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My "Best Of" Lists for the Halfway Point

Updated: Jan 5

So it is the end of December, and to say I have visited numerous colleges over the past four months is an understatement; the number is 101 to be exact. Most of these visits were official tours, while some were self-guided, which consisted of me walking around and following a guide of some sort to learn about the school.

In light of all of this, I thought it would be fun to make a top 5 list (and some cases more) of multiple categories, because who doesn’t like “best of” lists, right? So, below you will find multiple college categories and what I have considered to be my favorite 5 colleges in each. The eligible schools are only those 101 I have visited. You can see the list here. Now time for an important clarification: these lists are in no way stating that these are “the best” schools to consider. Rather, there was something about the experience or environment at each campus that I felt I would personally be drawn too if I were to magically go back in time as a high school student and go college shopping. So with that said, enjoy my Top 5 Lists!

Swarthmore College, which made the list of Favorite Liberal Arts Colleges

Favorite Liberal Arts Colleges/Universities

My favorite liberal arts institutions, where the environment is small and everybody knows your name.

Union College

Swarthmore College

Amherst College

Colgate University

Colby College






Favorite Midsized Colleges/Universities

My favorite midsized colleges and universities, between 4,000 and 10,000 undergraduate students on campus.

University of Rochester

Carnegie Mellon University

University of Dayton

Georgetown University

University of Richmond



Favorite Large Universities

My favorite large universities, typically research institutions with more than 10,000 undergraduate students.

Syracuse University

University of Pittsburgh

Northeastern University

James Madison University

University of Georgia



Top Three Favorite STEM Schools

I had the chance to visit some STEM schools, which specialize in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These stood out to me!

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Rochester Institute of Technology

Case Western Reserve



Prettiest Campuses

These campuses were breathtaking! Some struck me because of the architecture, others the geography and landscaping, and others were beautiful in both categories!

College of the Holy Cross

United States Military Academy

Washington and Lee University

Duke University

Amherst College



Friendliest Campuses

I observe how students interact when I visit campuses. These stood out to me as the friendliest campuses based on my brief visits.

John Carroll University

University of Dayton

Grove City College

Calvin University

Tulane University



Most Quirky (in a good way)

Nerdy, geeky, eccentric are a few words to describe the students on these campuses. And in most cases, they went out of their way to describe themselves as such!

Tufts University

Carnegie Mellon University

Wesleyan University

Vassar College

Allegheny College



Best Visit Experience

These colleges really impressed me with how the presented their campuses. Some rolled out the red carpet for me and the other guests, others included unique engaging items to their program, and others simply had very well trained tour guides!

Colgate University

Carnegie Mellon University

James Madison University

High Point University

University of Georgia



Top Quality Colleges that Aren’t Highly Selective

These colleges and universities I had the chance to visit have proven to be excellent at what they do, but have still remained more accessible (admissions selectivity) for the time being.

Syracuse University

Drexel University

Miami University

Xavier University

Loyola University Maryland

University of Rochester

American University

University of Dayton

DePauw University



Chad’s Overall Favorites

If I were to get in that time machine and apply to college all over again, considering everything I have learned and value in this industry, these are the colleges I would be the most interested in.

Colby College

Amherst College

Drexel University

Carnegie Mellon University

Calvin University

Syracuse University

Georgetown University

Union College

Colgate University

Washington and Lee University


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