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50 Best Colleges By State You’ll Be Interested in Studying In

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50 Best Colleges By State You’ll Be Interested in Studying In

You are going to college soon. Congratulations! A new life full of events, friends, knowledge and adventures is waiting for you there; and you want to choose the best college to spend the best years of your life there by all means. How to do that? What points to consider?

While choosing the best college to study, you better check educational institutions of all states. This list of the US best colleges by state will definitely help you compare them, make a right choice, and start your college life that will provide you a brilliant future.

The US best colleges by state include:

Alabama — University of Alabama

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    • Background: Located in Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama was founded in 1831 and dedicated to excellence in everything concerned to education. It was the first public and best college in the state that provided a creative campus environment to make students the best individuals possible.
    • Number of applications: 30,975
    • Programs: more than 200 fields of study; bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees.
    • Acceptance rate: 57%
    • Famous for: college Greek life, more than 250 student organizations.

    Alaska — University of Alaska-Anchorage

    university of alaska
      • Background: The largest post-secondary institutions in the state, University of Alaska was accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
      • Number of applications: 3,062
      • Programs: more than 150 fields of study; associate, master’s, baccalaureate degrees as well as doctoral, professional and vocational certificates.
      • Acceptance rate: 72%
      • Famous for: exchange programs, a big number of offered programs.

      Arizona — Arizona State University

      arizona
        • Background: Located in Tempe, Arizona State University was founded in 1885 and developed a new model of educational institutions. It is ranked among the US top 25 research institutes in terms of innovation, research output, awarded research grant proposals, and development.
        • Number of applications: 26,329
        • Programs: more than 300 undergraduate programs (bachelors, masters, doctors); about 1,000 registered student organizations.
        • Acceptance rate: 77%
        • Famous for: the largest public university by enrollment in the US.

        Arkansas — John Brown University

        arkanzas
          • Background: Founded in 1919, John Brown University is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Siloam Springs.
          • Number of applications: 2,183
          • Programs: 47 undergraduate majors.
          • Acceptance rate: 70%
          • Famous for: student sports teams, 2 associated centers.

          California — Stanford University

          california
            • Background: Established in 1885, Stanford University is one of the world’s most prestigious colleges today. It is a private university with a quarter-based academic calendar, located in Silicon Valley. Stanford is a research university with the US highest fund raising performance.
            • Number of applications: 15,877
            • Programs: 7 schools that offer undergraduate and graduate coursework.
            • Acceptance rate: 5,7%
            • Famous for: the US highest undergraduate selectivity; the Alma Mater of 58 Nobel laureates, 30 billionaires, 18 Turing Award laureates; one of the US Congress members leading producers.

            Colorado — University of Colorado-Boulder

            colorado
              • Background: Founded in 1876, this is a public research institution with a total enrollment of 25,881 undergraduates. It consists of 9 colleges and schools and has a proud academic tradition. Plus, University of Colorado is ranked among the US top “green” universities.
              • Number of applications: 22,473
              • Programs: more than 150 areas of study, 78 degree programs.
              • Acceptance rate: 88%
              • Famous for: one of 30 “Public Ivy League” schools; strong sports teams (26 NCAA championships won); honors programs; international students from more than 100 countries.

              Connecticut — Yale University

              connecticut
                • Background: A private research institution in New Heaven, founded in 1701. It is considered the third-oldest educational institution in the USA. Yale University is the Ivy League college organized into 12 schools.
                • Number of applications: 28,977
                • Programs: more than 2,000 undergraduate courses.
                • Acceptance rate: 7%
                • Famous for: its drama and music programs, students organizations, The Yale Bulldogs, secret societies (the Skull and Bone Society in particular).

                Delaware — University of Delaware

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                delaware
                  • Background: Founded in 1743, University of Delaware is a public institution located in Newark. It is considered the largest university in the state and a research institution with a very high level of research activity.
                  • Number of applications: 25,458
                  • Programs: 5 most popular majors (Engineering, Education, Business, Health, Social Sciences); associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate professional and doctorate research degrees available.
                  • Acceptance rate: 65%
                  • Famous for: a study abroad program, athletic teams, college Greek life.

