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U.S. Universities Tour: Conclusion

The U.S. Universities Tour took a journey around the nation to figure out which universities should be included in our list of the top universities in the United States. The methodology we used involved examining several aspects of each university we considered, including academic programs, selectivity of admissions, tuition costs and financial aid options. Since there is much more to a school's value than its statistics and prestige, we didn't stop there in our evaluations. In addition to these important features, we explored student life, the campus, and the surrounding location as some of the most important factors in a college experience.

In this process, we have built a comprehensive guide to the top universities in the United States, providing a detailed overview of a broad variety of schools. Every individual student needs to find the school with the best fit, whether that means a tiny liberal arts school, a research-intensive public university, or anything in between. Therefore, included in our selections are a mixture of small and large schools, both private and public, in a wide range of locations, including urban and rural environments in several regions. We understand that students may prefer to remain closer to home, wherever that may be, or instead choose a specific region of the country ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: Washington University in St. Louis

In a Nutshell

Washington University in St. Louis is a mid-sized independent university located in Missouri. Seven schools within Washington University (also known as Wash U) offer a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs to its nearly 12,000 students, which are divided about equally between undergraduate and graduate programs.

Washington University was the result of the efforts of Wayman Crow and William Greenleaf Eliot Jr., a merchant and a pastor respectively, who saw the need for a university in the Midwest. Washington University was chartered in 1853, unusually for a university of its national ranking today, without the support of a church, single wealthy donor, or a government program. The institute started in 1854 with an evening program which was especially for immigrant workers to gain an education and advance themselves. The university grew over the years, and began offering full-time education programs, adding a law school in 1867, followed by a fine arts school and a medical college.

In the late 1800s, the school board began looking to expand the school and move to a new campus, beginning construction in 1900. Before the university's new campus opened, these newly built structures were used by the 1904 World's Fair. Today, this campus is known as the Danforth Campus, and is ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: University of Notre Dame

In a Nutshell

Notre Dame University is a private Catholic institution located near South Bend, Indiana, with undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programs. Around 8,402 undergraduate students, 3,552 graduate students, and 1,547 doctorate students are enrolled in programs at Notre Dame, for a total student population of about 12,004. Notre Dame has eight schools and programs, and its academic calendar follows a semester system. The largest school of Notre Dame is the School of Arts and Letters, which contains most undergraduate programs at the University. There is also the College of Engineering, the College of Science, the School of Architecture and Mendoza College of Business which both have undergraduate programs and graduate programs, and the law school, which is only available to graduate students.

The university was founded by Catholic missionary priests who came from France (and Notre Dame is French for Our Lady). Reverend Edward Sorin and the Brothers of St. Joseph began working to build the university in 1844, after receiving donations of land from a local bishop. Sorin's goal was to create an American Catholic school that would provide a religious-based academic experience. Notre Dame was originally a school for males only, though its sister school, Saint Mary's College was started nearby in 1844, and women were able to ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: Emory University

In a Nutshell

Emory University is a private university, located near metropolitan Atlanta in Druid Hills, Georgia. With two undergraduate colleges and seven graduate and professional schools, Emory has a total of about 13,893 students enrolled, 7,441 of which are undergraduates, while 6,453 are enrolled in the graduate and professional schools.

Emory College was founded in 1836 by leaders of the Methodist Church, named for Bishop John Emory, the college was located in Oxford, Georgia. In 1914, the Methodist Church chose to expand the college, making it into Emory University in 1915, and moving it to metropolitan Atlanta after receiving a land donation from Coca-Cola President Asa Candler. Since the school was affiliated with the Methodist Church, it originally had strict rules for its students and did not allow athletics for the first years of Emory University's existence.

Today, Emory does have athletic teams, though it prioritizes academics over athletics. A focus on research is demonstrated by Emory's groundbreaking discoveries and innovations, like having created medications that are widely used in treatment of HIV, and being ranked fourth in the public sector for discovering new drugs and vaccines. Emory is also highly ranked for its business school, and the quality of life and happiness of its students. Emory follows a ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: Johns Hopkins University

In a Nutshell

Johns Hopkins University is a private institution of higher education in Baltimore, Maryland with four main campuses in the area. As the self-described first research university in the United States, Johns Hopkins has incorporated research into both undergraduate and graduate education to create the highly regarded university it is today.

Johns Hopkins, a railroad investor for one of the first railroad lines in the United States (Baltimore & Ohio) founded charitable corporations to form a university and hospital. At his death, he left millions of dollars to help fund these two organizations. Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876, and began under the leadership of its first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, who recognized the important connection between education and research. Until this time, the two had remained strictly separate, though Johns Hopkins University has become a model that other U.S. universities have followed.

The university has grown over several campuses both in the region and beyond. The main campus, Homewood, houses most of the undergraduate programs, in addition to a few professional schools. The other campuses in the area have professional schools like the schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Nurshing, which are located on the East Baltimore campus next to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Downtown Baltimore is ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: University of Southern California

In a Nutshell

The University of Southern California is a private institution located in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Judge Robert Maclay Widney was instrumental in the foundation of the school, envisioning the creation of a local institute of higher education in what was at the time a rural town. First opened in 1880, USC was built on land donated by three men: Ozro W. Childs, John G. Downey, and Isaias W. Hellman.

