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Best colleges ranked by diversity

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Best colleges ranked by diversity

Diversity is important. Not only does being in a diverse atmosphere expose you to new ideas and different opinions, but it also helps to broaden and strengthen a community. In practical terms, diversity is a check against ignorance, as it forces new ideas to the surface and challenges long-held misconceptions.

In the current political discussion, however, there has been a pushback against diversity. Whether it be out of fear of change or xenophobia, there is a notable response against inclusivity. In South Africa, for example, alleged xenophobic attacks on Nigerians by South Africans have triggered reciprocal attacks in Nigeria. This wave of violence started with a truck driver strike in South Africa, criticizing many Nigerian drivers.

Whether it's xenophobic violence in South Africa or an evolving rationale to take increasingly more extreme measures to protect the southern border here in the United States, fear to expose oneself to something different can lead to disastrous results.

This nation's fount for new thoughts and intellectual development is the country's colleges and universities. To examine how America's best colleges stack up on diversity, Stacker ranked the top 50 schools on Niche's 2020 Best Colleges in America list according to their positions on Niche's Most Diverse Colleges in America list. Niche's rankings are based on a variety of data from the U.S. Department of Education as well as student reviews. The Most Diverse College rankings consider socioeconomic, geographic, and ethnic diversity of students and staff as well as the overall level of tolerance on campus.

As the best of anything draws the largest crowds, these schools have excelled in academics, athletics, and student relations. These are schools that books, television, and movies talk about. Many of these schools have diversity programs, and some of these schools have struggled with diversity and inclusion, but these are just products in high demand.

Keep reading to see which colleges made Stacker's list.

You may also like: States cutting back most on college funding

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Michael Fernandes // Wikimedia Commons

#50. University of Notre Dame

- Diversity rank: #595
- Overall rank: #17
- Location: Notre Dame, IN
- Students: 8,557
- Acceptance rate: 19% (ACT: 32-34; SAT: 1370-1520)

While Indiana is not known for being the most diverse place in the nation, its marquee university is another story. A private Catholic research university, Notre Dame is known for the quality of its undergraduate instruction and for its football team—which has yielded 11 national championships, seven Heisman Trophy winners, and two movies.

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Bryan Pollard // Shutterstock

#49. Wake Forest University

- Diversity rank: #538
- Overall rank: #42
- Location: Winston-Salem, NC
- Students: 5,046
- Acceptance rate: 28.% (ACT: 28-32; SAT: 1270-1410)

Known for being the school where renowned poet Maya Angelou served as the Reynolds Professor of American Studies, Wake Forest University is a private research institution. The first major private university in the South to desegregate, the school has produced 15 Rhodes Scholars and 62 Fulbright recipients.

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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#48. Boston College

- Diversity rank: #494
- Overall rank: #48
- Location: Chestnut Hill, MA
- Students: 9,681
- Acceptance rate: 32% (ACT: 31-33; SAT: 1320-1490)

In a city like Boston, which is filled with top colleges and universities, it is hard to stand out. Jesuit research university Boston College, however, does. While its name reflects its time as a liberal arts college, it is today a research university that recently ranked 59th on The Wall Street Journal's 2020 college rankings.

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Ildar Sagdejev // Wikimedia Commons

#47. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

- Diversity rank: #440
- Overall rank: #43
- Location: Chapel Hill, NC
- Students: 18,303
- Acceptance rate: 24% (ACT: 28-33; SAT: 1270-1460)

Arguably the oldest public university in America, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the flagship campus of The University of North Carolina system. The alma mater of basketball legend Michael Jordan, the "Public Ivy" also saw Thomas Wolfe, Andy Griffin, Mia Hamm, Vince Carter, John Forsythe, Charles Kuralt, and former President James K. Polk all pass through the school's doors.

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Aaron Josephson // Wikimedia Commons

#46. The University of Virginia

- Diversity rank: #357
- Overall rank: #29
- Location: Charlottesville, VA
- Students: 15,766
- Acceptance rate: 27% (ACT: 29-33; SAT: 1310-1500)

The University of Virginia is the flagship public university for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Regarded as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, Academical Village is renowned for Thomas Jefferson's architectural styling and for its grand lawn, which has been copied by a number of schools.

