Best public colleges and universities, according to published rankings and student reviews

Leslie Penkunas//July 17, 2019

Best public colleges and universities, according to published rankings and student reviews

Leslie Penkunas//July 17, 2019

In an effort to help prospective college students and their families evaluate the educational options open to them, College Consensus has identified the best public colleges and universities, according to the combination of published rankings and student reviews. Among the more than 400 public and colleges and universities evaluated, Penn State, Main Campus came in at number 26.

To identify the Best Public Colleges and Universities 2019, College Consensus combined the latest results from the most respected college rankings with thousands of real student reviews to produce a unique consensus score for each school. According to Consensus editors, “College Consensus gathers the publisher rankings and student reviews from around the web and distills the results into simple, easy to understand scores so students can quickly and easily compare schools.”

The College Consensus methodology pulls together rankings from U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, and Wallethub, averaging all of a given school’s numbers to get the Publisher Rating. Then, it averages student reviews from sites like Cappex, Niche, and Student Review to get the full picture of how students see their colleges (College Consensus calls this the Student Review Rating). Learn more about the College Consensus rankings methodology at collegeconsensus.com.

The top 10 are:

  1. University of California, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA
    2. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI
    3. University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, CA
    4. University of Virginia – Charlottesville, VA
    5. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, NC
    6. University of California, Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, CA
    7. University of Texas – Austin, TX
    8. University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI
    9. University of California, Davis – Davis, CA
    10. University of Florida – Gainesville, FL

While the Ivy League and the wealthy, elite private research universities may get the most press and attention, dominating rankings and general awareness, “Public colleges and universities are a vital part of higher education in America,” said the editors of College Consensus in a prepared statement. “Public schools generally provide a more affordable and accessible option for students than private colleges, helping to democratize higher education and build a more broadly educated citizenship.”

In College Consensus’s separate ranking of best colleges and universities (public and private) in Pennsylvania, the top 10 spots are all occupied by private institutions:

  1. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia
  2. Swarthmore College – Swarthmore
  3. Bryn Mawr College – Bryn Mawr
  4. Haverford College – Haverford
  5. Carnegie Mellon Univresity – Pittsburgh
  6. Bucknell University – Lewisburg
  7. Gettysburg College – Gettysburg
  8. University of Scranton – Scranton
  9. Lehigh University – Bethlehem
  10. Franklin & Marshall College


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