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37 A-Rated Public Colleges and Universities

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 3.53.23 PMThe educational research company Niche compiles data and information on public colleges and universities, allowing users to sort and rank in a variety of different ways.

Business Insider took this data and ran with it, delivering a recent post entitled “The best public college in every state.”

Considering that there are 629 public four-year institutions that currently enroll around 6.8 million students, it helps to narrow down your list before sending out those application packages.

BI and Niche have enabled you to do this, but today we’d like to take it one step further for those of you searching for the best of the best. Here are the 37 A-Rated Public Colleges and Universities from the analysis.

University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “I can’t speak for all majors, but as an engineering studentI can assert that Alabama does a great job of encouraging students to make employment connections early on, and they give plenty of opportunities to do it. A great number of my peers are involved in the co-op program, working for huge companies like mercedes, bp, or p and g. They’re getting job offers from these companies too. This is a big draw for many students.”

Arizona State University at Tempe

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “The variety of the courses offered is vast and there are a lot of unique classes that enable you to really customize your general classes to something that you’ll enjoy,” one student said. “A majority of the professors are well educated in their fields and easy to talk to.”

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “There is a place for every student at the U of A. Everyone is accepted for who they are and it gets so much better. I am involved in Greek Life and it was a great decision. I found the right home and I have made some of my life long friends through Greek Life Organizations. The professors are amazing here and work with you. As well as all the faculty and staff.”

University of California at Los Angeles

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “UCLA is a public Ivy; a degree from this school is very valuable indeed. In my experience it isn’t easy to find jobs and internships, but I think that’s more due to competition among students than a lack of resources. The school career center is excellent, but criminally underrated and underused by underclassmen. Seniors however, use it frequently which results in very high competition for internships and work.”

Colorado School of Mines in Golden

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “It is nice to be at a school that focus on STEM education. The classes are difficult, but not unmanageable. Most of the classes are very engaging and interesting. The athletic teams are normally top in the division or country so they are fun to watch.”

University of Connecticut in Storrs

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “UConn offers such a large variety of classes, professors, etc., so you can take anything that interests you,” one senior acknowledged. “Professors are difficult, but certainly know their material.”

University of Delaware at Newark

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “University of Delaware has so many amazing things to offer. It’s very challenging academically, but has everything needed to stay involved and have an amazing time. The residence halls allow for meeting new people and making quality friendships. The campus is beautiful and allows for entertainment everywhere on-site.”

University of Florida at Gainesville

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “I love UF because it is full of interesting people from all backgrounds, and they’re mostly all friendly,” one student said. “The classes are challenging and they make you work hard to earn the grade. There are numerous clubs and organizations you can join. Overall, it’s a place where you can discover yourself.”

Georgia Institute of Technology

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “My experience so far has been great. I’ve definitely been given a huge opportunity to work with some of the greatest minds of this generation. The football games are fun and there are many events that really bring people together and spread school spirit. Georgia Tech is not only prestigious but a great place to learn and get the resources you need to succeed. I would do whatever it took to get into this school again because of the opportunities it offers and where it could take me in my future.”

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “Professors offer numerous research opportunities and there are always options for work study programs. The registration process is done efficiently and there are many classes that are with renowned professors, but also smaller classes to promote learning.”

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “… academics are rigorous at Purdue, and you don’t go there for it to be easy, despite whatever your major may be. However, there are plenty of ways to receive help, and still get an A in a lecture with a professor you can hardly understand. So far my experience with professors have been fine. They are usually available and excited to help you during office hours, or just after lecture. All of my professors were easy to approach. There are also office hours for TA’s too, which I found more helpful than the professor’s sometimes because they could provide a different perspective on the material. I went to few different TA’s in the beginning of the semester, and then weekly went to the TA I found most helpful. Even if you are not struggling so much on the recent material, it is always good to go to a professor or TA’s office hours to simply review material, talk about what could be on the exam, to learn about study tips, and in general, build a relationship with the person who is going to be grading your work.”

