top Universities survey, the school’s highest-rated subject is agriculture and forestry.

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11. Columbia University – Manhattan, New York, USA

Originally known as King’s College, Columbia University was established in 1754 in Manhattan, New York. Powerful political figures who were former students include U.S. president Barack Obama, America’s first female secretary of state Madeleine Albright, and former U.S. presidents Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt. American businessman Warren Buffett, who has been described as “one of the most successful investors in history,” also studied at the university and was hugely inspired by professor Benjamin Graham. Columbia is associated with 101 Nobel Prize winners, an achievement that is only outdone by Harvard. In addition, it has produced 20 living billionaires, over two-dozen Oscar winners, and 29 heads of state. Renowned for its excellent arts and humanities and social sciences and management departments, the university is also identified with the “Columbia School of Linguistics,” which stresses a highly functional idea of language.

10. ETH Zürich – Zürich, Switzerland

Sometimes one revolutionary student can help put a university on the map. For ETH Zürich – which was founded in Zürich, Switzerland in 1855 – that student was epochal theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize-winner Albert Einstein. More recently, the school has made academic headlines thanks to the work of Swiss biophysicist and chemist Kurt Wüthrich, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2002. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the QS World University Rankings 2013, ETH Zürich is the top university in continental Europe. Also in 2013, it placed as the eighth best engineering and technology school in the world on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings list. ETH Zürich is also well known for its prestigious architecture faculty, and Harvard Graduate School of Design offers an ETH Zürich architectural exchange program.

9. Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey, USA

New Jersey’s Princeton – established in 1746 and located in the municipality that gives it its name since 1756 – is the fourth oldest American university. The school’s main academic focus is humanities along with social and natural sciences. However, by way of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Architecture, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the university also provides various professional degrees. High-profile contemporary former students include Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, Forbes CEO and president Steve Forbes, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, and acclaimed filmmaker Ethan Coen. With links to the prestigious Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton also has a strong tradition of religious scholarship. In 2013 the university’s press published what’s described as the first encyclopedia on its subject, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought.

8. University of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois, USA

The University of Chicago, or UChicago, was founded in 1890. Every year since 2004 it has made the top ten on the Academic Ranking of World Universities list, but its influence stretches back much farther. UChicago has contributed to a number of fields, notably economics, the economic analysis of law, sociology, literary criticism, and physics. It is also associated with the behavioralist approach to political science, which appeared in the 1920s and ‘30s. The “Chicago school of economics,” which is linked with the freshwater school of macroeconomic thought, is another highly influential intellectual tradition whose origins lie in the university. Led by figures such as Milton Friedman, UChicago economists have had a profound impact in law and political science as well as in economics and related areas. In addition, the institution boasts the largest American university press and is associated with an astonishing 89 Nobel laureates.

7. Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Connecticut’s Yale University – located in New Haven since 1716 – was founded in 1701 to teach clergy and train leaders for the territory. Well known graduates include author and journalist Tom Wolfe, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, and economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. The “Yale school” is the informal moniker given to a significant group of literary thinkers associated with the college from the late 1960s through to the early ‘80s who were inspired by the work of French philosopher of “deconstruction” Jacques Derrida. The Yale School comprised prominent academics like Paul de Man, Geoffrey Hartman and J. Hillis Miller. Yale also has a host of thespian alumni, among them Hollywood luminaries such as Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver and Jodie Foster.

6. Stanford University – Stanford, California, USA

Stanford University was established in 1891 in Stanford, California. In the 1940s and ‘50s, engineering professor Frederick Terman called upon students and staff to become entrepreneurs – and he clearly made a lasting impression. Silicon Valley exploded in the region, and high-profile business-minded alumni include Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Yahoo! co-founders David Filo and Jerry Yang, Hewlett-Packard co-founders William Hewlett and David Packard, Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, and Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, not to mention Gap co-founder Doris F. Fisher, and Nike co-founder and chairman Phil Knight. Other prominent graduates include the USA’s first woman in space, Sally Ride, the first female space shuttle commander, Eileen Collins, and famed geologist Thomas Dibblee.