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Josh Kuckens // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Bates College

- Diversity rank: #311
- Overall rank: #47
- Location: Lewiston, ME
- Students: 1,787
- Acceptance rate: 22% (ACT: 30-32; SAT: 1385-1460)

The smallest college in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, Bates College is also one of the most expensive colleges regarding tuition. With a small endowment, the Great Recession of 2008 saw the college's financial standing diminish, necessitating steep tuition hikes. Bates College runs a privately funded research enterprise and requires a thesis to graduate.

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Canon.vs.nikon // Wikimedia Commons

#44. California Institute of Technology

- Diversity rank: #224
- Overall rank: #16
- Location: Pasadena, CA
- Students: 961
- Acceptance rate: 8% (ACT: 34-35; SAT: 1530-1590)

California Institute of Technology—or Caltech—recently came to national attention as one of the settings of the long-running sitcom "The Big Bang Theory." The school has been popular as a setting for TV shows and movies in large part because of how legendary the school is. The managing institute for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory is one of the few that is committed to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

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#43. Davidson College

- Diversity rank: #223
- Overall rank: #45
- Location: Davidson, NC
- Students: 1,810
- Acceptance rate: 20% (ACT: 30-33; SAT: 1310-1470)

The fourth-smallest Division I football school, Davidson College is easy to overlook. In 2008, however, the Davidson Wildcats made a deep run in the Division I Men's Basketball Tournament (March Madness), making it to the Elite Eight. The team was captained by three-time NBA champion and six-time NBA all-star Stephen Curry.

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#42. Barnard College

- Diversity rank: #215
- Overall rank: #34
- Location: New York, NY
- Students: 2,514
- Acceptance rate: 15% (ACT: 30-33; SAT: 1310-1500)

A private all-women's liberal arts school in Manhattan, Barnard College is the oldest women's college known to exist. Located across the street from Columbia University, Barnard has cooperative educational agreements with Columbia, The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Martha Stewart, Joan Rivers, Ntozake Shange, Grace Lee Boggs, Zora Neale Hurston, and Cynthia Nixon all graduated from the school.

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Evan Meyer // Shutterstock

#41. Washington University in St. Louis

- Diversity rank: #189
- Overall rank: #14
- Location: Saint Louis, MO
- Students: 7,074
- Acceptance rate: 16% (ACT: 32-34; SAT: 1470-1570)

Washington University in St. Louis is primarily known for being the site of more presidential and vice-presidential debates than any other institution in the nation. Presidential debates were held in the school in 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2016, and the vice-presidential debate took place in 2008.

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Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble // flickr

#40. Bowdoin College

- Diversity rank: #172
- Overall rank: #21
- Location: Brunswick, ME
- Students: 1,813
- Acceptance rate: 14.% (ACT: 31-33; SAT: 1360-1510)

One of the oldest colleges in Maine, Bowdoin College is older than its home state. The school was commissioned under charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, when Massachusetts still owned Maine. Bowdoin regularly places towards the top of the national rankings for liberal arts schools.

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#39. Carleton College

- Diversity rank: #158
- Overall rank: #32
- Location: Northfield, MN
- Students: 2,055
- Acceptance rate: 21% (ACT: 31-34; SAT: 1360-1530)

Per capita, Minnesota's Carleton College produces more doctoral candidates than nearly any other school. The school's library fund was named after Joseph Lee Heywood, the school's treasurer who—while serving as a cashier at the First National Bank of Northfield—was shot and killed by the Jesse James-led James-Younger Gang.

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#38. The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

- Diversity rank: #154
- Overall rank: #23
- Location: Ann Arbor, MI
- Students: 28,702
- Acceptance rate: 27% (ACT: 30-33; SAT: 1330-1500)

The flagship school for the University of Michigan system, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is Michigan's oldest university. Ranking eighth in the world overall in the Scimago Institutions Rankings, the university is recognized as a highly prestigious research university. The school has one of the most extensive alumni bases of any university.

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Funuk // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Middlebury College

- Diversity rank: #149
- Overall rank: #33
- Location: Middlebury, VT
- Students: 2,528
- Acceptance rate: 17% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1320-1510)

Vermont's first college, Middlebury College was the first American college to award a bachelor's degree to a person of African descent. Middlebury was also the first all-male liberal arts school in New England to admit women.