Iowa State University in Ames

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “Iowa State University is the best school out there for me because of the community setting, the helpful advisors, and the broad spectrum of learning opportunities,” a recent graduate said. “The advisors here at Iowa State are so helpful in finding ways to make sure you succeed and have all of the resources to do so.”

University of Kansas in Lawrence

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “There’s obviously been times where school has been tough and I’ve wanted to quit. But all professor I’ve experienced have been very welcoming and supportive and love their jobs and subjects. The sizes are fine cause I’m not picky about that and it all depends on which course it is. Overall I don’t mind going to school.”

University of Louisville at Louisville, Kentucky

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “At U of L they have wonderful opportunities for studying tutoring. They offer SI meetings, you can get a mentor, you can get your own tutor for free, and you can create your own study group for each class and the library has a special place for your group to study. I know, my self, has had difficulty changing over from high school work to college work and I just say you need focus a lot on studying and know when to ask for help.”

Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “The workload is very strenuous and grading by professors is very uncompromising. The great part, however, is that you’ll be prepared for any pursuit of higher education after undergrad.”

University of Maryland at College Park

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “At any school there are some bad professors and some good professors, but in my experience, I would rate the professors as overall good. The curriculum of gen eds is fine- everyone accepts it, struggles through math if they didn’t place out through AP Calc, and emerges from the other side unscathed. Some of the gen ed classes are interesting, and the one’s I’ve taken so far have actually been worth my time. Registration is annoying if you’re a freshman/have a bad point in the lottery system because a lot of the classes you wanted to take have been filled up, so make a plan B for your course load. The workload is considerable/challenging if you’re in a good major, but it seems like some people in easier majors coast by. There are an incredible number of living/learning programs. Popular study areas include McKeldin, random classrooms in buildings along the mall during finals week, and basically any library.”

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “There are an infinite amount of classes you could take. They have basically any major imaginable and if not, there is a program to create your own major. Class size varies and can benefit every students learning style.”

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “My sister got a job at McKinsey in New York right out of college. She has a great job and loves it. I plan on using her to help me get a job. She would love to put in a good word for a Michigan student. She applied for the job through the career center and had her first interview on campus.”

University of Minnesota at Twin Cities

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “There are many job, internship, and research possibilities, and I feel that the university allows me to be involved with many things that will distinguish me from others during grad school application time.”

Mississippi State University at Starkville

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “Everyone supports the teams, especially football. There is a great level of diversity for the area. The teachers and professors here all genuinely care for each student’s well-being and academic success.”

University of Missouri at Columbia

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “I’m a very academically-focused person, so I love to study and work hard. Mizzou allows me to do that and offers tons of support.”

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “There are so many resources to help you succeed and the quality of education is outstanding. Our programs are excellent thanks to the determined faculty and staff here, and there are so many people around you to encourage your progress.”

Rutgers University at New Brunswick, New Jersey

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “The workload is what you would expect from the given level of difficulty of the course and most professors are extremely friendly and accommodating.”

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology at Socorro

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “Graduating from this school means that you busted your a– for four years, no doubt. But people recognize this, and with all the networking available to you for the four years that you attended, it should be easy to find an ‘in’ into your career.”

Fashion Institute of Technology at New York City

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “FIT is great because the curriculum for your major begins right when you get in,” one student noted. “Unlike many other colleges, the first two years is not spent solely doing gen-eds. I like that the class sizes are small, and I have made many great relationships with great professors.”

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “We have professors who have intensive field experience, which leads to some pretty interesting anecdotes during lectures! They are very open to questions and guidance on summer programs, areas of study, trouble with classes, and more. I’m interested in the alternative energies field, and my professor has already aimed me towards research and prepping for higher level courses. The workload for all my required classes is a bit much at times, but that’s the expectation and it is possible to do everything.”

Ohio State University at Columbus

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “Coming to OSU, I wasn’t expecting to feel extremely challenged by the academics. However, my classes have proven to be challenging in the best way possible. I feel as if I’m growing as a student every day, and most professors and TAs are there to provide any extra help needed. There are endless study areas on our large campus, the most popular including Thompson Library and the Oval, our large central grassy area. It is easy to register for classes, but it may be difficult to get the classes you want as a freshman.”

