The Best Colleges in the US

College costs are soaring, but here's who gives you best value for money

Published: Sep 10, 2012

College costs are soaring, but for students accepted by one of these top institutions, as ranked by educational outcomes, attending is a no-brainer.

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1. Princeton University
LOCATION: PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY
UNDERGRADUATES: 5,203
TOTAL COST: $53,934

FAST FACTS:
• In 1783, Princeton’s Nassau Hall served as the Capitol of the US for approximately 5 months
• Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr (’53) was the
third person to walk on the moon. He carried
a Princeton flag there on November 19, 1969
• Of those who were immediately employed,
16% of the class of 2006 took jobs on Wall Street; 4 years later only 12% did



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2. Williams College
LOCATION: WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS
UNDERGRADUATES: 2,070
TOTAL COST: $57,141


FAST FACTS:
• The first college baseball game was played between Williams and Amherst in Pittsfield,
Massachusetts in 1859
• Billionaire alumni include Rich Products’ Robert Rich Jr (’63, $2.1 billion) and Tiger Global’s Chase
Coleman (’97, $1.1 billion)
• Williams has the second-highest 4-year graduation rate (91%) in the nation



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3. Stanford University
LOCATION: PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA
UNDERGRADUATES: 6,988
TOTAL COST: $57,755

FAST FACTS:
• In its 121-year history, Stanford has produced 107 Rhodes Scholars, 86 Marshall Award winners and
60 Truman Scholars
• Stanford graduates have founded some of Silicon
Valley’s most innovative companies: Google, Yahoo, Cisco and Sun Microsystems
• Sporty Stanford stars include Tiger Woods, John Elway (’83) and John McEnroe, although neither
Woods nor McEnroe took degrees



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4. University of Chicago
LOCATION: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
UNDERGRADUATES: 5,402
TOTAL COST: $59,950

FAST FACTS:
• Janet Davison Rowley (’44, MD ’48) discovered that cancer is a genetic disease in 1972; in 2012, the university named a new professorship in honour of her work
• Undergraduates call the University of Chicago “the  place where fun comes to die”
• In 2008, fund manager David Booth (’71) gave $300 million, the largest gift in the university’s history, to Chicago’s  business school, which was renamed the Booth School of Business
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5. Yale University
LOCATION: NEW HAVEN, CONNNECTICUT
UNDERGRADUATES: 5,349
COST: $58,250

FAST FACTS:
• In 1852 Yale’s crew team raced Harvard on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, the first intercollegiate athletic event in America
• Yale’s retention rate between freshman and sophomore years is 99%
• Five US Presidents were Yalies: both Bushes (’48, ’68), Clinton (’73, law), Ford (’41, law) and Taft (1878)

 


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6. Harvard University
LOCATION: CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS
UNDERGRADUATES: 10,305
TOTAL COST: $56,000

FAST FACTS:
• In total, Harvard’s faculty and alumni have won 46 Nobel Prizes
• In 2011, it allowed Reserve Officers’ Training Corps for the first time in 42 years after Congress repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law
• Harvard’s endowment is $32 billion, or $1,168,224 per student


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7. United States Military Academy
LOCATION: WEST POINT, NEW YORK
UNDERGRADUATES: 4,624
TOTAL COST: $0


FAST FACTS:
• During the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold attempted to sell West Point to the British
• A limited number of foreign students can attend West Point, but their home governments must pay costs ranging up to $71,086 a year



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8. Columbia University
LOCATION: NEW YORK, NEW YORK
UNDERGRADUATES: 8,127
TOTAL COST: $59,208


FAST FACTS:
• Founded in 1754, Columbia is the fifth-oldest college in the country
• Barack Obama (’83) transferred to Columbia from Occidental College after his sophomore year
• Columbia has produced 9 Supreme Court justices


 

 

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9. Pomona College
LOCATION: CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA
UNDERGRADUATES: 1,586
TOTAL COST: $55,319


FAST FACTS:
• Ski-Beach Day is a unique tradition: Students spend the morning skiing at Mountain High resort, an hour away from campus, and then relax in the afternoon on Newport Beach
• Despite its high total cost, Pomona has the 11th-lowest student debt
• Pomona is part of the Claremont Colleges, a consortium of 7 independent institutions situated on adjoining campuses


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10. Swarthmore College
LOCATION: SWARTHMORE, PENNSYLVANIA
UNDERGRADUATES: 1,545
TOTAL COST: $55,895

FAST FACTS:
• On a Sunday night before the beginning of the fall semester, the student body gathers to watch The Graduate to celebrate the start of a new year
• Students can take classes for credit at the University of Pennsylvania, 20 minutes away from campus
• One-fifth of Swarthmore graduates go on to earn PhDs



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(This story appears in the 14 September, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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