Top Colleges in California: 10 Best Schools for Students

California boasts of more than 500 colleges within its state. Fact: in 2011, seven of the schools listed in the U.S. News’ top 10 with the most applications received were all in California.

Whether it’s the ample amount of sun or education that’s affecting student decision to choose California, one thing is for sure: the Golden State is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the country and even the world.

Here’s a list of the top colleges in California:


top colleges in california


1. Stanford University, Stanford CA

With 7,063 undergraduate enrollees, Stanford University is among the top colleges in California and the toughest school to get into today, with a 5.69% admission rate in 2013.


Yearly tuition and fees at Stanford is about $43,245. Most popular majors include International Relations, Biology, Political Science, Human Biology, Computer Science, Psychology, Economics, English, Engineering and Interdisciplinary Studies.


Types of aid offered include university scholarships,  federal grants, state grants, outside scholarships, student employment and loans.



2. Pomona College, Claremont CA

Pomona boasts of an impressive 8:1 student to teacher ratio, and is one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country today.


Tuition and fees at Pomona is $43,580 and its undergraduate enrollment is 1,607. The most popular majors in the college include Political Science, Biology, Media Studies, Economics, Psychology and English.


Types of financial aid include need-based federal, state, and private aid.



3. Claremont McKenna College, Claremont CA

One of the top 20 most selective colleges in America, Claremont McKenna’s student to teacher ratio is at 9:1. Its total undergraduate enrollment is currently 1,264 while tuition and fees are $45,625 per year.


Financial aid offered at Claremont McKenna include Academic Scholarships, Loans, Need-based Awards, Work-study and ROTC loans.



4. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA

Caltech is one of the best engineering schools in the country and certainly one of the top colleges in California. Some of its alumni including founders of top companies like Compaq, Intel and Hotmail. The school is one of the most selective, with 11.8% admission acceptance rate.


Tuition and fees are currently $41,538 and its undergraduate enrollment is 997. The most popular majors at Caltech include Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Electrical Engineering, Math, Physics and Computer Science. Financial aid is either need-based or through scholarships.



5. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont CA

Consistently ranking 1st or 2nd in top undergraduate engineering schools, Harvey Mudd College has also a 9:1 student to teacher ratio. A member of the Claremont Colleges, Harvey Mudd’s undergraduate enrollment for 2012-2013 is 783.


Yearly tuition and fees are $46,509. Types of financial aid: grant aid, need-based aid, merit-based awards, scholarships and demonstrated need aid. The most popular majors in Harvey Mudd include Computer Science, Physics, Math, Engineering and Chemistry.



6. University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley CA

The UCB’s total undergraduate enrollment is 25,774 and its in-state tuition and fees are $13,836 and $25,056 for out-of-state. The school consistently ranks as #1 among the public universities in the country and is one of the top colleges in California. Its most popular majors include English, Cellular Biology, Political Science, Electrical Engineering, Business, Psychology and Economics.


Currently, the financial aid available for students at UCB are loans, work-study, scholarships and grants.



7. University of California – Los Angeles, Los Angeles CA

Boasting of 27, 941 undergraduate enrollees and more than 4,000 teaching faculty, UCLA’s most popular majors are Political Science, Business, Biology, Economics, English, Sociology, History and Psychology. It’s tuition and fees for 2012-2013 are $12,696 for in-state and $35,574 for out-of-state.


Students can avail of financial aid that include part-time student jobs, student loans, grants and scholarships.



8. University of Southern California, Los Angeles CA

This highly competitive private university offers 130 undergraduate majors with its most popular programs including International Relations, Accounting, Biology, Architecture, Communication Studies, Psychology, Business Administration, Political Science and Economics.

USC’s total undergraduate enrollment is 18,316 and its 2013-2014 tuition and fees are $46,298. Types of financial aid offered by the school: work-study and jobs, grants, scholarships and loans.



9. Scripps College, Claremont CA

Among the top women’s college in the country and one of the top colleges in California, Scripps has a 9:1 student to faculty ratio. The school’s undergraduate enrollment is 945 and its annual tuition and fees are $45,564. The most popular majors in Scripps are Fine Arts, Biology, Psychology, Math, Political Science and English. Types of financial aid include grants, loans, employment and scholarships.



10. Pepperdine University, Malibu CA

With a beautiful 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pepperdine University is a Christian college with a diverse student population from all religion and race.


The annual tuition and fee at Pepperdine is around $44,902 and its undergraduate population is 3,488. The most sought-after majors in Pepperdine include Communication Studies, Psychology, Business Administration, International Studies and Advertising.


Financial aid is different for each of the five schools within the university, although it’s typically scholarships, grants, loans and work-study.


The colleges on this list may either belong to a national university or a national liberal arts college, but all are among the top colleges in California today. Whichever you choose, you’re assured that you’re getting education from one of the best in the country, and perhaps the world.

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