                  Florida — University of Florida

                  University-of-Florida-Jim-Dewey-e1395949883228
                    • Background: Located in Gainesville, University of Florida is a public land-, sea- and space-grant research institution founded in 1853. It has a semester-based academic calendar and well-regarded graduate programs.
                    • Number of applications: 31,820
                    • Programs: certificate, associate, bachelor’s, post-bachelor’s, master’s, post-master’s, and doctorate degrees. 123 master’s programs and 76 doctoral programs.
                    • Acceptance rate: 49%
                    • Famous for: sports teams, individual awards (Fields Medal, Pulitzer Prizes, NASA’s awards for research).

                    Georgia — Emory University

                    georgia
                      • Background: A private research institution founded in 1836 and located in Atlanta. It is divided into 9 schools, and 4 of them serve undergraduates and graduates.
                      • Number of applications: 17,652
                      • Programs: 71 majors, about 57 minors.
                      • Acceptance rate: 26%
                      • Famous for: numerous awards and honors, membership in the National Academy of Sciences, Emory University Hospital, numerous student organizations.

                      Hawaii — University of Hawaii at Manoa

                      hawaii
                        • Background: Founded in 1907, University of Hawaii is a public co-educational research institution focused on developing an awareness of commonality and diversity.
                        • Number of applications: 6,601
                        • Programs: 93 programs for bachelor’s degrees. 84 fields for master’s degrees, 51 fields for master’s. 28 undergraduate and 29 graduate programs. Plus, 3 fields for post-baccalaureate degrees.
                        • Acceptance rate: 80%
                        • Famous for: student organizations, athletic programs, study abroad programs.

                        Idaho — Brigham Young University-Idaho

                        College
                          • Background: Established in 1888, this university is a private institution located in Rexburg. It is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it offers programs in performing Arts, Agriculture, Engineering, Liberal arts, and Management.
                          • Number of applications: 18,110
                          • Programs: 70 programs for bachelor’s degrees and 18 programs for associate degrees.
                          • Acceptance rate: 99%
                          • Famous for: athletics, culture and an honor code.

                          Illinois — Northwestern University

                          illinois
                            • Background: Founded in 1851, it is a private research institution that has a quarter-based academic calendar. Northwestern University has 2 campuses (in Chicago and Evanston) and 12 schools.
                            • Number of applications: 32,060
                            • Programs: 145 graduate and 124 undergraduate programs.
                            • Acceptance rate: 15%
                            • Famous for: the most academically productive schools, a founding member of the Big Ten Conference, Northwestern Wildcats (a team that completes in 19 sports).

                            Indiana — University of Notre Dame

                            indiana
                              • Background: A Catholic private research university, founded in 1842 and located in South Bend. University of Notre Dame consists of 5 colleges and one professional school.
                              • Number of applications: 17,900
                              • Programs: 15 programs for master’s degree and 26 programs for doctoral degrees.
                              • Acceptance rate: 22%
                              • Famous for: Driehaus Architecture Prize award, Notre Dame School of Architecture, study abroad programs, and athletic teams.

                              Iowa — Iowa State University

                              iowa
                                • Background: founded in 1858, Iowa State University of Science and Technology (known as Iowa State University) is a flagship institution of the state’s university system. This is a public land- and space-grant institution located in Ames.
                                • Number of applications: 21,642
                                • Programs: the university is organized into 2 schools and 8 colleges; 100 programs for bachelors, 112 programs for masters, and 83 programs for PhD can be found there.
                                • Acceptance rate: 80%
                                • Famous for: the first electronic digital computer was “born” there; the home of Ames Laboratory, the university museums and 19 on-campus residence halls.

                                Kansas — University of Kansas

                                kanzas
                                  • Background: A public research university founded in 1866, the largest university of Kansas that has 5 campuses, the main one is is located in Lawrence.
                                  • Number of applications: 12,389
                                  • Programs: more than 345 programs for all degrees.
                                  • Acceptance rate: 92%
                                  • Famous for: radio stations KANU and KJHK, university museums, the University Daily Kansan newspaper, the Beach Center on Disability.