5. University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, California, USA

Founded in 1868, the University of California, Berkeley has a long history of student activism, which can be traced back to the 1964 Free Speech Movement and the anti-Vietnam War protests of the same decade era. Yet UC Berkeley’s influence has been far more wide reaching. For one, it has made a huge contribution to science. Remarkably, the school’s Berkeley Lab has been linked to the discovery of 16 chemical elements – the most by any single university. And the college is also associated with an incredible 72 Nobel Prize winners. Notable graduates include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson, computer mouse inventor Douglas Engelbart – who also taught at the school after finishing his Ph.D. – and Nobel Prize winners Willis Lamb (physics), Thomas Schelling (economics) and Hamilton Smith (medicine). In 1900 UC Berkeley was one of the founders of the Association of American Universities.

4. University of Cambridge – Cambridge, England, U.K.

Established in 1209, Cambridge University is the third oldest university in the world still operating. Over the years, the school has been associated with an incredible 90 Nobel Prize winners, while high-profile graduates embrace everyone from television naturalist David Attenborough to acclaimed primatologist Jane Goodall. Cambridge has long since held a reputation for groundbreaking scientific achievement thanks to hugely influential historic alumni like Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Henry Cavendish and Charles Darwin. Yet the university also has a strong literary tradition, with former students including John Milton and Lord Byron as well as more recent names such as Salman Rushdie. Philosopher Bertrand Russell and economist John Maynard Keynes are two highly significant 20th century figures to have both graduated from and taught at the institution. In 2013 Cambridge placed third on the QS World University Rankings list.

3. University of Oxford – Oxford, England, U.K.

Evidence suggests that teaching at Oxford University can be dated back to around 1096. Some of the school’s more high-profile former students have been current British prime minister David Cameron, former British prime ministers Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking, inventor of the internet Tim Berners-Lee, astronomer Edwin Hubble, and writers Aldous Huxley, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and J. R. R. Tolkien – the latter of whom also taught at the school for over three decades – among many others. Oxford is made up of 38 constituent colleges and has excelled in various fields. Politics and religion are both prominent at the university; so far, 26 British prime ministers, 20 Archbishops of Canterbury and 12 saints have studied there. Other noteworthy areas of learning associated with the university include science, mathematics, literature, philosophy and economics. Oxford also offers the Clarendon Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship, two of the world’s preeminent graduate scholarships.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Since it opened in 1865, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, has become synonymous with advancements in the fields of engineering and physical science. Yet more recently the university has also become a center for economics, management, biology and linguistics. MIT’s prolific list of graduates includes astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin, former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Kofi Annan, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and award-winning and highly influential architect I. M. Pei. On top of that, world-renowned linguist, philosopher and cultural icon Noam Chomsky has lectured at MIT since 1955. And MIT’s computer science department has had a pivotal involvement in the areas of robotics, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer languages and cryptography. In 2013 MIT topped the annual QS World University Rankings list as the world’s number one school.

1. Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Harvard University was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636. And, its rich history aside, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, Harvard has been the number one college in the world since 2003. High-profile alumni include former U.S. presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, current United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, current U.S. president Barack Obama, and Goldman Sachs CEO and chairman Lloyd Blankfein. Two of the most prominent people to have attended but then left the school are Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg famously launched the now ubiquitous social networking site from his Harvard dorm room. Harvard’s law and business schools are world renowned, and more generally the institution is associated with the saltwater school of mainstream economic thought.

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Harvard University

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Niche takes steps to ensure data integrity, but rankings may be inaccurate if Niche is supplied with inaccurate data from schools, data sources such as the US Department of Education, or spam and automated 'bot' reviews.

