The top three western schools in FORBES’ America’s Top Colleges ranking 2018 are Stanford, the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA and the University of California, Berkeley.
Stanford ranks No. 3 on the nationwide list and has ranked in the top three on that list for the past six years. The California Institute of Technology, known as CalTech, first appeared in the overall top ten in 2017, at No. 6, and has maintained its spot for the second straight year. The research institute, known for its prestigious technology and engineering programs, is the No. 2 college in the West. Climbing the western ranks three spots from last year is the University of California, Berkeley, which is the only public school to rank in the top five in the West. (Berkeley is No. 14 on the national list.) After graduation, many grads from California schools remain in the state, where salaries are high, which boosts their ranking. According to PayScale’s data on early career salaries, Stanford grads make $73,300, CalTech grads earn a bit more at $78,800, and Berkeley alumni make $65,400.
The next three spots are held by Claremont consortium colleges with Pomona at No. 4 (No. 19 on the national list), Harvey Mudd at No. 5 (No. 23), Claremont McKenna at No.6 (No. 26), Scripps College at No. 10 (No. 63) and Pitzer at No. 11 (No. 69). The consortium, 40 miles east of Los Angeles, consists of five schools where students can take classes at other consortium colleges at no extra cost.
Six University of California schools are in the West’s top 25. In addition to U.C. Berkeley, they are University of California, Los Angeles (No .46), University of California, San Diego (No.81), University of California, Santa Barbara (No. 85), University of California, Davis (No.94) and University of California, Irvine (No. 96). Other California schools on the western list are Whitman College (No. 82), Occidental College (No. 107), Santa Clara University (No.76), and a new addition to our Top 25 Colleges in the West, Pepperdine University (No.125), located in Malibu, CA.
This year there are 10 public schools among the top 25 western colleges. The University of Washington in Seattle jumped up five spots this year to No. 12 and it ranks at No. 72 nationally. UDub has 31,000 undergraduates and a retention rate of 94%.
Three Colorado schools are in the West’s top 25: Colorado College (No. 84), where students take one class at a time in its block class structure, the U.S. Air Force Academy (No. 40), and Colorado School of Mines (No. 117), a public school with a focus on engineering and applied science. Oregon and Utah each have one school on the western list: Reed College (No. 91), where Apple CEO Steve Jobs spent a semester, and Brigham Young University in Provo (No. 86), an institution with 33,500 undergraduates where the student population is overwhelmingly Mormon.
Here is the list of the 2018 Top Colleges in the West:
- Stanford University
- California Institute of Technology
- University of California, Berkeley
- Pomona College
- Harvey-Mudd College
- Claremont McKenna College
- University of Southern California
- United States Air Force Academy
- University of California, Los Angeles
- Scripps College
- Pitzer College
- University of Washington, Seattle Campus
- Santa Clara University
- University of California, San Diego
- Whitman College
- Colorado College
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- Brigham Young University–Provo
- Reed College
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Irvine
- Occidental College
- Colorado School of Mines
- Pepperdine University
- University of Colorado, Boulder