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#36. Duke University

- Diversity rank: #146
- Overall rank: #6
- Location: Durham, NC
- Students: 6,669
- Acceptance rate: 10% (ACT: 31-35; SAT: 1380-1540)

Formerly Trinity College, the school that would be renamed Duke University changed its name after receiving a large endowment from tobacco entrepreneur James Buchanan Duke. Duke typically finds itself towards the top of university rankings, and is one of the top three university employees in the nation.

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#35. Claremont McKenna College

- Diversity rank: #134
- Overall rank: #49
- Location: Claremont, CA
- Students: 1,337
- Acceptance rate: 10% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1340-1510)

One of the few politically conservative-leaning liberal arts schools currently in operation, Claremont McKenna College is a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium. In 2012, Claremont McKenna was found to have inflated SAT scores reported to U.S. News & World Report by 10 to 20 points in an alleged attempt to improve the school's rankings.

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gnrklk // flickr

#34. Dartmouth College

- Diversity rank: #129
- Overall rank: #15
- Location: Hanover, NH
- Students: 4,360
- Acceptance rate: 10% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1430-1560)

The ninth-oldest university in the United States, Dartmouth College was a seminary for Congregationalist ministers until it secularized at the turn of the 20th century. An Ivy League school, Dartmouth is by far the smallest in the conference by class size. Dartmouth is also different from its conference mates in its use of a quarter system for its academic year, instead of a semester system.

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#33. Georgia Institute of Technology

- Diversity rank: #128
- Overall rank: #38
- Location: Atlanta, GA
- Students: 13,974
- Acceptance rate: 23% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1090-1520)

One of the Deep South's most prestigious engineering schools, Georgia Institute of Technology—or Georgia Tech—is a highly prestigious public university. One of the few engineering schools to have a competitive athletics partner, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are four-times national football champions.

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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#32. Wellesley College

- Diversity rank: #116
- Overall rank: #39
- Location: Wellesley, MA
- Students: 2,374
- Acceptance rate: 28.% (ACT: 30-33; SAT: 1360-1530)

The best-ranking women's only college on our list, Wellesley College is a sister school to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brandeis University, and Babson College—with its students enjoying the right to cross-register with any of these schools. One of the original Seven Sisters Colleges, Wellesley's graduates include former U.S. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, former news anchors Cokie Roberts and Diane Sawyer, and writer Nora Ephron.

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#31. Tufts University

- Diversity rank: #100
- Overall rank: #25
- Location: Medford, MA
- Students: 5,483
- Acceptance rate: 15% (ACT: 31-34; SAT: 1410-1540)

As a research university, Tufts University is a relative newcomer. Formerly a liberal arts college, Tufts would undergo expansion under the leadership of college president Jean Mayer. The school would see the addition of veterinary, biomedical, and nutrition schools and an extreme increase in the endowment.

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Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/DoD // Wikimedia Commons

#30. United States Military Academy at West Point

- Diversity rank: #92
- Overall rank: #37
- Location: West Point, NY
- Students: 4,491
- Acceptance rate: 10% (ACT: 23-28; SAT: 1180-1400)

The only service academy on this list, the United States Military Academy at West Point—West Point, for short—had a storied past. Originally Fort Arnold, the Hudson River overlook was the scene of Revolutionary War general Benedict Arnold's attempted betrayal. Arnold sought to sell the fort to the British over perceived slights he thought he had endured, despite sacrifices in the march on Montreal. The plan backfired, and Arnold defected to the British. Cadet training at the fort commenced in 1794, with a formal academy established in 1802 under the Military Peace Establishment Act.

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#29. Washington and Lee University

- Diversity rank: #92
- Overall rank: #36
- Location: Lexington, VA
- Students: 1,823
- Acceptance rate: 22% (ACT: 31-33; SAT: 1350-1490)

Washington and Lee University is the ninth oldest college in the nation. Sitting adjacent to the Virginia Military Institute, the university was named after its benefactor—the then-serving President of the United States George Washington, who gave the university one of the largest educational gifts at the time. Lee was added to the name after the defeated Confederate commander Robert E. Lee came and served as the university's president in the years before his death.

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#28. Williams College

- Diversity rank: #92
- Overall rank: #35
- Location: Williamstown, MA
- Students: 2,047
- Acceptance rate: 15% (ACT: 31-35; SAT: 1400-1570)

The top liberal arts school in the nation for 17 years in a row, the Berkshires-based Williams College is one of the most recognized mid-sized schools in the Northeast. An academic powerhouse, Williams also excels in athletics, having won 22 of Division III Directors' Cups in the last 24 years. The Directors' Cup acknowledges the college or university with the most athletic success.