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With a record-low admission rate of just 3.19% for the class of 2026, Harvard currently ranks as the most difficult school to get into.

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Niche is not as well-known as U.S. News or Forbes. Because its rankings are not as prestigious or referenced, they have much less of an impact on the reputations of different colleges. Additionally, because Niche uses many more factors in its rankings, it's likely to use criteria that don't matter to you in a college.

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1. Harvard University. Harvard University tops the list with its 5% acceptance rate. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ivy League university has earned a reputation for developing world leaders.

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Top 10 Hardest Universities to Get Into In The World
  • Stanford University.
  • Harvard University.
  • Columbia University.
  • London School Of Economics And Political Science.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Yale University.
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All university rankings are fairly reliable. However, three of them stand out, and these are QS Ranking, Times Higher Education and World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

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Arguably the most used and popular ranking site on the internet, U.S. News & World Report has been ranking colleges since 1983. They rank by four major categories: National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges, and also have some smaller rankings based off of popular majors.

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What Colleges Have the Lowest and Highest Acceptance Rates?
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 4%
  • Princeton University: 4%
  • Stanford University: 4%
  • Yale University: 5%
  • Brown University: 6%
  • Dartmouth College: 6%
  • Duke University: 6%
  • University of Chicago: 6%
Sep 2, 2022

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What's the easiest Ivy League school to get into? While all Ivy League schools have a low acceptance rate, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate among them. Cornell's acceptance rate is 11%, but try not to get too hung up on the numbers.

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College algebra is the most failed course with about half of all students not getting credit for the course with a grade of a D, F, incomplete, or withdrawing. The challenges of learning algebra aren't unique to college.

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Top 50 Law Schools
USNWR RankLaw SchoolMedian LSAT
1Yale Law School173
2Harvard Law School173
3Stanford Law School171
4Columbia University Law School171
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Stanford University

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Institut Le Rosey
Wikimedia | © OpenStreetMap
Cháteau du Rosey Rolle and Gstaad Switzerland
TypePrivate, international boarding school
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Based on the information provided above, you probably noticed that Cornell University has the highest acceptance rates out of all the Ivy League schools and can therefore be classified as the easiest Ivy league school to get into.

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Established in 1911 in southwestern Utah, Dixie State University features a 100% acceptance rate. The campus, which sits adjacent to the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, serves more than 11,000 students, about 60% of whom attend full time.

What GPA is required for Harvard? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.

Do employers care about university rankings? ›

Sometimes, employers may look at the university you attended. If the job you are applying for is highly competitive and there are too many applicants with the same grades and experience, the university ranking will be taken into consideration.

What University has the highest success rate? ›

RankSchoolGraduation Rate
1Harvard University98%
2Yale University97%
3University of Pennsylvania95%
4Johns Hopkins University94%
18 more rows

What is the #1 way to increase your chances for a scholarship? ›

Apply as early as possible

Everyone always waits until the last minute when applying for scholarships but take our advice and apply early. It gives you more time to prepare and get the application just right, you'll be less stressed and this way you won't miss any deadlines.

Who is most likely to get a scholarship? ›

Learners with a 3.5 or higher GPA (17%) are the most likely to receive private scholarships, followed by those with a GPA of 3.0 to 3.4 (13.1%), 2.5 to 2.9 (10.4%), 2.0 to 2.4 (8.3%), and less than 2.0 (7%) (Kantrowitz, 2019).

What is the hardest type of scholarship to get? ›

7 Hardest Scholarships to Get But Worth Every Penny
  • The Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • The Gates Millennium Scholars Program.
  • The Fulbright scholarship program.
  • Rhodes Scholarship.
  • Churchill Scholarship.
  • Princeton Scholarship.
  • Mitchell Scholarship.
  • Conclusion On The hardest scholarships to get.
Nov 29, 2022

What are Tier 3 universities in USA? ›

Admissions rates for these schools are generally below 35%. Tier 3 schools include: UT Austin College of Liberal Arts, Villanova, Northeastern, Brandeis, Case Western Reserve, Occidental, Washington and Lee, Babson College, Virginia Tech, UC San Diego, Lafayette College, UIUC, University of Florida, and DePauw.

