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50 best colleges on the West Coast

  • 50 best colleges on the West Coast
    1/ turtix // Shutterstock

    50 best colleges on the West Coast

    Choosing a college can be an incredibly daunting task. With over 5,300 colleges and universities in the United States, narrowing down the field can seem impossible. Niche, an authoritative higher education information website, releases an annual ranking of the best colleges in America, designed to help prospective students and their parents find the perfect school.

    Based on Niche's 2019 Best Colleges in America list (updated August 2018), Stacker has a roundup of the top 50 schools on the West Coast. These institutions in Oregon, Washington, and California are ranked based on a rigorous analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education; categories examined include academics, admissions, financial costs, student life, and other factors.

    Whether you dream of spending the next four years lolling on a Southern California beach, spending weekends in trendy Seattle, or exploring nature around Portland, this list will provide a wealth of options. You can pick your best fit based on categories like location, net price, and median earnings range. College search: handled.

    ALSO: 50 best colleges on the East Coast

  • #50. California Lutheran University
    2/ TOLocal // Wikimedia Commons

    #50. California Lutheran University

    Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
    Acceptance rate: 64%
    Net price: $29,038
    SAT range: 993–1200
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $52,800
    Overall rank: #371

  • #49. Stanbridge University
    3/ Stanbridge University is located in Irvine, CA. // Branden Pinney // Wikimedia Commons

    #49. Stanbridge University

    Location: Irvine, CA
    Acceptance rate: 60%
    Net price: $25,027
    SAT range: Data not available
    Median earnings six years after graduation: Data not available
    Overall rank: #366

  • #48. University of California - Riverside
    4/ Amerique // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. University of California - Riverside

    Location: Riverside, CA
    Acceptance rate: 66%
    Net price: $12,841
    SAT range: 940–1190
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $47,300
    Overall rank: #362

  • #47. University of La Verne
    5/ Founder's Hall // Wikimedia Commons

    #47. University of La Verne

    Location: La Verne, CA
    Acceptance rate: 48%
    Net price: $22,284
    SAT range: 930–1130
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $48,900
    Overall rank: #360

  • #46. Azusa Pacific University
    6/ Jon Coyne // Flickr

    #46. Azusa Pacific University

    Location: Azusa, CA
    Acceptance rate: 61%
    Net price: $28,506
    SAT range: 900–1130
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $50,500
    Overall rank: #339

  • #45. Westmont College
    7/ Thomas Hawk // Flickr

    #45. Westmont College

    Location: Santa Barbara, CA
    Acceptance rate: 81%
    Net price: $34,974
    SAT range: 1060–1280
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $49,200
    Overall rank: #330

  • #44. Willamette University
    8/ M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Willamette University

    Location: Salem, OR
    Acceptance rate: 78%
    Net price: $32,628
    SAT range: 1100–1330
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $49,100
    Overall rank: #314

  • #43. Seattle University
    9/ Calvin Marquess // Wikimedia Commons

    #43. Seattle University

    Location: Seattle, WA
    Acceptance rate: 74%
    Net price: $35,627
    SAT range: 1070–1290
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $55,500
    Overall rank: #312

  • #42. Pacific Lutheran University
    10/ Ben Cody // Wikimedia Commons

    #42. Pacific Lutheran University

    Location: Tacoma, WA
    Acceptance rate: 77%
    Net price: $25,219
    SAT range: 980–1230
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $47,700
    Overall rank: #306

  • #41. University of Puget Sound
    11/ Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

    #41. University of Puget Sound

    Location: Tacoma, WA
    Acceptance rate: 79%
    Net price: $40,416
    SAT range: 1110–1330
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $49,000
    Overall rank: #303

  • #40. Seattle Pacific University
    12/ Joe Mabel // Wikimedia Commons

    #40. Seattle Pacific University

    Location: Seattle, WA
    Acceptance rate: 87%
    Net price: $29,174
    SAT range: 990–1230
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $47,200
    Overall rank: #298

  • #39. Whitworth University
    13/ Scott Ellison // Flickr

    #39. Whitworth University

    Location: Spokane, WA
    Acceptance rate: 89%
    Net price: $27,826
    SAT range: 1000–1260
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $41,000
    Overall rank: #287

  • #38. University of California - Santa Cruz
    14/ Casey Marshall // Flickr

    #38. University of California - Santa Cruz

    Location: Santa Cruz, CA
    Acceptance rate: 58%
    Net price: $16,261
    SAT range: 1060–1290
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $43,700
    Overall rank: #281

  • #37. DigiPen Institute of Technology
    15/ Shuichi Aizawa // Flickr

    #37. DigiPen Institute of Technology

    Location: Redmond, WA
    Acceptance rate: 53%
    Net price: $33,076
    SAT range: 1090–1340
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $81,300
    Overall rank: #271