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#27. Vanderbilt University

- Diversity rank: #88
- Overall rank: #12
- Location: Nashville, TN
- Students: 6,805
- Acceptance rate: 11% (ACT: 32-35; SAT: 1440-1570)

The $1 million initial endowment left by rail tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt would create one of the most prestigious universities in the South. The Southeastern Conference's only private school member for most of its existence, Vanderbilt University has as alumni Chicago Bears legend Bill Wade, Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler, and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Trent Sherfield.

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Jackbauerinvc // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Haverford College

- Diversity rank: #82
- Overall rank: #31
- Location: Haverford, PA
- Students: 1,294
- Acceptance rate: 20% (ACT: 31-34; SAT: 1390-1530)

A former all-male Quakers college, Haverford College today is a highly prestigious, majority-female liberal arts college. Haverford recently was in the news, as one of the two Haverford students who almost hacked the Internal Revenue Service's database to retrieve Donald Trump's tax returns before the 2017 elections agreed to plead guilty to charges related to the break-in.

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#25. Northwestern University

- Diversity rank: #71
- Overall rank: #11
- Location: Evanston, IL
- Students: 8,205
- Acceptance rate: 9% (ACT: 32-34; SAT: 1420-1560)

At this point, a pattern should have emerged. Schools that attract a widely diverse student population are attractive, either through their academic reputations, the quality of their research, or their popularity. Northwestern University fits this bill. The producer of 19 Nobel Prize winners and 38 Pulitzer Prize winners, the university is known for its schools of management, law, medicine, journalism, music, and engineering.

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#24. Georgetown University

- Diversity rank: #70
- Overall rank: #24
- Location: Washington, DC
- Students: 6,987
- Acceptance rate: 16% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1350-1520)

Named for the neighborhood the campus sits upon, Georgetown University is arguably the national capital's most prestigious research university. Created at roughly the same time the District of Columbia was ratified into existence, Georgetown is the nation's oldest Catholic and Jesuit university and is today one of the country's leading diplomatic and financial feeder schools.

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#23. Johns Hopkins University

- Diversity rank: #68
- Overall rank: #27
- Location: Baltimore, MD
- Students: 5,668
- Acceptance rate: 13% (ACT: 33-35; SAT: 1450-1570)

A fully versed research university, Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University has become acclaimed for its medical school and research hospital. It was there that the first successful human heart transplant occurred. John Hopkins was America's first research university, where the research was integrated as a critical part of the school's instruction.

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#22. Cornell University

- Diversity rank: #62
- Overall rank: #20
- Location: Ithaca, NY
- Students: 14,898
- Acceptance rate: 13% (ACT: 31-34; SAT: 1390-1550)

Cornell University has occasionally been beset with the moniker the "Forgotten Ivy" due to its separation both geographically and culturally from the other Ivy League schools. Despite this, the highly prestigious Upstate New York school is a national leader in agricultural research and cooperative extension outreach programs in every county in New York State. Several of Cornell's colleges are statutory colleges in the State University of New York system.

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Imagine // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Harvey Mudd College

- Diversity rank: #59
- Overall rank: #50
- Location: Claremont, CA
- Students: 844
- Acceptance rate: 15% (ACT: 33-35; SAT: 1470-1570)

Harvey Mudd College is an engineering college located in Los Angeles County, Calif. The school is unique in that it shares the grounds of five other colleges: Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont Graduate University, and Pitzer College. It was designed to resemble Oxford University, and students at any one of the undergraduate colleges can take courses at the other four schools for full credit.

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#20. University of California - Los Angeles

- Diversity rank: #56
- Overall rank: #26
- Location: Los Angeles, CA
- Students: 30,458
- Acceptance rate: 16% (ACT: 29-34; SAT: 1220-1450)

If there were an official school of Hollywood, it would be the University of California, Los Angeles. U.S. News & World Report's 2019 choice for best public university, the highly prestigious research university has produced 105 Academy Awards wins, 276 Emmy Awards wins, three Pulitzer Prizes, 50 Grammy Awards wins, one win for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and 251 Olympic medals through its alumni.