                                  Kentucky — Berea College

                                  kentucky
                                    • Background: A private college of liberal arts, founded in 1855. It provides free education and is considered the US first college to be racially integrated and coeducational.
                                    • Number of applications: 1661
                                    • Programs: 32 majors for bachelor’s degree.
                                    • Acceptance rate: 34%
                                    • Famous for: no tuition (all students get a 4-year scholarship); 70 student organizations; being a member of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletics; students are required to work 10 hours per week (minimum) and live on campus (if they are not married or parents).

                                    Louisiana — Tulane University

                                    louisiana
                                      • Background: Established in 1834, Tulane University is a private research institution, located in New Orleans. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and is organized into ten schools (sciences, specialized professions, and liberal arts).
                                      • Number of applications: 30,122
                                      • Programs: over 70 subject areas in five undergraduate schools.
                                      • Acceptance rate: 26%
                                      • Famous for: The Tulane Hullaballo newspaper, a membership in the American Athletic Conference, notable alumni (David Filo, Randall Lee Gibson and others).

                                      Maine — Bates College

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                                      maine
                                        • Background: Founded in 1855, Bates College is an elite private institution of liberal arts, located in Lewiston. It is considered the oldest coeducational institution in New England.
                                        • Number of applications: 1,791
                                        • Programs: more than 30 majors for bachelors of science and bachelors of arts.
                                        • Acceptance rate: 24%
                                        • Famous for: its 4-4-1 schedule, study abroad programs, a host of Gordon Research Conferences, notable alumni, mentions in films and literature.

                                        Maryland — Johns Hopkins University

                                        maryland
                                          • Background: A private research university, founded in 1876 and located in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins is one of the American Association of Universities founders; it has four main campuses and is divided into 9 schools.
                                          • Number of applications: 21,327
                                          • Programs: numerous undergraduate and graduate studies in all schools (Business, Nursing, Education, Engineering, Arts and Sciences).
                                          • Acceptance rate: 17%
                                          • Famous for: 36 Nobel Prize winners, top rankings for research and students activity, its university library and press, numeral research centers and institutes.

                                          Massachusetts — Harvard University

                                          massachusetts
                                            • Background: established in 1636, Harvard University is located in Cambridge and considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It is a private institution, an Ivy League research university, the alma mater of 9 U.S. presidents, 62 billionaires and about 150 Nobel laureates.
                                            • Number of applications: 21,200
                                            • Programs: the university is organized into 10 different faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. It offers 32 professional degrees, 46 undergraduate majors, and 134 graduate degrees.
                                            • Acceptance rate: 6%
                                            • Famous for: the oldest library system in the USA, research work, being accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the highest rankings by many international organizations, notable faculties.

                                            Michigan — University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

                                            michigan
                                              • Background: A public research university with a trimester-based academic calendar, founded in 1817. It is one of the Association of American Universities founding members, and its campus includes more than 580 major buildings.
                                              • Number of applications: 46,813
                                              • Programs: more than 200 undergraduate majors, 90 programs for master’s degrees, and 100 doctoral programs.
                                              • Acceptance rate: 33%
                                              • Famous for: being one of the best college towns in the USA, Wolverines athletic team (members of the Big Ten Conference), high research activity, comprehensive graduate program.

                                              Minnesota — University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

                                              minnesota
                                                • Background: A public research university, founded in 1851 and located in Minneapolis. It is organized into 19 schools and colleges.
                                                • Number of applications: 48,048
                                                • Programs: 143 degree programs, 150 programs through the graduate school.
                                                • Acceptance rate: 44%
                                                • Famous for: active college Greek life, having the oldest campus within the system, Minnesota Golden Gophers athletic team (members of the Big Ten Conference), high research activity.

                                                Mississippi — University of Mississippi

                                                mississippi
                                                  • Background: This is a public institution, founded in 1844 and located in Oxford. It is considered the coeducational research university with four branch campuses, and it operates the Field Station in Abbeville.
                                                  • Number of applications: 14,258
                                                  • Programs: 14 academic institutes and 7 academic programs, more than 30 departments with numbers of research and study centers.
                                                  • Acceptance rate: 59%
                                                  • Famous for: its large community if sororities and fraternities, its Ole Miss Rebels sports teams, its largest blues music archive in the USA, its only legal marijuana farm in the country.