What college is ranked at 1 on the worst colleges in the US list? ›

  • 1 DeVry University in Illinois.
  • 2 The University of Alaska Anchorage in Alaska.
  • 3 Western International University in Arizona.
  • 4 Philander Smith College in Arkansas.
  • 5 Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.
  • 6 Alabama State University in Alabama.
  • 7 Nazarene Bible College in Colorado.
  • 8 Mitchell College.

What is the most pristine college in the United States? ›

25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in the USA in 2023
  1. Berry College, Georgia. ...
  2. The University of Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana. ...
  3. University of San Diego, California. ...
  4. Rice University, Texas. ...
  5. University of Virginia, Virginia. ...
  6. Pepperdine University, California. ...
  7. College of William and Mary, Virginia. ...
  8. Duke University, North Carolina.
Nov 22, 2022

What is the lowest GPA you will accept? ›

Unofficially, 2.0 is the lowest GPA accepted into a standard college, so while there's a chance that college admission is possible, it's not likely at more than a few institutions.

What is the most unpopular college? ›

5 Least Popular Universities
SchoolStudents AcceptedYield
Hofstra University1180113.3%
Seton Hall University860213.2%
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey–Newark743012.3%
Drexel University2172910.8%
1 more row
Mar 25, 2016

What GPA will colleges not accept? ›

Typically, colleges will not accept a GPA below 2.0 to a four-year program, but there are options for students with a GPA lower than this to succeed in being accepted.

What is the cheapest Ivy? ›

Princeton is commonly regarded as the “cheapest Ivy” thanks to its extensive financial aid offerings. 62% of admitted students receive financial aid.

What is the hardest ivy? ›

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the US and consistently ranks #1 hardest Ivy League to get into. Founded in 1636, Harvard offers students a world-class education from some of the most brilliant professors in the world.

What is the lowest Ivy League? ›

What Are the Cheapest Ivy League Schools? The cheapest Ivy League schools include The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University.

What is the hardest class ever? ›

It shouldn't surprise you that organic chemistry takes the No. 1 spot as the hardest college course. This course is often referred to as the “pre-med killer” because it actually has caused many pre-med majors to switch their major.

What is the hardest year of college? ›

Some consider sophomore year to be the most difficult, just because it's a huge adjustment period for many students. While some students experience difficulties during their sophomore year, some experience a slump during a different year, and some don't experience a slump at all.

What is the hardest math class? ›

What is the Hardest Math Class in High School? In most cases, you'll find that AP Calculus BC or IB Math HL is the most difficult math course your school offers. Note that AP Calculus BC covers the material in AP Calculus AB but also continues the curriculum, addressing more challenging and advanced concepts.

What state has the hardest bar exam? ›

California is widely considered to have the hardest bar exam, due to its low pass rate and the difficulty of the content and constraints of the exam.

What is the most elite law school? ›

Here are the 2023 Best Law Schools
  • Yale University.
  • Stanford University.
  • University of Chicago.
  • Columbia University.
  • Harvard University.
  • University of Pennsylvania (Carey)
  • New York University.
  • University of Virginia.

Who runs niche? ›

Luke Skurman

How accurate are niche rankings? ›

Niche takes steps to ensure data integrity, but rankings may be inaccurate if Niche is supplied with inaccurate data from schools, data sources such as the US Department of Education, or spam and automated 'bot' reviews.

Who funds niche? ›

Who invested in Niche.com ? Niche.com has 7 investors including Salesforce Ventures and Tim Armstrong . How much funding has Niche.com raised to date? Niche.com has raised $44.3M .