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#19. The University of Pennsylvania

- Diversity rank: #52
- Overall rank: #9
- Location: Philadelphia, PA
- Students: 10,496
- Acceptance rate: 9% (ACT: 32-35; SAT: 1420-1560)

The University of Pennsylvania is known for having the first medical school in America, the first business school in America, and the first student union. The school was founded by Benjamin Franklin and is one of the oldest universities in the nation. Arguably, the school's initial curriculum of commerce, government, and public service was the predecessor of the modern liberal arts education.

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#18. Northeastern University

- Diversity rank: #45
- Overall rank: #44
- Location: Boston, MA
- Students: 13,786
- Acceptance rate: 27% (ACT: 32-34; SAT: 1370-1520)

Boston's Northeastern University is a world-class research institution. While paling in laboratory instruction to the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern has one of the largest co-op/internship programs in the world. This makes the school one of the best in providing real-world experience.

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#17. University of California - Berkeley

- Diversity rank: #44
- Overall rank: #41
- Location: Berkeley, CA
- Students: 29,351
- Acceptance rate: 17% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1260-1480)

The flagship campus of the University of California, UC Berkeley is the best-ranking public university on the list. A noted research and development school, it is a research partner with the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories. (Affiliated facilities include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.) Berkeley became part of the national conversation in the 1960s and 1970s as a hub of the Free Speech Movement and Vietnam War protests.

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#16. The University of Chicago

- Diversity rank: #41
- Overall rank: #18
- Location: Chicago, IL
- Students: 5,978
- Acceptance rate: 8% (ACT: 32-35; SAT: 1480-1580)

The University of Chicago was instrumental in the development of many academic subjects. There is a school of economics, a school of art criticism, a school of mathematical analysis, a school of architecture, and a school of sociology. The Barack Obama Presidential Center, which will house both the Obama Presidential Library and the main offices for the Obama Foundation, will open near the university's campus in 2021.

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#15. Harvard University

- Diversity rank: #33
- Overall rank: #4
- Location: Cambridge, MA
- Students: 7,147
- Acceptance rate: 5% (ACT: 32-35; SAT: 1460-1590)

The oldest university in America, Harvard University is arguably one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Among its alumni are eight U.S. presidents, including John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and Barack Obama.

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#14. Brown University

- Diversity rank: #31
- Overall rank: #7
- Location: Providence, RI
- Students: 6,666
- Acceptance rate: 8% (ACT: 31-35; SAT: 1400-1570)

The seventh-oldest college in America, Brown University was the first college in the nation to be blind to religious affiliation in admissions. The university is today the largest institutional landowner for the city of Providence. The school also claimed an acceptance rate of 6.6% for 2019, the lowest in the history of the school and one of the lowest in the nation. The high application pool was due to the school's promise to meet all students' financial aid need so that no loans are needed.

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#13. Rice University

- Diversity rank: #29
- Overall rank: #10
- Location: Houston, TX
- Students: 3,916
- Acceptance rate: 16% (ACT: 33-35; SAT: 1490-1580)

William Marsh Rice University—commonly called Rice University—is a well-regarded research university. The school's alumni and former students include billionaire tycoon Howard Hughes, author Joyce Carol Oates, and former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

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#12. The University of Southern California

- Diversity rank: #22
- Overall rank: #19
- Location: Los Angeles, CA
- Students: 18,631
- Acceptance rate: 17% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1300-1500)

The University of Southern California was a constant target in the ongoing college admission scandal, with many students eager to enroll in the highly selective school. However, a recent report showed that USC was not an innocent party; the school kept extensive records of the fundraising possibilities of well-connected potential students.

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#11. Princeton University

- Diversity rank: #21
- Overall rank: #5
- Location: Princeton, NJ
- Students: 5,260
- Acceptance rate: 6% (ACT: 31-35; SAT: 1430-1570)

The fourth-oldest university in America—after Harvard, the College of William & Mary, and Yale— Princeton University has been U.S. News & World Report's choice for either the first- or second-best universities for 16 of the 18 years between 2001 to 2018. Among the school's alumni are former First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Hall of Fame basketball player and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley.

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#10. Carnegie Mellon University

- Diversity rank: #20
- Overall rank: #28
- Location: Pittsburgh, PA
- Students: 6,298
- Acceptance rate: 22% (ACT: 32-35; SAT: 1430-1560)

Formerly known as the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University is one of the best-acknowledged research universities in the nation. One of the school's current research projects is a 3D printer configured to "print" replacement components for the human heart.