                                                  Missouri — Washington University in St. Louis

                                                  missouri
                                                    • Background: A private research university, founded in 1853. It is divided into 7 undergraduate and graduate schools with a wide range of academic fields. All freshmen are required to live on campus (the university has 5 of them).
                                                    • Number of applications: 30,117
                                                    • Programs: more than 90 programs and about 1,900 courses for students of bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees; additional opportunities for minors; numerous individualized programs.
                                                    • Acceptance rate: 16%
                                                    • Famous for: active Greek life, 14 libraries and museums, research centers, and Washington University Bears (sports team, a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association), students from more than 100 countries.

                                                    Montana — University of Montana

                                                    montana
                                                      • Background: A public research university, founded in 1893 and located in Missoula. It is organized into 5 colleges and 3 independent schools.
                                                      • Number of applications: 12,581
                                                      • Programs: numerous academic programs (including graduate degrees in business and law schools and the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences).
                                                      • Acceptance rate: 84%
                                                      • Famous for: research centers and institutes, numerous projects, Montana Kaimin newspaper, many notable alumni athletes (Colt Anderson, Micheal Ray Richardson, and others).

                                                      Nebraska — Creighton University

                                                      nebraska
                                                        • Background: a private coeducational Roman Catholic institution, founded in 1878 and located in Omaha. It is considered the largest private university in the state, and it was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
                                                        • Number of applications: 8 019
                                                        • Programs: the university is organized into 9 schools (undergraduate, graduate and professional) of Business, Law, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health, and Dentistry.
                                                        • Acceptance rate: 77%
                                                        • Famous for: a semester study abroad program, numerous affiliate programs and grants, more than 200 student organizations.

                                                        Nevada — University of Nevada-Reno

                                                        nevada
                                                          • Background: a public institution, founded in 1864. This university is a teaching and research institution, a land grant institution for Nevada.
                                                          • Number of applications: 19,129
                                                          • Programs: 9 colleges and 9 schools of the university offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.
                                                          • Acceptance rate: 84%
                                                          • Famous for: mentions many movies, 200 student organizations, research centers and facilities.

                                                          New Hampshire — Dartmouth College

                                                          new hampshire
                                                            • Background: a private research university, a member of Ivy League, founded in 1769 and located in Hanover. It is organized into 3 schools and 1 college.
                                                            • Number of applications: 23,110
                                                            • Programs: 19 graduate programs is the sciences and arts; 56 major programs; Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees for undergraduates.
                                                            • Acceptance rate: 10%
                                                            • Famous for: Greek organizations, NCAA Division I sports, the Outing Club (the oldest collegiate club in the USA), traditions, research activity.

                                                            New Jersey — Princeton University

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                                                            new jersey
                                                              • Background: A private research university, a member of Ivy League, founded in 1746. It is one of the 9 colleges established before the American Revolution. Princeton University is considered the wealthiest institution in the USA.
                                                              • Number of applications: 8,014
                                                              • Programs: undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, social and natural sciences, and humanities. Doctoral programs are also available.
                                                              • Acceptance rate: 7%
                                                              • Famous for: lacrosse teams, notable faculty, strong traditions.

                                                              New Mexico — University of New Mexico

                                                              new mexico
                                                                • Background: Founded in 1889, University of New Mexico is a public research institution located in Albuquerque. It is the largest post-secondary university in New Mexico, and it is considered the flagship research institution of the state.
                                                                • Number of applications: 11,467
                                                                • Programs: more than 200 programs, including 94 – for baccalaureates, 74 – for masters, and 40 – for doctors.
                                                                • Acceptance rate: 65%
                                                                • Famous for: more than 300 student organizations, KUNM-FM (a national public radio station in the city), high university rankings, very high research activity.