  • #36. University of the Pacific
    16/ Yoshio Kohara // Wikimedia Commons

    #36. University of the Pacific

    Location: Stockton, CA
    Acceptance rate: 66%
    Net price: $33,794
    SAT range: 1030–1300
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $69,300
    Overall rank: #267

  • #35. Biola University
    17/ Steve // Flickr

    #35. Biola University

    Location: La Mirada, CA
    Acceptance rate: 65%
    Net price: $32,273
    SAT range: 950–1220
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $43,100
    Overall rank: #263

  • #34. University of San Francisco
    18/ Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

    #34. University of San Francisco

    Location: San Francisco, CA
    Acceptance rate: 71%
    Net price: $35,054
    SAT range: 1030–1250
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $59,900
    Overall rank: #260

  • #33. San Diego State University
    19/ Sprachcaffe Düsseldorf // Flickr

    #33. San Diego State University

    Location: San Diego, CA
    Acceptance rate: 35%
    Net price: $14,344
    SAT range: 1000–1220
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $48,300
    Overall rank: #259

  • #32. California State University - Long Beach
    20/ Alan Ray // Wikimedia Commons

    #32. California State University - Long Beach

    Location: Long Beach, CA
    Acceptance rate: 32%
    Net price: $9,867
    SAT range: 930–1160
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $47,100
    Overall rank: #249

  • #31. Oregon State University
    21/ Gregkeene // Wikimedia Commons

    #31. Oregon State University

    Location: Corvallis, OR
    Acceptance rate: 77%
    Net price: $19,484
    SAT range: 990–1240
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $46,900
    Overall rank: #241

  • #30. Gonzaga University
    22/ SCUMATT // Wikimedia Commons

    #30. Gonzaga University

    Location: Spokane, WA
    Acceptance rate: 67%
    Net price: $33,586
    SAT range: 1110–1300
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $54,100
    Overall rank: #223

  • #29. Point Loma Nazarene University
    23/ Greenstrat // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Point Loma Nazarene University

    Location: San Diego, CA
    Acceptance rate: 69%
    Net price: $29,954
    SAT range: 1030–1240
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $49,100
    Overall rank: #211

  • #28. University of Oregon
    24/ Another Believer // Wikimedia Commons

    #28. University of Oregon

    Location: Eugene, OR
    Acceptance rate: 78%
    Net price: $15,355
    SAT range: 980–1220
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $43,200
    Overall rank: #199

  • #27. Lewis & Clark College
    25/ Chris Phan // Flickr

    #27. Lewis & Clark College

    Location: Portland, OR
    Acceptance rate: 55%
    Net price: $35,849
    SAT range: 1190–1370
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $43,600
    Overall rank: #187

  • #26. Chapman University
    26/ Tom Arthur // Wikimedia Commons

    #26. Chapman University

    Location: Orange, CA
    Acceptance rate: 54%
    Net price: $40,709
    SAT range: 1110–1300
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $51,900
    Overall rank: #184

  • #25. Washington State University
    27/ Jeremy Segrott // Flickr

    #25. Washington State University

    Location: Pullman, WA
    Acceptance rate: 72%
    Net price: $17,815
    SAT range: 930–1165
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $48,600
    Overall rank: #151

  • #24. University of San Diego
    28/ Ckbee // Wikimedia Commons

    #24. University of San Diego

    Location: San Diego, CA
    Acceptance rate: 51%
    Net price: $38,596
    SAT range: 1100–1310
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $59,300
    Overall rank: #149

  • #23. University of Portland
    29/ M.O. Stevens // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. University of Portland

    Location: Portland, OR
    Acceptance rate: 61%
    Net price: $31,736
    SAT range: 1080–1300
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $56,600
    Overall rank: #146

  • #22. Pepperdine University
    30/ Edward Blake // Flickr

    #22. Pepperdine University

    Location: Malibu, CA
    Acceptance rate: 37%
    Net price: $39,637
    SAT range: 1110–1330
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $61,100
    Overall rank: #143

  • #21. California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
    31/ hakkun // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo

    Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
    Acceptance rate: 29%
    Net price: $18,530
    SAT range: 1150–1360
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $63,100
    Overall rank: #125

  • #20. Loyola Marymount University
    32/ Michael Blow // Flickr

    #20. Loyola Marymount University

    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Acceptance rate: 54%
    Net price: $40,946
    SAT range: 1120–1330
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $55,800
    Overall rank: #124

  • #19. University of California - San Diego
    33/ Vince Smith // Flickr

    #19. University of California - San Diego

    Location: La Jolla, CA
    Acceptance rate: 36%
    Net price: $14,770
    SAT range: 1170–1450
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $58,600
    Overall rank: #122