What GPA is required for UCLA? ›

You must have a 3.0 GPA (3.4 for non-residents) or higher and no grades lower than a C in required high school courses. You can also substitute SAT subject tests for courses. If you don't meet the requirements, it is possible to gain admission with a high enough score on the ACT/SAT plus on two SAT subject tests.

Is USC or UCLA more prestigious? ›

According to U.S. News and World Report, UCLA and USC rank 20th and 25th in their list of best national universities, respectively.

What is California's easiest college? ›

The easiest colleges to get into in California include the Academy of Art University, California State University-Fresno, California Northstate University, Azusa Pacific University, Sonoma State University, California State University-Channel Island, and California State University-Monterey Bay.

Is Oxford better than Harvard? ›

The QS World University Rankings for 2022 have Oxford at second, Cambridge in joint third place and Harvard coming in at fifth. By contrast, the Times Higher Education Rankings puts Oxford in the first position, with Harvard in joint second and Cambridge in joint fifth.

Is Harvard #1 in the world? ›

A. Harvard University has been ranked as the best university in the world according to the latest U.S. News & World Report. It has been placed at the 1st position in the 2022-23 rankings. It has been listed at #1 out of 2,000 colleges and universities from 90 countries around the world.

What is the #1 university in the US? ›

Harvard University

This Ivy League school is the oldest higher education institution in the country and has the largest endowment of any school in the world.

What is the #1 rated university in the US? ›

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

#1 Best Colleges in America.

What GPA do I need for Oxford? ›

Entering Class of 2022:

Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.77. GPA Range: 3.4 - 4.0. Average MCAT Score: 514.

Is MIT better than Harvard? ›

Conclusion: Making Your MIT vs Harvard Decision

MIT and Harvard are equally prestigious universities based in Cambridge, a nearby city of Boston. While MIT focuses primarily on science, math, and technology, Harvard offers a broader variety of liberal arts and sciences programs.

Is it harder to get into Ivy League or Oxford? ›

The class of 2025 Ivy League admission rate average is 5.4 percent, which is around four times lower than Oxford's average acceptance rate of about 20 percent.

Can you get into Harvard with one A? ›

With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

Who is the most famous student at Harvard? ›

1. Conan O'Brien. Without a doubt one of the most famous Harvard alumni, Conan show host Conan O'Brien graduated from the school magna cum laude with a degree in American History.

What rank is MIT in the world? ›

MIT is the best university in the world for the 11th consecutive year.
Top 100 Universities in the World According to the QS World University Rankings 2023
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)United States
2University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
3Stanford UniversityUnited States
97 more rows

What is the best public ivy? ›

However, the following five schools are widely considered the cream of the crop when it comes to Public Ivies:
  • University of California, Berkeley.
  • University of California, Los Angeles.
  • University of Michigan.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • University of Virginia.
Feb 15, 2023

What is the most liberal school in America? ›

Most Liberal Colleges in the U.S.
  • Bard College. Dutchess County, NY. ...
  • Evergreen State College. Olympia, WA. ...
  • Hampshire College. Amherst, MA. ...
  • Mount Holyoke College. South Hadley, MA. ...
  • Oberlin College. Oberlin, OH. ...
  • Portland State University. Portland, OR. ...
  • San Francisco State University. San Francisco, CA. ...
  • Sarah Lawrence College.

What is the hardest University in the USA? ›

The rankings are based on acceptance rates and SAT/ACT test scores. Harvard ranked as the toughest school in the country to get into. It has a 5% acceptance rate, according to Niche.

What is the lowest rated University? ›

  • 1 DeVry University in Illinois.
  • 2 The University of Alaska Anchorage in Alaska.
  • 3 Western International University in Arizona.
  • 4 Philander Smith College in Arkansas.
  • 5 Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky.
  • 6 Alabama State University in Alabama.
  • 7 Nazarene Bible College in Colorado.
  • 8 Mitchell College.


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