Though USC is a private university, it is formed as a non-profit organization, and quite a large school. An enrollment of about 17,500 students in the undergraduate school, the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, gives the graduate and professional schools a slight majority, with a total of 20,500 students, making for a total student population of about 38,000. With this emphasis on graduate and professional studies, USC has become known for its focus on research, both in the Graduate School, and its seventeen professional schools.

USC has produced a large number of notable alumni, ranging from writers to athletes to scientists and actors. USC is also home to a long list of famous faculty, connecting students with an impressive network of people.

Academic Achievement

USC is a prestigious school and a fairly difficult school ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: Carnegie Mellon

In a Nutshell

Carnegie Mellon is a highly ranked private university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its 11,530 students are nearly equally divided between the undergraduate and graduate schools, with 6,020 undergrads, and 5,510 graduate and doctoral students. Carnegie Mellon offers distinct academic programs in a variety of fields, from science and technology to arts and the humanities.

Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1900 as the Carnegie Technical Schools, then changing to the Carnegie Institute of Technology (or Carnegie Tech) in 1912, when it began awarding degrees. The neighboring Mellon Institute of Industrial Research had been a nonprofit organization, that did research for various companies. In 1967, Carnegie Tech and Mellon Institute merged and became Carnegie Mellon University. Over its history, Carnegie Mellon expanded its campus, adding new buildings for academic departments, student housing and services, and additional schools.

Carnegie Mellon has seven schools: Carnegie Institute of Technology (The College of Engineering), College of Fine Arts, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tepper School of Business, H. John Heinz II College of Public Policy and Information Systems, Mellon College of Science, and the School of Computer Science. Though it has no medical school, Carnegie Mellon offers life science programs instead.

Academic Achievement

Carnegie Mellon's approach to academics is unusual ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: Vanderbilt University

In a Nutshell

Vanderbilt University is a private institute if higher education that is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and is considered one of the top universities in the region. A strong emphasis on research and undergraduate studies makes Vanderbilt a great option for higher education. Vanderbilt is a medium-sized university, with undergraduate enrollment at around 6,817, while its graduate and professional schools enroll about 6,042, for a total of 12,859 students.

Founded in 1873 with an endowment from Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, for whom the university is named, at the urging of Methodist bishop, Holland McTyeire, who became a friend of Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt had a great appreciation for education, especially since he had never been educated himself, and donated a large sum of money to open this institute in Nashville, which had never even visited.

The university's charter was issued to McTyeire in 1872, and amended after receiving the funds from Vanderbilt to officially call the school Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt opened its undergraduate college for liberal arts and sciences, as well as seven professional schools, and its first classes started in the autumn of 1875. Vanderbilt was associated with the Methodist Church until 1914, when the church ended its relationship with the university.

The university continued to expand over its ....

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U.S. Universities Tour: Rice University

In a Nutshell Rice University is a private university with a focus on undergraduate education and research. Rice is located in Houston, Texas and is a medium sized school, with about 3,708 undergraduate students and about 2,374 graduate students in its eight schools. These eight schools are the School of Architecture, Brown School of Engineering, School of Humanities, Shepherd School of Music, Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the School of Social Sciences, the School of Continuing Studies, and the Jones Graduate School of Business. Rice opened in 1912, after the death of William Marsh Rice, for whom the school is named. Rice was a wealthy businessman who left his estate to fund a university for Texans. In his wishes, Rice requested that the institute to be tuition-free to provide an education to anyone who was interested. Though Rice was coeducational from the start, its charter stated that it only admitted white students. This situation was remedied to allow students from any race in 1964. Shortly after that in 1965, Rice ended its tuition-free education system and began expanding the campus with the tuition money it received. At this point, Rice added the schools of management, music, and social sciences, and added campus housing for the female students, who up until this time were not able to live on ....Read More →

U.S. Universities Tour: University of California, Los Angeles

In a Nutshell

The University of California, Los Angeles is a large public university with undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, and a strong focus on research. The undergraduate enrollment at UCLA is around 27,000, while the graduate enrollment is about 13,000 students, for a total of almost 40,000 students.

Founded in 1919 as the second campus of the University of California system, UCLA was first called the Southern Branch of the University of California. It was opened despite protests from many leaders associated with the original UC campus in Berkeley, who thought the university should not expand. When UCLA first opened, it offered a two-year undergraduate program in the College of Letters and Science and a Teachers College.

As the school grew rapidly, the campus moved to a new location that had more room for expansion in 1925, relocating to its current location just west of Beverly Hills. With this, UCLA began expanding its programs in addition to its campus and student body, adding masters and PhD programs. Over time, it gained autonomy from the UC system around 1951, and was able to diverge from UC Berkeley in some ways. One example of this is that unlike Berkeley, UCLA's academic calendar follows a quarter system rather than a semester system.

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