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Best private colleges in every state

  • Best private colleges in every state

    In the wake of a national college admissions scandal—in which parents paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their children's college acceptance—university students are likely re-evaluating the worthiness of their institution. Some of the schools involved in the controversy are now being sued by students and graduates who say the scandal has devalued their degree or coursework. In almost every case, the schools involved are already well-known as some of the best private colleges in their respective states.

    Not all of the top schools were included in the scandal, prospective students in each of the 50 states can choose from dozens of great colleges. For this list, Stacker looks at the best private colleges in every state and current news involving the schools. We evaluated data from Niche, a data research company that compiles information specific to schools—such as how the national average student to faculty ratio is 18:1, and the average private college tuition across the country is $35,676 per year.

    In order to determine the best private schools, Niche examined data including academics, overall value, campus life, professors, diversity, student life, safety, the local area, and student satisfaction. The most weight was given to academics, accounting for 40% of each school's overall score. Second weightiest is the overall value, incorporating loan amounts, what students consider the actual value of the school to be, and what alumni earn after they leave the school. The local area and safety records held the least weight, at 2.5% each. The most recent data obtained came from the U.S. Department of Education statistics for 2018. Some of the data was also self-reported by the schools through direct contact with Niche and a school data update form.

    While some of the choices might be obvious, others may come as a surprise to readers. Read on to see if you attended the best private college in your state—and find out which state only has a single private four-year institution.

    You might also like: Best public colleges in every state 

  • Alabama: Samford University

    - Location: Birmingham, AL
    - Tuition: $30,490
    - Acceptance rate: 83%
    - Applicants: 3,808
    - SAT scores: 1080-1280
    - ACT scores: 23-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 12:1

    Samford is dominated by students with medical majors, and students at the conservative Christian university recently had some research published in a major medical journal. The student-led study showed that exercise is more effective when participants listened to music they actually liked—which seems obvious but had never actually been researched.

  • Alaska: Alaska Pacific University

    - Location: Anchorage, AK
    - Tuition: $20,760
    - Acceptance rate: 86%
    - Applicants: 450
    - SAT scores: 830-1115
    - ACT scores: 17-26
    - Student faculty ratio: 9:1

    Some readers may recognize this college as the home school of Olympic cross-country skier siblings Sadie and Erik Bjornsen. The small liberal arts school is well-known for its successful ski team.

  • Arizona: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott

    - Location: Prescott, AZ
    - Tuition: $34,662
    - Acceptance rate: 77%
    - Applicants: 2,168
    - SAT scores: 1130-1350
    - ACT scores: 23-29
    - Student faculty ratio: 18:1

    This powerhouse school in the aeronautics training world just got a huge boost from Boeing in the form of a $3 million donation. The money is meant to fund scholarships that cover the costs of pilot training and programs focusing on aircraft maintenance.

  • Arkansas: Ouachita Baptist University

    - Location: Arkadelphia, AR
    - Tuition: $25,870
    - Acceptance rate: 71%
    - Applicants: 1,786
    - SAT scores: 1020-1260
    - ACT scores: 21-28
    - Student faculty ratio: 12:1

    News about Ouachita is dominated by coverage of the school's heavy sports focus—and now also a yearbook focus. The 2017–2018 yearbook was just voted as one of the best in the nation, receiving the Silver Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

  • California: Stanford University

    - Location: Stanford, CA
    - Tuition: $49,617
    - Acceptance rate: 5%
    - Applicants: 44,073
    - SAT scores: 1390-1540
    - ACT scores: 32-35
    - Student faculty ratio: 12:1

    This “West Coast Ivy League” school is known for the high quality of both its students and its academic programs. In recent weeks, however, Stanford is embroiled in controversy as a participant in the college admissions scandal.

  • Colorado: Colorado College

    - Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    - Tuition: $52,818
    - Acceptance rate: 15%
    - Applicants: 8,223
    - SAT scores: 1220-1430
    - ACT scores: 28-32
    - Student faculty ratio: 10:1

    Colorado College has a unique teaching schedule to other colleges, using a "block plan.” Essentially, students take one class for three and a half weeks, then start another; at the end of the semester, they'll each have taken four classes. Right now, sports are hitting big as the hockey team is in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs.

  • Connecticut: Yale University

    - Location: New Haven, CT
    - Tuition: $51,400
    - Acceptance rate: 7%
    - Applicants: 32,879
    - SAT scores: 1460-1580
    - ACT scores: 32-35
    - Student faculty ratio: 6:1

    Yale, an Ivy League school, was the starting point for the massive college admissions scandal. Morrie Tobin, a man under investigation for another crime, asked for leniency by providing information about Yale's soccer coach, who asked him for a bribe to get his daughter into the college.

  • Delaware: Goldey-Beacom College

    - Location: Wilmington, DE
    - Tuition: $10,200
    - Acceptance rate: 52%
    - Applicants: 819
    - SAT scores: data not available
    - ACT scores: data not available
    - Student faculty ratio: 20:1

    This suburban college has a heavy focus on business courses, offering a Ph.D. in business administration. Other degree programs for undergrad and graduate studies include psychology, criminal justice, English, and economics.

  • Florida: University of Miami

    - Location: Coral Gables, FL
    - Tuition: $48,484
    - Acceptance rate: 36%
    - Applicants: 30,638
    - SAT scores: 1230-1420
    - ACT scores: 28-32
    - Student faculty ratio: 12:1

    The University of Miami just built a new architecture studio. And although the school isn't immediately known for its architecture program, that may change soon—the building just won the U.S. Building of the Year award.

  • Georgia: Emory University

    - Location: Atlanta, GA
    - Tuition: $49,392
    - Acceptance rate: 22%
    - Applicants: 23,747
    - SAT scores: 1350-1520
    - ACT scores: 30-33
    - Student faculty ratio: 9:1

    Coffee-lovers might want to stay away from Emory University for a while. The college's on-campus coffee shop recently failed a health inspection with more than a dozen violations of code.

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