Oklahoma State University at Stillwater

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “I have had a blast at OSU. I feel at home everywhere I go, and there are tons of tutors to help with my workload from my teachers. OSU is small enough just like home, but big enough to not know a whole lot of people. Its just perfect all the way around. Its a home away from home. I wouldn’t choose anything different because I am happy here and that’s what matters to me most.”

University of Oregon at Eugene

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “Great instructors and a diverse learning environment,” remarked one student, while a second agreed: “The program I am in has excellent professors, I have not studied outside of my program besides with the music department. So far in the education program I have yet to find a professor that isn’t willing to talk shop for hours … The music department has some poor philosophies and some tenured professors that are not very nice to the students, but my experience in this area is limited to only a few classes.”

Penn State at State College, Pennsylvania

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “My professors and classes are helping to prepare me for my field and are doing a great job. The experiences I have had here are unforgettable and everything I could have asked for.”

Clemson University at Clemson, South Carolina

Overall grade: A

What Students Say: “I have met so many wonderful people inside and outside of my major. Joining clubs was one of the best decisions I could have made because it opened up a whole world of like minded people to me – and if I could do everything over again, I would still choose Clemson!”

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “There is a plethora of education opportunities available with mostly deeply invested professors who are very approachable and are genuinely concerned for your academic success.”

University of Texas at Austin

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “The curriculum is great, and a semester typically covers a wide range of topics and information. The registration process is fairly simple and straightforward with waitlisting made easy and, more often than not, you can get in a class from the waitlist. The workload can be intense, depending on the classes you are taking, however the academic advisors are well informed of the demands of each class and can guide you to set up a schedule that will work for you. If you are determined to have a tough semester, they ensure that you know what you will be required to do and how much work you will be in for.”

University of Utah at Salt Lake City

Overall grade: A-

What Students Say: “I am a transfer student to the University of Utah and so far I have loved every minute of my experience here. Even though it is such a large university there are so many ways to make it smaller and get involved. What makes this university so unique is that there are so many resources here. They are always renovating and making this campus to our benefit. There are all kinds of Ambassadors here to help you with getting a job, getting involved, setting up your classes, and mostly creating a balanced life. It is in downtown Salt Lake which is great because there are always things to do here! This university is always hosting events and other activities to keep students busy and involved!”

University of Virginia at Charlottesville

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “The campus is totally walkable and in a beautiful location. It can be academically hard, but college should be somewhat a challenge. This is balanced out by the social aspect of the school. The students study hard but go out and party too.”

University of Washington at Seattle

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “Depending on your major, the UW provides a lot of good preparatory experiences for future careers etc. You just have to seek them out sometimes, especially if you’re into the liberal arts. Everyone in STEM seems to know where they’re going, but it isn’t always so clear cut.”

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Overall grade: A+

What Students Say: “A degree from this school looks great. This is a fairly exclusive and high end university. Courses are challenging and the degree programs are well-rounded. The advisors on campus are great for career and academic planning. Connections with the advisors can connect you with research opportunities, jobs, and awesome recommendation letters.”

Since public colleges and universities are often the most affordable pathway to a college education, it is important for students to think about where they wish to attend and what they are looking for in a school — great academics, athletics, social scene, location, or a little bit of everything. If you’re still having trouble deciding, spend some time with the list above. You won’t be disappointed. And if this isn’t enough information to make your decision, make sure that you hit the Niche link at the top of this article.

[Image via AthleticScholarships.net]


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's work appears regularly here at 4tests.com and across the web for sites, such as The Inquisitr and Life'd. A former high school teacher, his passion for education has only intensified since leaving the classroom. At 4tests, he hopes to continue passing along words of encouragement and study tips to ensure you leave school ready to face an ever-changing world.

Website: http://aricmitchell.blogspot.com/

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