                                                                New York — Cornell University

                                                                new york
                                                                  • Background: Founded in 1865, this is a private Ivy League university, a land-grant research institution located in Ithaca. Cornell University is organized into 7 undergraduate and 7 graduate colleges, and each of them has its own academic programs and admission standards.
                                                                  • Number of applications: 21,424
                                                                  • Programs: 80 undergraduate majors and minors, 108 graduate fields, about 4,000 courses across 100 academic departments.
                                                                  • Acceptance rate: 15%
                                                                  • Famous for: the Middle States Commission of Higher Education accreditation, 4-1-4 academic calendar, international programs, very high research activity, notable faculty and alumni.

                                                                  North Carolina — Duke University

                                                                  north carolina
                                                                    • Background: Located in Durham, Duke University is a private research institution founded in 1838. It is organized into 10 schools that serve both undergraduate and graduate students.
                                                                    • Number of applications: 30,374
                                                                    • Programs: 2 undergraduate paths (engineering and liberal arts), 5 graduate paths (nursing, medicine, business, law, engineering), Stanford School of Public Policy, Nickolas School of the Environment.
                                                                    • Acceptance rate: 13%
                                                                    • Famous for: the Blue Devils athletic team (15 national championships won), 32 highly cited researchers, high research activity and rankings, high selectivity when it comes to students admissions.

                                                                    North Dakota — University of Jamestown

                                                                    north dakota
                                                                      • Background: A private institution, founded in 1884. This is a co-educational liberal arts college with about 1,000 students enrolled.
                                                                      • Number of applications: 1,088
                                                                      • Programs: the most popular majors include Nursing, Business Administration and Management, Teaching, Criminal Justice, Biological Sciences.
                                                                      • Acceptance rate: 63%
                                                                      • Famous for: the Journey to Success program, a membership in the Association of Independent Institutions, notable faculty and alumni.

                                                                      Ohio — Ohio State University

                                                                      ohio
                                                                        • Background: A public research institution in Columbus, founded in 1870. This is a land-grant university focused on comprehensive study; it has the largest university campus in the USA.
                                                                        • Number of applications: 31,359
                                                                        • Programs: more than 175 majors at the undergraduate level, a wide variety of graduate programs ( Medicine, Law, Engineering, Business, Human Ecology, Education).
                                                                        • Acceptance rate: 56%
                                                                        • Famous for: high research activity, numerous honors programs, over 1,000 student organizations, membership in the Association of American Universities, participation in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.

                                                                        Oklahoma — University of Tulsa

                                                                        oklahoma
                                                                          • Background: A private university, established in 1894. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
                                                                          • Number of applications: 4,597
                                                                          • Programs: 60 undergraduate majors (natural and computer sciences, clinical psychology, engineering, and English disciplines).
                                                                          • Acceptance rate: 41%
                                                                          • Famous for: many National Merit Scholarship winners, petroleum engineering programs, athletic teams, and adherence to traditions.

                                                                          Oregon — University of Oregon

                                                                          oregon
                                                                            • Background: This is a public research university, founded in 1876 and located in Eugene. It is considered one of the oldest institutions on the West Coast, and it is organized into 8 colleges and schools.
                                                                            • Number of applications: 21,263
                                                                            • Programs: undergraduate programs in Psychology, Biology, Business, and Economics; doctoral programs in Psychology, Physics, Geography, and Biology.
                                                                            • Acceptance rate: 74%
                                                                            • Famous for: high-calibre researches, its student government, media and traditions.

                                                                            Pennsylvania — University of Pennsylvania

                                                                            pennsylvania
                                                                              • Background: Founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, Penn is a private research university in Philadelphia. It is a member of Ivy League and one of the 9 original Colonial Colleges.
                                                                              • Number of applications: 24,630
                                                                              • Programs: undergraduate (12 schools, 157 programs), graduate (170 programs), professional education (15 master’s degree programs).
                                                                              • Acceptance rate: 10%
                                                                              • Famous for: its English language programs, 9 Nobel laureates, highly productive research programs.

                                                                              Rhode Island — Brown University

                                                                              rhode island
                                                                                • Background: one of the most prestigious universities in the USA, this private research institution is a member of Ivy League, and it is located in Providence. One of the 9 Colonial Colleges, Brown University was founded in 1764.
                                                                                • Number of applications: 28,919
                                                                                • Programs: it offers 79 majors, an undergraduate major in Egyptology.
                                                                                • Acceptance rate: 9%
                                                                                • Famous for: Pembroke College (a women’s institution), its engineering program, Alpert Medical School, and the Marine Biological Laboratory.