  • #18. Occidental College
    34/ Jeffrey Beall // Flickr

    #18. Occidental College

    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Acceptance rate: 46%
    Net price: $31,990
    SAT range: 1200–1420
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $49,700
    Overall rank: #120

  • #17. University of California - Irvine
    35/ Allyunion // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. University of California - Irvine

    Location: Irvine, CA
    Acceptance rate: 41%
    Net price: $13,780
    SAT range: 1060–1330
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $55,100
    Overall rank: #118

  • #16. University of California - Davis
    36/ Bev Sykes // Flickr

    #16. University of California - Davis

    Location: Davis, CA
    Acceptance rate: 42%
    Net price: $16,039
    SAT range: 1050–1330
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $56,300
    Overall rank: #110

  • #15. Scripps College
    37/ Lure Photography // Wikimedia Commons

    #15. Scripps College

    Location: Claremont, CA
    Acceptance rate: 30%
    Net price: $37,860
    SAT range: 1290–1440
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $49,700
    Overall rank: #101

  • #14. Whitman College
    38/ Joe Shlabotnik // Flickr

    #14. Whitman College

    Location: Walla Walla, WA
    Acceptance rate: 51%
    Net price: $34,272
    SAT range: 1200–1420
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $46,600
    Overall rank: #100

  • #13. Reed College
    39/ Visitor7 // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Reed College

    Location: Portland, OR
    Acceptance rate: 31%
    Net price: $27,805
    SAT range: 1280–1480
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $37,900
    Overall rank: #97

  • #12. Santa Clara University
    40/ Omar A. // Flickr

    #12. Santa Clara University

    Location: Santa Clara, CA
    Acceptance rate: 48%
    Net price: $37,657
    SAT range: 1200–1400
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $69,600
    Overall rank: #96

  • #11. Pitzer College
    41/ Lauriealosh // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Pitzer College

    Location: Claremont, CA
    Acceptance rate: 14%
    Net price: $25,521
    SAT range: 1300–1450
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $47,100
    Overall rank: #93

  • #10. University of California - Santa Barbara
    42/ Carl Jantzen // Flickr

    #10. University of California - Santa Barbara

    Location: Santa Barbara, CA
    Acceptance rate: 36%
    Net price: $15,149
    SAT range: 1120–1390
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $52,500
    Overall rank: #86

  • #9. University of Washington
    43/ Wonderlane // Flickr

    #9. University of Washington

    Location: Seattle, WA
    Acceptance rate: 45%
    Net price: $10,068
    SAT range: 1120–1370
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $54,800
    Overall rank: #74

  • #8. Harvey Mudd College
    44/ Imagine // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Harvey Mudd College

    Location: Claremont, CA
    Acceptance rate: 13%
    Net price: $35,460
    SAT range: 1420–1580
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $74,200
    Overall rank: #61

  • #7. Claremont McKenna College
    45/ Craig Stanfill // Flickr

    #7. Claremont McKenna College

    Location: Claremont, CA
    Acceptance rate: 9%
    Net price: $30,527
    SAT range: 1320–1490
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $75,000
    Overall rank: #41

  • #6. University of California - Berkeley
    46/ Gku // Wikimedia Commons

    #6. University of California - Berkeley

    Location: Berkeley, CA
    Acceptance rate: 17%
    Net price: $17,160
    SAT range: 1270–1540
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $61,800
    Overall rank: #37

  • #5. University of California - Los Angeles
    47/ Prayitno // Flickr

    #5. University of California - Los Angeles

    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Acceptance rate: 18%
    Net price: $14,236
    SAT range: 1160–1470
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $58,700
    Overall rank: #29

  • #4. University of Southern California
    48/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #4. University of Southern California

    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Acceptance rate: 17%
    Net price: $32,932
    SAT range: 1280–1500
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $70,400
    Overall rank: #20

  • #3. Pomona College
    49/ Nostalgicwisdom // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. Pomona College

    Location: Claremont, CA
    Acceptance rate: 9%
    Net price: $18,140
    SAT range: 1340–1540
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $56,600
    Overall rank: #16

  • #2. California Institute of Technology
    50/ Kevin Stanchfield // Flickr

    #2. California Institute of Technology

    Location: Pasadena, CA
    Acceptance rate: 8%
    Net price: $26,839
    SAT range: 1510–1600
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $74,200
    Overall rank: #10

  • #1. Stanford University
    51/ Simaah // Pixabay

    #1. Stanford University

    Location: Stanford, CA
    Acceptance rate: 5%
    Net price: $16,695
    SAT range: 1380–1580
    Median earnings six years after graduation: $85,700
    Overall rank: #2
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