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Most well-rounded colleges in America

  • Most well-rounded colleges in America

    There’s a great deal to consider when choosing the right college to attend: Prospective students generally evaluate a university's academics, athletics and extracurriculars, tuition price, and the vibrancy of the student community before making this life-altering decision. 

    In an ideal world, dream schools would have the perfect combination of every single factor. While each student will look for something different, colleges with enough appeal to please all kinds of people do exist. Stacker set out to rank the 50 most well-rounded colleges in America using six different data sets from Niche. Stacker took the average of each school ranking on Niche’s lists of colleges with the best student life, best value, best academics, most diversity, best athletics, and best campus. The schools with the lowest average—in other words, schools that were ranked closer to the top of each list, on average—are considered the most well-rounded. Only colleges that ranked in the top 200 of at least four of these six lists were eligible for consideration.

    Read through the slideshow to find out which schools ranked higher than Harvard University, learn how a small liberal arts school beat out many larger institutions, and see where your alma mater falls on the list.

    ALSO: Best college in every state

  • #50. Arizona State University

    Average rank: 158.5

    Student life rank: #69 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #377 (Grade: A-)

    Academics rank: #230 (Grade: A-)

    Diversity rank: #92 (Grade: A)

    Athletics rank: #47 (Grade: A+)

    Campus rank: #136 (Grade: A)

    This public university in Tempe, Arizona, has a reputation for being a party school, but that distinction appears to be fading over time. ASU still boasts a highly engaged student body—and a large one, at 103,410 students in 2017—but it’s less focused on the parties and more on the school’s athletic programs.  

  • #49. University of Maryland - College Park

    Average rank: 152.5

    Student life rank: #79 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #101 (Grade: A+)

    Academics rank: #106 (Grade: A)

    Diversity rank: #129 (Grade: A)

    Athletics rank: #13 (Grade: A+)

    Campus rank: #487 (Grade: B)

    Alumni of the University of Maryland might be some of the most loyal fans out there, rooting for their beloved Diamondback terrapins every chance they get. The school is known for its football team, which often ranks among the best in the Big Ten, and its prestigious academics.

  • #48. University of Notre Dame

    Average rank: 142.8

    Student life rank: #25 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #7 (Grade: A+)

    Academics rank: #21 (Grade: A+)

    Diversity rank: #763 (Grade: A-)

    Athletics rank: #22 (Grade: A+)

    Campus rank: #19 (Grade: A+)

    This Catholic research university located near South Bend, Indiana, is also a big football school. Every Saturday during football season, students and alumni turn out in droves to support the Fighting Irish. A massive mural of Jesus on the south side of a library tower even came to be called Touchdown Jesus, since you can see Jesus peeking over the side of the football stadium.

  • #47. University of Wisconsin

    Average rank: 142.5

    Student life rank: #2 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #84 (Grade: A+)

    Academics rank: #94 (Grade: A+)

    Diversity rank: #622 (Grade: A-)

    Athletics rank: #28 (Grade: A+)

    Campus rank: #25 (Grade: A+)

    More than 43,000 students attend the University of Wisconsin every year, and they quickly pick up on the university’s quirky traditions. Wisconsin’s marching band is famous for its Fifth Quarter, a raucous celebration that occurs after every football game, while students who call themselves 'Hoofers' often ski across campus during the frigid winters.

  • #46. University of California - Davis

    Average rank: 139.8

    Student life rank: #122 (Grade: A)

    Value rank: #121 (Grade: A+)

    Academics rank: #134 (Grade: A)

    Diversity rank: #144 (Grade: A)

    Athletics rank: #204 (Grade: A-)

    Campus rank: #114 (Grade: A)

    UC Davis gets its free spirited bent from the town of Davis itself: This Bohemian community famously built “toad tunnels” decorated with tiny houses and bars so amphibians could cross a nearby overpass. UC Davis students can choose unusual majors like sustainable agriculture and food systems, viticulture and enology, and wildlife, fish and conservation biology.

  • #45. Indiana University - Bloomington

    Average rank: 139.7

    Student life rank: #22 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #200 (Grade: A)

    Academics rank: #180 (Grade: A-)

    Diversity rank: #378 (Grade: A)

    Athletics rank: #34 (Grade: A+)

    Campus rank: #24 (Grade: A+)

    A whopping 114,000 students were enrolled in Indiana University as of fall 2015, 72% of which were Indiana residents. Located in the college town of Bloomington, or B-town, IU is known for both its thriving cultural scene and athletic prowess.

  • #44. University of Oklahoma

    Average rank: 138.7

    Student life rank: #56 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #313 (Grade: A-)

    Academics rank: #177 (Grade: A)

    Diversity rank: #213 (Grade: A)

    Athletics rank: #6 (Grade: A+)

    Campus rank: #67 (Grade: A)

    University of Oklahoma cracked the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of the top 50 public colleges for the first time ever in 2018, but it has always been well-known locally. The family atmosphere on campus and affordable price tag make it quite popular.  

  • #43. Boston University

    Average rank: 136.3

    Student life rank: #70 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #154 (Grade: A)

    Academics rank: #74 (Grade: A+)

    Diversity rank: #40 (Grade: A+)

    Athletics rank: #150 (Grade: A-)

    Campus rank: #330 (Grade: B+)

    This private university is located smack dab in the middle of Boston, so it doesn’t have as large of a campus as many of the other universities on this list. Still, BU is one of the largest independent universities in the country, with an undergraduate enrollment of around 18,000 students.

  • #42. University of Iowa

    Average rank: 135.7

    Student life rank: #27 (Grade: A+)

    Value rank: #172 (Grade: A)

    Academics rank: #204 (Grade: A-)

    Diversity rank: #283 (Grade: A)

    Athletics rank: #37 (Grade: A+)

    Campus rank: #91 (Grade: A)

    Though the Midwest might not seem like a hub of the arts, the University of Iowa actually boasts the top-rated creative writing program in the country. The surrounding college town of Iowa City also makes it a lovely place to live for a few years. Fun fact: It’s one of only two UNESCO Cities of Literature in the United States.

  • #41. Dartmouth College

    Average rank: 131.5

    Student life rank: #112 (Grade: A)

    Value rank: #26 (Grade: A+)

    Academics rank: #14 (Grade: A+)

    Diversity rank: #155 (Grade: A)

    Athletics rank: #171 (Grade: A-)

    Campus rank: #311 (Grade: B+)

    Founded in 1769, this Ivy League institution is renowned for its liberal arts programs. Just 4,400 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students attend this selective university every year.

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