                                                                                South Carolina — University of South Carolina-Columbia

                                                                                south carolina
                                                                                  • Background: Established in 1801, this is a public, co-educational research institution. It has 7 campuses, and it is organized into 14 degree-granting schools and colleges.
                                                                                  • Number of applications: 23,429
                                                                                  • Programs: more than 350 programs available (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees); professional schools (law, medicine, pharmacy, engineering, and business) and several thousand programs for future students.
                                                                                  • Acceptance rate: 61%
                                                                                  • Famous for: very high research activity, International Business programs, the largest collections of Ernest Hemingway and Robert Burns, student government, more than 400 student organizations.

                                                                                  South Dakota — Augustana College

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                                                                                  south dakota
                                                                                    • Background: a private liberal arts institution, founded in 1860 and located in Sioux Falls. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and is considered the largest private college in the state.
                                                                                    • Number of applications: 1,353
                                                                                    • Programs: it has 4-1-4 academic calendar and grants 4-year Bachelor of Arts degrees. Program includes 53 majors, 12 pre-professional programs, and 34 minors.
                                                                                    • Acceptance rate: 62%
                                                                                    • Famous for: high rankings among Midwestern schools, KAUR radio station, notable alumni (Nancy Erickson, Davis Soul, and others).

                                                                                    Tennessee — Vanderbilt University

                                                                                    tennessee
                                                                                      • Background: Located in Nashiville, this university is a private research institution, founded in 1873. It is organized into 4 undergraduate and 6 graduate and professional schools, governed by Board of Trust.
                                                                                      • Number of applications: 31,099
                                                                                      • Programs: undergraduate and graduate programs from schools of Nursing, Engineering, Law and Medicine, from Owen graduate School of Management and Peabody College of Education.
                                                                                      • Acceptance rate: 13%
                                                                                      • Famous for: active Greek life, Blair School of Music, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, notable alumni: Ann Moore (CEO of Time Inc.), James Patterson (novelist), and others.

                                                                                      Texas — University of Texas at Austin

                                                                                      texas
                                                                                        • Background: A state research university, founded in 1883. It is considered a flagship institution of the state and is inducted into the American Association of Universities.
                                                                                        • Number of applications: 38,161
                                                                                        • Programs: bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees (100 undergraduate and 170 graduate ones). 8 honors programs.
                                                                                        • Acceptance rate: 40%
                                                                                        • Famous for: 17 libraries, 7 museums, various research facilities (the McDonald Observatory for example), Nobel, Pulitzer and Wolf Prizes winners among faculty.

                                                                                        Utah —

                                                                                        • Background: Located in Salt Lake City, this university was founded in 1850 and considered a public co-educational institution (space-grant and research one). It is a flagship university of Utah.
                                                                                        • Number of applications: 32,077
                                                                                        • Programs: 72 undergraduate majors, 92 graduate degree programs; 40 teaching majors, about 70 minors.
                                                                                        • Acceptance rate: 83%
                                                                                        • Famous for: being a member of the Pacific-12 Conference, a renewable energy partnership, being a part of the state’s System of Higher Education, its notable programs.

                                                                                        Vermont — University of Vermont

                                                                                        vermont
                                                                                          • Background: A public research university, founded in 1791 and located in Burlington. It is also known as State Agricultural College and is considered one of the oldest educational institutions of the USA.
                                                                                          • Number of applications: 22,381
                                                                                          • Programs: the university is organized into 7 undergraduate schools, a college of medicine, a graduate college, and an honors college. It offers numerous bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs.
                                                                                          • Acceptance rate: 78%
                                                                                          • Famous for: its debate team, active Greek life, high research and academics activity, a strong sports team.