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#9. Emory University

- Diversity rank: #17
- Overall rank: #30
- Location: Atlanta, GA
- Students: 6,794
- Acceptance rate: 22% (ACT: 30-33; SAT: 1350-1520)

Georgia's second-oldest university, Emory is a wealthy school. Per Forbes, Emory ranks 16th for the largest endowments in the United States. The school runs seven major hospitals in the state, including Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown.

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#8. Yale University

- Diversity rank: #15
- Overall rank: #3
- Location: New Haven, CT
- Students: 5,743
- Acceptance rate: 7% (ACT: 32-35; SAT: 1460-1580)

One of the oldest universities in the nation and the first university in the United States to award a PhD., Yale is one of the most elite of the Ivy League schools. As of 2018, Yale had the second-largest endowment of any college or university in the world.

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#7. New York University

- Diversity rank: #11
- Overall rank: #46
- Location: New York, NY
- Students: 25,347
- Acceptance rate: 28.% (ACT: 29-33; SAT: 1290-1490)

Manhattan's major non-Ivy League research university, New York University is the alma mater of Nobel winners, Academy Awards winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, royalty, and members of Congress. Among its alumni are Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, author Saul Bellow, supermodel Christy Turlington, comedians Aziz Ansari and Whoopi Goldberg, actors Alec Baldwin and Anne Hathaway, and former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton.

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#6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

- Diversity rank: #10
- Overall rank: #1
- Location: Cambridge, MA
- Students: 4,510
- Acceptance rate: 7% (ACT: 33-35; SAT: 1490-1570)

Widely considered to be the nation's premier institute of research, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university that has been key in much of the major innovations of the last century and a half. Emphasizing laboratory instruction, the university has yielded 93 Nobel Prize winners as of 2019, 58 National Medal of Science winners, and 50 MacArthur Fellows.

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Tlönorbis // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Swarthmore College

- Diversity rank: #8
- Overall rank: #40
- Location: Swarthmore, PA
- Students: 1,573
- Acceptance rate: 11% (ACT: 31-34; SAT: 1380-1540)

One of the first American colleges to accept both men and women, Swarthmore is also one of the nation's most selective schools. In 2017, the school only admitted about 11% of all applicants. As of 2019, the school has produced five Nobel Prize winners, 30 Rhodes Scholars, and 201 Fulbright recipients.

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#4. Columbia University

- Diversity rank: #7
- Overall rank: #8
- Location: New York, NY
- Students: 7,592
- Acceptance rate: 7% (ACT: 31-34; SAT: 1410-1570)

New York City's Ivy League school Columbia University is one of the oldest universities in the United States. A top ten global university, the school has been at the center of major research such as nuclear fission, modern genetics, plate tectonics, and nuclear magnetic resonance. The school played a significant role in the early research in the Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the nuclear bomb.

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#3. Stanford University

- Diversity rank: #5
- Overall rank: #2
- Location: Stanford, CA
- Students: 7,064
- Acceptance rate: 5% (ACT: 32-35; SAT: 1390-1540)

Leland Stanford Junior University, or Stanford University as it is commonly known, is largely the reason Silicon Valley is situated in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stanford—a financially strapped university following the death of its benefactor, former California Governor Leland Stanford—encouraged its staff and alumni to develop a self-sufficient local industry. This led to the high-tech environment that would become Silicon Valley.

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#2. Amherst College

- Diversity rank: #3
- Overall rank: #22
- Location: Amherst, MA
- Students: 1,836
- Acceptance rate: 13% (ACT: 32-34; SAT: 1400-1560)

The Wall Street Journal's best liberal arts college for 2018-2019, Amherst College is a highly selective member of the Five College Consortium. The Five College Consortium includes Amherst, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Nostalgicwisdom // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Pomona College

- Diversity rank: #1
- Overall rank: #13
- Location: Claremont, CA
- Students: 1,578
- Acceptance rate: 8% (ACT: 30-34; SAT: 1370-1530)

Pomona College is a well-received school. Besides being number one on our list, it is 30th on Princeton Review's list of the greenest colleges, first on Forbes' 2019 list of best liberal arts colleges, and the third on our list of best schools on the West Coast. If you were lucky enough to attend this highly selected Los Angeles-area school, you should consider yourself very fortunate. Pomona College is a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium, in which the school shares its grounds with several other colleges, allowing its students access to the other institutions.

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