                                                                                          Virginia — University of Virginia

                                                                                          virginia
                                                                                            • Background: Located in Charlottesville, this public research university was founded in 1819. First-year students are required to live on campus here, and it is organized into 12 colleges and schools.
                                                                                            • Number of applications: 28,984
                                                                                            • Programs: Medicine and Law professional degrees, six educational specialist degrees, 48 degrees for bachelors, 94 master’s degrees, and 55 degrees for doctors.
                                                                                            • Acceptance rate: 30%
                                                                                            • Famous for: its special scholars, #1 ranking from The Daily Caller (“the best school in the land – 2014”), a membership in the Association of American Universities, 7 Nobel winners and 5 NASA astronauts.

                                                                                            Washington — University of Washington

                                                                                            washington
                                                                                              • Background: Established in 1861, this public research university is located in Seattle. It is considered one of the best medical institutions in the world.
                                                                                              • Number of applications: 30,199
                                                                                              • Programs: the university is organized into 16 colleges and schools; more than 100 majors are available for undergraduates and graduates here.
                                                                                              • Acceptance rate: 55%
                                                                                              • Famous for: about 500 student organizations, its commuter school, high research activity.

                                                                                              West Virginia — Wheeling Jesuit University

                                                                                              west virginia
                                                                                                • Background: A private Roman Catholic university (co-educational one), founded in 1954. It is one of the 28 members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
                                                                                                • Number of applications: 1,619
                                                                                                • Programs: 5 graduate programs (Business Administration, Accountancy, Nursing, Organizational Leadership, Physical Therapy).
                                                                                                • Acceptance rate: 67%
                                                                                                • Famous for: membership in the Mountain East Conference, its Laut Honors Program, Acker Science Center and Donahue Hall.

                                                                                                Wisconsin — University of Wisconsin-Madison

                                                                                                wisconsin
                                                                                                  • Background: A public research university in Madison, founded in 1848 and organized into 20 colleges and schools. It is a founding member of the Association of American Universities.
                                                                                                  • Number of applications: 43, 275
                                                                                                  • Programs: 132 undergraduate majors, 200 doctoral programs, and 149 master’s degree programs.
                                                                                                  • Acceptance rate: 51%
                                                                                                  • Famous for: very high research activity (about 100 research centers and programs), its Letters & Science Honors Program, active athletics teams, many notable alumni.

                                                                                                  Wyoming — University of Wyoming

                                                                                                  UW Buildings - Old Main UW Emergency Plan - 2010
                                                                                                    • Background: Established in 1886, this land-grant university is located in Laramie. University of Wyoming is organized into 7 colleges (law, business, arts, natural resources, education, engineering, health).
                                                                                                    • Number of applications: 4,181
                                                                                                    • Programs: more than 190 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Juris Doctor and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees are available too.
                                                                                                    • Acceptance rate: 96%
                                                                                                    • Famous for: notable faculty and alumni, various campus organizations.

                                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Dear Hogwarts …/Mischief Managed via flickr.com

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                                                                                                    Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

                                                                                                    As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

                                                                                                    Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

                                                                                                    According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

                                                                                                    “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

                                                                                                    A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

                                                                                                    What Is Your Personal Brand?

                                                                                                    “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

                                                                                                    Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

                                                                                                    Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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                                                                                                    I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

                                                                                                    A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

                                                                                                    Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

                                                                                                    Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

                                                                                                    Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

                                                                                                    In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

                                                                                                    According to Castrillon,[2]

                                                                                                    “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

                                                                                                    The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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                                                                                                    As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

                                                                                                    In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

                                                                                                    “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

                                                                                                    When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

                                                                                                    The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

                                                                                                    Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

                                                                                                    The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

                                                                                                    5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

                                                                                                    These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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                                                                                                    1. Set Your Personal Goals

                                                                                                    What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

                                                                                                    2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

                                                                                                    Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

                                                                                                    1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
                                                                                                    2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
                                                                                                    3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
                                                                                                    4. What makes you different from others like you?

                                                                                                    The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

                                                                                                    3. Write Your Professional Story

                                                                                                    Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

                                                                                                    4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

                                                                                                    Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

                                                                                                    5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

                                                                                                    A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

                                                                                                    The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

                                                                                                    Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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                                                                                                    As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

                                                                                                    Other People’s Stories

                                                                                                    Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

                                                                                                    Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

                                                                                                    Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

                                                                                                    “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

                                                                                                    So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

                                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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